Polidea Store – a New Level of CI/CD
At Polidea, we like to work as closely as possible with our clients. We have been working within our Continuous Integration (CI)/Continuous Deployment (CD) framework for quite a while now and we aim to constantly improve it. That’s why we recently introduced our own CD app – the Polidea Store. The app allows everyone on the development team and on the client team to view and use the newest build of the app when it’s released to them, with minimal effort.
We have used Continuous Deployment for some time, but it was set up differently. Everyone added to the team (including client-side) would receive an email with a QR code and an installation link, to be able to use them both remotely and on the target device. This posed a set of problems: firstly, emails get overlooked easily when there is big traffic. Some users would miss a new build and keep testing the old one, reporting bugs and issues that had already been fixed. Additionally, the process was long enough to be postponed when the time wasn’t right and then forgotten.
This is why we came up with a tool familiar to every smartphone user: an app store. In both the iOS and Android Polidea Store app we have used visual patterns reminiscent of the official Stores, making an onboarding or excessive explanations obsolete. The experience is familiar and intuitive. The Store features all the apps the client/developer is currently involved in. There is a list of all builds released and a ‘What’s new?’ section for each build. This minimized communication and makes sure every information is put into context. We have also introduced roles: each build, when released, is available to the ‘Developers’ on the team. Once they are confident they want to share it with the ‘Client’ they tap ‘publish’, and the build is pushed to the client’s store.
The Polidea Store is always in development and we’re looking for ways to make the process of Continuous Deployment as smooth as possible to guarantee the client can see our progress instantly and to allow the whole team (coders, designers, testers) to catch bugs or issues that might be otherwise overlooked.
A key issue in these kinds of tools is security – projects before release are often a well-kept secret. We manage all the users that have access to Polidea Store, so no one can access apps without our consent. Additionally, to gain access clients need to go through a two-step verification process – after entering an e-mail address (that is always verified by us), the user receives a link and access code. This simultaneously provides a smooth user experience and secure access; we don’t store the users’ credentials.
We are constantly working on improving our continuous integration and deployment. Polidea Store is an ongoing project and will keep being updated, while serving as a great tool for team-wide updates and a common base for client feedback.