Testing and Publishing your app on iOS vs Android

Well I have now published on both several times and here are my thoughts:

Android: In order to test your app you have a choice of testing it virtually or saving it as an apk. Virtual testing is easy and works pretty well. The downfall is that eclipse requires you to create a virtual device instead of just providing one. While this step only takes a minute to complete, it does take some time to figure out how exactly to do it. My recommendation is to make this process easier for eclipse users. Now publishing the actual apk file is very easy. You first need to buy an Android developer license for $25. Then you publish through the publishing wizard which guides you through creating your apk file. It takes maybe 1 minute to publish. At that point you can put the app on your device or upload it to the Android store. Once submitted to the Android store (Google Play) your app is in the store immediately and ready for people to download.

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iOS: Once you have completed your appĀ  you are ready to test it out. In order to test it out you can choose to test it virtually or on your devices. Testing virtually is easy, xcode provides a virtual player and you just click the play button. This part is much easier than Android. However, everything else is significantly more difficult. First, you need a Mac, you cannot publish an app via a PC. Then, in order to test on your device, you must have the develop certificate which cost $99 per year. Once you make the purchase you must log into apple development center and register your device. Once you register your device you need to create a developer certificate and a provisioning development certificate. And you need to give your app an ID. These installations are not easy for the novice user. I spent about an hour setting it up and getting it to work right. Once you are satisfied with your app and want to publish, you need to create a provisioning distribution certificate and install that. The important thing is to make sure all of your certificates align with your app otherwise it wont work. Then from here you publish your app via xcode using the organizer. If there are errors it will not publish. Now it might seem simple to use the organizer however it is not. It took me about 10 hours to figure out to actually use the organizer. Why? It is a new feature on xcode and Apple’s own tutorials tell you to publish via the Application Loader, which is the old way and no longer works with the new version of xcode. So there was no way to know to use the organizer. Thus all resources I could find online, including Apple’s were telling me incorrect information. I was very frustrated with the whole process. It probably took me 10-15 hours to actually take my finished app from my computer to the app store. At that point, your app is not on the app store. Instead Apple has to review and approve of it. It took me 7 days and they rejected my app. I didnt actually understand why as their explanation did not say or let me know if there were an error or not. Apple, just create a publish wizard like eclipse. Why the need to 3-4 certificates to publish the app?

Overall, Android is 100x easier and more user friendly. However, the disadvantage is that anyone can publish anything to their app store which could mean there are more bad apps to sort through. However, good apps might be rejected by Apple (and it has happened) so Apple’s tight control is not an advantage and most ‘tech’ people do not like that control. In my opinion, if you are new to app development, go with Android. If you are doing this with your school, use Android.

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