In software competitions, it’s common practice to require that entrants provide free access to their apps for testing and judging. After all, you don’t want to award a prize to an app that does not function as depicted in the attached video & images.
To ensure a smooth submission process, you should give submitters clear directions on how to provide their apps to your team.
The Devpost platform allows developers to upload installation files or list download links – which is appropriate for most applications. However if you are accepting iOS apps which are not yet on the Apple App Store, you must provide submitters a way to send you a ‘test build’ of their app (as iOS developers cannot share .ipa files). We recommend using a free build-sharing service, such as TestFlight, HockeyApp, or Diawi. In fact - you’re welcome to present all three options to developers for them to use as they see fit.
It’s a good idea to include your iOS testing device’s unique UDID codes (which developers will use to provision your device to install the application). To find your device’s UDID code follow this easy tutorial.
What is TestFlight?
TestFlight is a free Apple platform used to distribute beta and internal iOS applications to team members over-the-air. Developers can share beta versions of their apps, which are not yet publicly available in the App Store, as well as live versions available in the App Store. In order to send or receive a TestFlight build, you must have a TestFlight account. Note: Developers will likely add you as an “External Tester” which means their app will need to go through Beta App Review before they can send the build.
How do I set up TestFlight?
Download the app on all testing devices
To get started with TestFlight you simply need to download the TestFlight app on all testing devices you’ll be using (note iOS 8 or higher is required for this app).
Have developers send you a build
To access a test build you’ll need to have developers add you as an Internal or External Tester and send you an invite email. To do this you’ll need to supply them with an email address. We recommend using an email address that's generic, like firstname.lastname@example.org. Accept the invite on your testing device to add it to the TestFlight app. (Your TestFlight app will likely show up with your Apple ID (not the testing email address). This is okay. You can accept invites with your current Apple ID, even if the invite email and the Apple ID don’t match.)
For more information about how TestFlight works - check out this video tutorial.
What is HockeyApp?
HockeyApp is a third party software that allows developers to send out beta versions of their apps for testing before they are publicly released. To use the service, developers simply need to create an account and enter the email address they’d like to send their app to. Please note that HockeyApp allows you to send test builds quickly, but there may be a fee to use this service.
How do I test with HockeyApp?
You provide an email for developers to send builds to. Once a build is received just click that link - sign in (or sign up for an account) and you will be able to download the build right away.
What is Diawi?
Diawi is a free third party software that allows developers to send out beta versions of their apps for testing before they are publicly released using a short URL.
How do I test with Diawi?
You provide an email for developers to send builds to. After submitters upload their file, Diawi creates a unique short URL to access the installation page (for ex: aBcDeF). Submitters should send this URL to you for testing. When opened in Safari on the iOS device, the page will display a link to install the application. Note that submitters will need to include provisioning for one or more of the UDIDs you provide.
Adding Testing Instructuctions to Your Hackathon Site
Now that you have your accounts and devices set up, you’ll need to share that information with your hackathon participants. We recommend posting instructions about how to share access for each device type on the hackathon site.
Below is a template that you can use. Generally, this is placed in the resources, rules, or another additional page.
How can I provide [COMPANY] with access to test my application?
You must provide a way for us to test your application at no cost. Please allow us to test using one of the following methods.
Android Applications: Upload an .apk file in the submission form or provide a link for us to download your app.
iOS Applications: If your app is available on the app store please provide a link in the “Website URL” field on the submission form. If you charge for your app, please also provide a promo code.
If your app is not yet publicly available, send a test build using one of the following methods:
Enter our email address to share a build with us for testing. Our TestFlight account email is: ENTER TESTING EMAIL. Please note that if you add us as an “External Tester” your app will need to go through Beta App Review before you can send the build. Builds must be received by the submission deadline to be eligible - so plan for extra time. Not sure how to use TestFlight via iTunes Connect? Check out the iTunes Connect Developer Guide and the TestFlight Video Tutorial.
Send a testing link to: ENTER TESTING EMAIL, and add the testing link to your submission form under “iOS Build Link”. Please note that HockeyApp allows you to send test builds quickly, but there is a fee to use this service.
Windows Phone applications: Upload an .xap file in the submission form or provide a link for us to download your app.
Windows PC: Upload the appropriate installation files (.exe) in the submission form or provide a link for us to download your app.
BlackBerry: Upload the appropriate installation files in the submission form or provide a link for us to download your app.
Mac OS: Upload the appropriate installation files in the submission form or provide a link for us to download your app.
Web/Mobile Web: Provide a link for us to access your app.