Supercharge Beta by Crashlytics with fastlane: automate app testing to save more time

By Hemal Shah, Product Manager

Supercharge beta by Crashlytics with fastlane

Feedback that comes early and often is the best way to improve your app experience. Your users are your greatest source of learning (what can I do better?) and inspiration (what should I build next?), which is why it’s such a shame that beta testing is a tedious, tiring, and hair-pulling process.

We built Beta by Crashlytics to fix this by making it easy and straightforward to distribute beta builds to your users. Simplified beta distribution is awesome, but imagine how much more time you’d save if you could also automate it in seconds. Now, all iOS apps using Beta by Crashlytics can harness the power of fastlane to automate beta deployment with a simple, guided setup process!

 

Less tedious work, more time to innovate

A successful beta release involves a lot of steps – you have to bump version numbers, compile the build, append the release notes, distribute it to your testers, alert your team that a build went out, and the list goes on and on. And if that wasn’t enough, sometimes only one person knows how to distribute a beta build, which means you’re tied to their schedule and there is a bottleneck for delivering value to your app users.

Beta by Crashlytics takes the pain out of this process and makes it intuitive and efficient. By installing fastlane, an award-winning mobile deployment toolset, you can automate the tedious tasks that slow down your app development. Say “goodbye” to manual work and spend more time innovating, while still getting a healthy stream of user feedback.

Beta distribution takes only seconds using fastlane:

Beta distribution with fastlane

 

Instant access to all the power and benefits of fastlane

As an added bonus, with fastlane, you’ll also unlock new tools to help you customize your build process and effortlessly release your app to the App Store. Plus, fastlane is fully extensible so you can create and consume actions that automate all aspects of your mobile development – whether it’s working with Git, posting to Slack, etc. – there are 170 built-in actions and 50 third-party plugins to choose from!

Here’s an example of fastlane’s extensibility: We noticed that developers are increasingly forced to use multiple beta distribution services to address different needs. With fastlane, you can use the same process to automate beta deployment to Beta by Crashlytics and stage your build on iTunes Connect. fastlane integrates with the services you already use and love, so everything will still work exactly as you designed it – it’ll just be light years faster and you’ll have more flexibility and control.


lane :beta do
 increment_build_number
 gym                  # Build your app
 testflight           # Upload to TestFlight
end

lane :appstore do
 snapshot             # Generate screenshots for the App Store
 gym                  # Build your app
 deliver              # Upload the screenshots and the binary to iTunes
 slack                # Let your team-mates know the new version is live
end

 

The fastest set-up process, ever

We know that one of the biggest hesitations to adopting a new tool, no matter how incredible it looks, is the fear of a terrible and time-consuming onboarding experience. Nobody wants to spend days connecting everything and making sure it’s set up properly. That’s why we worked hard to make it easy as pie to enhance Beta by Crashlytics with fastlane. This will be the smoothest onboarding process you’ve ever seen.

Want to see for yourself? All you need to do is open up the Fabric Mac app and click on the “fastlane” tab in the top menu. Then, click the “Automate your beta” link and we’ll use existing information about your app to auto-generate your single instruction file (called a Fastfile). From there, just build your app and you’re good to go.

You can even use the same Fastfile to automate taking screenshots and deploying to app stores. And once fastlane is setup, everyone on your team can use it out of the box (no extra knowledge transfer needed!) and it seamlessly works with your CI server.

fastlane + beta onboarding process

 

A better beta experience awaits

User feedback can reveal app issues and opportunities that even the most astute development team may miss – it is the key to meaningful iteration. We care about your success, which is why we invested time and resources to drastically improve the beta testing process. With the combined power of Beta by Crashlytics and fastlane, you can get all the feedback you need in a fraction of the time and effort. And it only takes a few seconds to save precious hours. Upgrade to fastlane today and let us know what you’re building with all of your extra time!

For more information about doing beta deployment through fastlane, check out our quick setup guide.