Thursday, January 20, 2011

Building an iOS Beta Network - Collecting Device Information

When building out an AdHoc network of beta testers for your iOS app it is important to make the process easy for the end user and to be sure that there is no error when entering data.  Collecting iOS device information from users goes something like this:

  • Email user for the iOS device UDID
  • Ask for the model/version
  • Ask for the currently installed iOS
  • User gets the email, computer and iOS device in hand
  • Attach device to computer and launch iTunes.
  • Select your iOS device from the Left column
  • Select the Summary tab
  • Mouse over the Serial Number and click (to reveal the UDID)
  • Highlight the UDID and Copy it
  • Go back to your email and reply
  • Paste the UDID
  • 1)  Enter the rest of the information from memory (ack!) OR
  • 2)  Copy and paste, back and forth for the rest of the data.
  • Optional: take a screenshot (for verification on the developer’s end)

Done!  Simple, yes?  No, not really.  As you go along you see that unless they are copying and pasting the data, there is always room for error.  This also applies to in-house devices as a matter of bookkeeping.

To make the process easier for ourselves and others we created Device Profiler and made it free for the community.  When launched on the iOS device it gathers the name, model,  system name and version as well as the UDID.  You then press a button to send an email with the gathered device information.  The process can go like this:

  • Email/SMS user the link to the app (in iTunes)
  • Tap/Click the link
  • Download Device Profiler
  • (if on a computer launch iTunes and sync)
  • Launch Device Profiler
  • Tap “Email device profile to...” and type the email address of the person you’re sending it to.

Done!  Simple, yes.  Or at least easier and with less of a chance for typos.  For the adventurous developer the email’s are formatted the same way so that you can automate a script on your mail server or or use a rule in your email client to filter these emails for processing.  You also have the email address so that you can send out the credentials (AdHoc Provisioning Profile) to the user.  It is a win-win situation for everyone.

If you use Device Profiler let us know.  Or if you have any suggestions as to the product, we’d love to hear from you too.  Cheers and happy developing!

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