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Our customers have been demanding mobile app testing and deployment support for a while now, and today we’ve done something about it. We acquired Distiller, a company focused on OS X testing and deployment—our first acquisition! We’ve incorporated their technology and expertise into CircleCI, and now you can use it to test your mobile apps!
Why are we doing mobile? And why with Distiller?
Bugs in mobile apps are devastating. Bugs in web apps are no picnic, but at least you can push up a fix right away. Mobile bugs often stay out for weeks or months, and depend on annoying external factors like app stores, and user upgrades. This is compounded further by the ease with which bugs can be introduced during the convoluted process of app submissions and mobile deployments. It is painfully easy to let some crucial misconfiguration or stupid bug make it into production, tank your app store ratings, disappoint your customers, and lose you money.
As a company that was founded on the promise of making testing and shipping quality software easy for everyone, we knew that we would have to do something about this. Many of the thousands of developers that already rely on us to test and deploy their backends and browser-based applications also have mobile needs, so it was an obvious direction for us to go in.
We were very fortunate to cross paths with Distiller, a company that totally shared our vision of making testing and deployment dead simple. They had the OS X expertise we needed, they understood the ecosystem, and they were Clojurians to boot!
The story so far…
We have been hard at work with customers running Android and OS X builds with a diverse range of workflows and requirements (such as the people building OS X projects generated from Haskell!) We have been beefing up our Linux containers with all the tools, SDKs, and libraries needed for Android builds, and have had OS X support in a private beta for about a month now. Starting today, we are totally committed to providing the best continuous integration and delivery tool for mobile apps.
We have already seen some great feedback from some of our early users. Laurent Raufaste, Director of Infrastructure at Percolate, who uses CircleCI to test both OS X and Android apps, said, “As we’ve scaled our products, the focus has been on maintaining a stream of frequent small releases and CircleCI allows us to do that with confidence.” Michael Cruz, VP of Engineering at Trunk Club said, “CircleCI gives our technology team the confidence to build, test, and deploy—quickly and consistently—across numerous platforms daily.”
Existing CircleCI users should feel right at home—just use our normal UI and YAML-based configuration. Android builds run in our standard Linux build containers. To use an OS X VM capable of building OS X projects, just enable the experimental setting in Project Settings > Experimental Settings.
If you’re new to CircleCI, don’t worry, it’s still super easy to set up! Just signup, follow a project, enable OS X builds as described above if necessary, and your first build will start. We will automatically infer build actions for Ant- or Gradle-based Android projects, and in OSX VMs, we will detect and build your project with the
xcodebuild command line tool.
Much more to come
This is only the beginning of our planned mobile support. We have a lot more features and niceties that we’re excited to roll out soon. There are a couple of constraints on what our OSX VMs are capable of at the moment that current CircleCI customers will notice—see the docs for more details. We are really excited to get feedback from more users now that we’ve launched mobile, so please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know what you think and what else we should build for you!