We’re very excited to announce the launch of Build Distro, a better tool for mobile build distribution that makes it dead simple to get the right builds into the right teammates’ hands! 📲 🚀
Build Distro allows you to clearly define and group the different types of builds your team distributes — from one-offs and work-in-progress dev builds, to staging builds, to release candidates. You can avoid the usual jumbled pile of builds that folks have to carefully sift through, and give technical and non-technical team members alike an easier way to grab builds, with streamlined installation via QR or Slack link. With hassle-free distribution, your team can check out builds earlier and more often, improving collaboration and app quality.
Continue reading below for all the highlights, and check out the Build Distro docs to get started!
Build Distro introduces the idea of build buckets to allow you to clearly define and group different flavors of builds. Instead of having all distributed builds landing in that jumbled pile, you can now separate different kinds of builds using definitions based on branch, CI workflow, or some combination of both — or using more freeform, ad hoc buckets. Not only are build flavors logically separated into buckets, but you can set up targeted notifications and scope access per bucket to ensure the right people are aware of and able to seamlessly install new builds relevant to them.
With branch-based and ad hoc, personal build buckets, Runway makes it much easier to share work-in-progress builds. You can create dedicated buckets for test builds and nightlies on your main development branch or any feature branches, and everyone on your team can also have their own personal buckets to drop updates into as they work. Product managers, QA, designers, and other engineers and stakeholders can now easily grab any WIP builds, earlier and more often during the development cycle, helping your mobile org improve quality and shift left.
One of the worst failure modes around build distribution has to do with test or staging builds getting accidentally shipped to production. It may be rare, but when it happens, it can be devastating. Confusion around distributed build flavors is often to blame, and Runway’s build buckets remove this risk. Clearly delineate prod and pre-prod builds, and scope access accordingly.
Even once someone has tracked down a build they want to check out, actually getting it onto their device comes with its own hassles. Runway makes installation foolproof and seamless: with each build, you can install directly by scanning a QR code or sending yourself a link in Slack. Plus, alongside each build you can see full context on the build flavor and exactly what work it contains — no more guesswork, pinging build numbers back and forth and hoping you’re grabbing the right version of the app.
Getting up and running is simple: connect your existing CI and… that’s it. Once you’re connected, Runway will get you started with a few default shared buckets for development and RC builds, and anyone on your team can easily create scoped personal buckets. To define a new shared bucket, simply select a branch and a workflow (from among any defined in your CI, automatically pulled in by Runway) and builds will start populating the bucket with no further intervention.
Exactly how you leverage Build Distro is up to your team. You can spin up Build Distro by itself and use it as a standalone tool. Or, for a tightly integrated experience across the entire dev and release cycle, Build Distro plugs seamlessly into Runway’s end-to-end release management platform as a beta integration, allowing you to manage everything to do with pre-prod builds and testers alongside the rest of the release context.
With Build Distro, the Runway platform is unlocking yet another aspect of a more collaborative and streamlined mobile development experience for teams — not just for engineers, but for each and every role and stakeholder involved. We would love to hear your thoughts, and invite you to reach out for a personalized, guided tour!
And stay tuned for more: our roadmap includes Build Distro iterations that will tackle things like provisioning and signing, triggers and other bucket-level automations, and even more ways to create and share one-off dev builds.