Mobile CI/CD should be table stakes. And yet, despite all the nice GUIs and workflow builders, and despite the awesomeness of fastlane, many teams still struggle to get a basic end-to-end pipeline stood up. It’s not their fault: even with the GUIs and workflow builders and fastlane, everyone still has to reinvent the wheel. To get up and running, you need to know how to piece together the right build and deploy steps, gather the right configs, store the right secrets and store said secrets securely, perhaps even write some Ruby and YAML in whatever provider’s particular syntax-of-choice…
What makes matters worse is that, for the particular kind of team that tends to be making the jump from not having CI/CD to having CI/CD, it’s extra work on their plates coming at the worst possible time. These are usually smaller teams, perhaps teams anticipating or already experiencing growth. They have extremely limited bandwidth and a need to prioritize product work above all else. They likely don’t have mobile infra experts in-house who can spin up new tooling in their sleep. So, a tricky catch-22 presents itself: teams find themselves wanting CI/CD to help streamline their mobile practice and unlock growth, but the non-trivial effort to get CI/CD in place is hard to prioritize relative to critical product work. It’s exactly this catch-22 that explains why so many teams out there are still building locally and distributing manually.
At Runway, we think mobile CI/CD should be the easy part — a true out-of-the-box unlock.
At Runway, we think mobile CI/CD should be the easy part — a true out-of-the-box unlock. With the build piece out of the way, not only can your team stay focused on product work, but you’re able to move on to even more impactful tooling and process improvements when you’re ready for that. The Runway platform is already helping teams with the latter, and we’re excited to announce that we can now help with the former too!
Introducing Quickstart CI/CD by Runway, a free standalone tool that autogenerates complete, end-to-end build-and-deploy workflows for Android and iOS. If you don’t yet have a CI/CD pipeline for your app — or want to replace an existing flaky one — run the Quickstart CI/CD wizard to get up and running in minutes. There’s no lock-in to worry about, and you’ll be able to build on top of the pipeline as your needs grow. Under the hood, Runway is assembling all the necessary steps, configs, and secrets (and storing those securely for you!), then generating CI-native config files to merge straight into your repo or take with you wherever you like.
How does Quickstart CI/CD actually work?
- Runway connects to GitHub* and App Store Connect or Play Console for you
- We pull together all the necessary configs by scanning your repo and querying the stores
- Runway autogenerates everything you need — a GitHub Actions* workflow file, a fastlane Fastfile, and a Ruby Gemfile — and optionally opens a PR adding all of these right into your repo, ready for use.
- That’s it! Head to GitHub Actions to trigger your new build-and-deploy workflow.
* Initial support for GitHub and GitHub Actions to be followed by other providers.
Read on to learn more about the inner workings of Quickstart CI/CD, or if you’re ready to dive right in, you can get started for free below!
Step 1: connect to GitHub
After selecting a platform (Android/iOS), you’ll connect Runway to your GitHub repository using an easy OAuth flow. Connecting GitHub will allow the Quickstart wizard to scan your project files and extract all the necessary configuration details for the build-and-deploy workflow, so you don’t have to dig around for and set them yourself.
Step 2: connect to App Store Connect or Play Console
Next, you’ll connect Runway to App Store Connect or Play Console. Runway uses this integration to grab additional details about your app that are needed for the workflow: things like your bundle identifier or package name, active provisioning profiles for iOS, etc.
During this step, Runway can also optionally upload the API keys your workflow will be needing to talk to App Store Connect or Play Console for certain steps (e.g. uploading your new builds to the stores). We use GitHub’s encrypted secrets functionality for this to keep everything secure.
Step 3: Quickstart scan
This is where the Quickstart wizard really gets to work, scanning your project files and app store records to pull key values and settings needed for the workflow’s configuration. You’ll get a chance to confirm that everything looks good with the resulting output. In some cases, Runway will surface multiple options for certain fields like build target and build type – be sure to select the option you normally use when preparing builds for app store distribution.
Step 4: Signing secrets
Next, you’ll upload the required signing certificates or keys to GitHub. As before, Runway uses GitHub’s encrypted secrets for this so everything stays secure. With these uploaded and safely stored, your workflow will be able to properly provision and sign your builds for distribution.
Step 5: Final YAML and commit to repo
The Quickstart wizard now has everything it needs for your build-and-deploy workflow files. Runway will generate a GitHub Actions YAML file which defines your workflow, a fastlane Fastfile to configure and run your builds, and any additional files needed to install fastlane and set it up properly (e.g. a Ruby Gemfile). You can choose to automatically open a pull request to get these files straight into your repo, or download them instead.
Step 6: Profit! And run your workflow
Once all of the files the Quickstart wizard autogenerated for you make their way into your repo (via Runway PR or manually), head over the Actions tab in your GitHub repo, find your new build-and-deploy workflow in the left hand menu, and click “Run workflow” to see it all in action!