In software competitions, it is common to require entrants to provide free access to their projects for testing and judging. After all, you don’t want to award a prize to a project that does not function as described or shown in their submission.
To ensure a smooth submission process, give submitters clear directions on how to provide your team access to their projects. Depending on the types of projects you are accepting in your hackathon, there are a few options for each:
- Android: The Devpost platform allows developers to upload a file (ZIP apks, installation files etc.) or you can ask for download links – which is appropriate for most applications.
- iOS: If you are accepting iOS apps which are not yet on the 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.
- Web/Mobile Web: Ask your participants to provide a link for accessing their website and ask for any “Testing Instructions” within your Submission form to collect any login credentials.
- IoT/Other: Projects that include software that runs on proprietary or third party hardware that is not widely available to the public are difficult to test. If your hackathon is accepting IoT or wearable technology projects, this might require some creative thinking on how to verify and test their project. You can ask your participants to show the project running in their video, or verify the project over a call before announcing the winners.
Adding Instructructions to Your Hackathon Site
Now that you have decided on which platforms you accept and how you want to access projects, 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 in the below areas:
- Requirements Section
- Update to Registrants
Below is a template that you can edit and use throughout your hackathon communications.
How can I provide [Host] with access to my project?
You must provide a way for us to test your project at no cost. Please allow us to test using one of the following methods.
More information on the testing services mentioned:
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? There are a few steps to 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.