The Inside Scoop on Internal App Sharing
Testing your apps is a crucial component in a successful release. Every time you issue updates to your app you run the risk of introducing bugs that can ruin a user’s experience. We do what we can with unit and UI tests to check and limit these bugs, but some still manage to slip by (no one’s perfect!). So how can we deal with these bugs before they actually get into the hands of a user?
Internal App Sharing:
Whether you’re a solo developer or working for a larger company, Internal App Sharing can help with this. It essentially allows you to upload a second version of your app onto the Google Play Store. It’s a private upload though that’s only available to people you share the URL with. What this does is allow you to keep your production app intact while simultaneously letting a select group of people test the new version.
It’s somewhat similar to the beta feature that has been available for quite some time. But the key difference here is that the app is private. It’s only available to those friends/family/coworkers that you choose to share it with. It offers a great way for you to limit your testing to people you know. Very aptly names Internal App Sharing!
Internal App Sharing was first released to us at Google I/O this year so it’s still very new. After playing around with it and reading the documentation there are a few things to note. First off, there is a maximum of 100 users that can download the app using this link. So if you are crazy popular then you won’t be able to let all of your friends test! Realistically this probably isn’t a big deal as 100 testers should be plenty to see major bugs that are introduced, but all the same the limit exists.
Another limit that might impose a little more on you is that the app you upload has to have a matching package name. For most cases this will always match since it’s the same app, but if you have different schemes you’re building your app with (debug vs release) that offer different features you’ll need to make sure nothing is different in those package names. Other than these limits though it’s a fairly straightforward process with a positive experience.
I currently use Internal App Sharing and I would recommend that you check it out as well! It’s a great way to share a build of your app with changes to those closest to you before officially releasing anything to the public. What are your thoughts on the feature? Let us know in the comments below.