iPhone SDK, App signing and Beta Testing

Part of the iPhone SDK is a requirement to spend $99/year if you wish to distribute your application through the iTunes Store.

The $99 also gives you the ability to load your application into your own phone for testing without needing to use the store. Apparently it does this by giving you a certificate which you can use to sign your application, the same certificate needs to be installed into the phone for the application to run.

This is part of Apples mechanism to ensure that only approved (blessed) applications will be distributed through the store – apps on the store will be signed with a different certificate that Apple will control and that certificate will be installed on all iPhones running V2.0 of the iPhone OS.

What about beta testing your application on a larger pool of users than just your phone – testing is always a good thing – but right now it’s unclear how you can distribute your application to a pool of testers and let them install it. Using the store won’t be a good thing because that exposes the app to everyone. Require every tester to have paid $99 for the tools to self-sign (as it’s called) and install the app on their phone ? That seems expensive. Distribute your certificate with each app and have testers install it alongside the app ? Better – but still the question of exactly how is the app installed.

How to test the fruits of your labours seems quite unanswered right now !

Posted under Apple, Development, iPhone

This post was written by awk on March 7, 2008

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