Beta build

🚧 It's a Work In Progress section 🚧

Distributing beta builds

Developers love writing React Native code but no one likes deploying React Native app or distributing beta builds.

All your headaches will disappear with this documentation and the amazing Fastlane tool :)

Before you start

You need a Mac. I'm sorry, but if you are a Windows user, you can stop reading right now.
Fastlane will not work on Windows PC. But in all cases, if you need to deploy your app on IOS, you must have a Mac.

Let's explain which tools we are using to distribute beta builds:

  • Fastlane, the easiest way to automate beta deployments and releases for your iOS and Android apps. It handles all tedious tasks like generating screenshots, dealing with code signing and releasing your application.
  • TestFlight, part of App Store Connect, let you build your iOS app and invite internal or external users to test it
  • Google Play, which does the same job as TestFlight for Android apps
If you love this documentation, give us a star, you will be a ray of sunshine in our lives :)

This documentation is a part of a React Native project template for building solid applications through separation of concerns between the UI, state management and business logic. Just navigate to the project home page if you want to see more.

Installing Fastlane

First you need to install Fastlane on your Mac. Follow these steps:

  1. Install the latest Xcode command line tools:
$ xcode-select --install
  1. Install Ruby using Homebrew:
$ brew install ruby
  1. Install Fastlane with RubyGems:
$ sudo gem install fastlane -NV

You are now ready to set up Fastlane for iOS and Android 🚀

iOS

Prerequisites

Before continuing make sure you have:

  • Install all required dependencies, with Xcode 9 or higher
  • Choose the bundle identifier of your app (for example com.tcm.boilerplate)
  • An Apple ID with an admin user, with its username (email, for example dev-team@yourcompany.com) and password
  • Your app name, if not already created on the Developer Portal (for example TCM React Native Boilerplate). Fastlane can create applications in the Developer Portal and App Store Connect, so it's recommended to let Fastlane do the job for you.
  • Use the right .gitignore file inside the ios directory
  • You also need to create an App Icon to use Fastlane or you will get an error on running fastlane beta. You can simply create one using the website MakeAppIcon

Open your Xcode project and modify some information:

  • In the General tab, Identity section, change the Bundle Identifier to your identifier (useful for Fastlane)
  • In the Signing & Capabilities tab, Signing section, disable Automatically manage signing
  • In the Build Settings tab, set view filter on top to All and Combined, then go to the Signing section and into Code Signing Identity, set Don't Code Sign for the debug line (including Any iOS SDK also) and set iOS Distribution for the release line (including Any iOS SDK also).

Like this:

Code Signing Identity< Multiple values >
DebugDon't Code Sign
Any iOS SDKDon't Code Sign
ReleaseiOS Distribution
Any iOS SDKiOS Distribution

Setting up

First you need to set up Fastlane for your iOS project:

$ cd my-project/ios
$ fastlane init

Note: If you have an error on this step, please see the issues section.

Fastlane will automatically detect your project and ask for any missing information.

The following questions will be asked:

  • What would you like to use fastlane for?

    • For this tutorial a good answer is 2 - Automate beta distribution to TestFlight
  • Select Scheme:

    • Here we will select the scheme without -tvOS suffix
  • Apple ID Username:

    • If you don't know, you didn't read the "Prerequisites" step :)
      Our answer is dev-team@yourcompany.com
  • Password (for Apple ID Username):

    • If you don't know, you didn't read the "Prerequisites" step :)
      Our answer is keep it secret
  • If your account has multiple teams in the App Store Connect, you may have this question: Multiple App Store Connect teams found, please enter the number of the team you want to use:

    • Select the right team
  • If your account has multiple teams in the Developer Portal, you may have this question: Multiple teams found on the Developer Portal, please enter the number of the team you want to use:

    • Select the right team
  • If you haven't already created the App on the Developer Portal or App Store Connect, Fastlane can do it for you! (else you must have a message Your app 'com.tcm.boilerplate' is available in your Apple Developer Portal / App Store Connect)

    • It will ask Do you want fastlane to create the App ID for you on the Apple Developer Portal / App Store Connect? (y/n)
      • Type y
    • App Name:
      • TCM React Native Boilerplate

Fastlane will then give you some information about git, the files it will create, etc. Just type enter to continue.

Congrats! Fastlane has created some files.

If you are using Git, commit all generated files.

Once the setup has finished you can see a new folder inside the ios folder:

- fastlane/
- Appfile
- Fastfile

It's not finish, you need to follow Code Signing part to setting up a provisioning profile.

For information:

Appfile contains identifiers used to connect to the Developer Portal and App Store Connect. You can read more about this file here.

Fastfile contains all actions you can launch. You can read more about this file here. Because we previously chose Automate beta distribution to TestFlight on set up, a beta lane is available by default. This lane contains 3 actions:

  • increment the build number of your app
  • build your app
  • upload to TestFlight

Code signing

Signing your app assures users that it is from a known source and the app hasn’t been modified since it was last signed. Before your app can integrate app services, be installed on a device, or be submitted to the App Store, it must be signed with a certificate issued by Apple.

A full guide is available on the fastlane doc, describing the best approaches for your code signing process.

Using match is probably the best solution.
Because we don't want to revoke our existing certificates, but still want an automated setup, we will use cert and sigh.

Add the following lines to your Fastfile, just after the increment_build_number function and before build_app (Note that you will need to replace some information):

get_certificates( # Create or get certificate, and install it
output_path: "./builds" # Download certificate in the build folder (you don't need to create the folder)
)
get_provisioning_profile( # Create or get provisioning profile
output_path: "./builds", # Download provisioning profile in the build folder
filename: "provisioning.mobileprovision" # Rename the local provisioning profile
)
update_project_provisioning( # Set the project provisioning profile (related in Xcode to the General > Signing Release section)
xcodeproj: "Boilerplate.xcodeproj",
target_filter: "Boilerplate", # Name of your project
profile: "./builds/provisioning.mobileprovision",
build_configuration: "Release"
)
update_project_team( # Set the right team on your project
teamid: CredentialsManager::AppfileConfig.try_fetch_value(:team_id)
)

Then, we need to configure the provisioning profile for the build step.

Add the following lines to your Fastfile, inside the build_app function, just after the scheme parameter (Make sure you add a , after the scheme parameter):

clean: true,
export_method: "app-store",
export_options: {
provisioningProfiles: {
CredentialsManager::AppfileConfig.try_fetch_value(:app_identifier) => CredentialsManager::AppfileConfig.try_fetch_value(:app_identifier) + " AppStore" # Value of this parameter is the name of the Provisioning Profile. By default, it will be "{bundleId} AppStore"
}
},
build_path: "./builds",
output_directory: "./builds"

Thanks to this the Certificates and Provisioning Profile will be automatically created when you will create a beta build!
🚀 You are now ready to create your first beta build.

Creating a beta build

Creating a beta build and uploading it on TestFlight is now really easy.
Just type the following:

$ cd my-project/ios
$ fastlane beta

Android

Prerequisites

Before continuing make sure you have:

  • A Google Play Console admin account and its username (email, for example dev-team@yourcompany.com) and password
  • Create your application in the Google Play Console (unlike for iOS Fastlane cannot do that for you)
  • Use the right .gitignore file inside the android directory (if you are using this boilerplate you are good to go)
  • Collect your Google Credentials
    ⚠️ In the Google Play Console, add the parameter &hl=en at the end of the URL (before any #) to switch to English. In some languages, the "Create Service Account" will not be available. Download the JSON key file, and copy it into my-project/android/key.json
  • Install all dependencies for macOS and Android

Setting up

First you need to set up Fastlane for your android project:

$ cd my-project/android
$ fastlane init

Fastlane will automatically detect your project and ask for any missing information.

The following questions will be asked:

  • Package Name (com.krausefx.app)
    • Our answer is com.tcm.boilerplate
  • Path to the json secret file
    • Type key.json (path to the file previously created in the Prerequisites step)
  • Download existing metadata and setup metadata management?
    • y

Fastlane will then give you some information about git, the files it will create, etc. Just type enter to continue.

Congrats! Fastlane has created some files.
If you are using Git, commit all generated files.

Once the setup has finished you can see a new folder inside the android folder:

- fastlane/
- Appfile
- Fastfile

Appfile contains identifiers used to connect to the Google Play Console and the link to the key.json file.
You can read more about this file here.

Fastfile contains all actions you can launch. You can read more about this file here.
A beta [lane](https://docs.fastlane.tools/advanced/lanes/), a deploy lane and a test lane are available by default.

You can remove the deploy lane to avoid some mistakes, and replace the beta lane by the following:

desc "Submit a new Beta Build to Play Store"
lane :beta do
store_password = prompt(text: "Signing Store Password: ", secure_text: true)
key_password = prompt(text: "Alias Key Password: ", secure_text: true)
releaseFilePath = File.join(Dir.pwd, "..", "my-release-key.keystore")
gradle(task: 'clean')
gradle(
task: 'assemble',
build_type: 'Release',
print_command: false,
properties: {
"android.injected.signing.store.file" => releaseFilePath,
"android.injected.signing.store.password" => store_password,
"android.injected.signing.key.alias" => "my-key-alias",
"android.injected.signing.key.password" => key_password,
}
)
upload_to_play_store(
track: 'internal'
)

As you can see, we need to sign our APK with a signing key. Don't worry, we will generate it in a moment, let's just explain what the lane do.

First, script ask the user two values : signing store and alias key passwords, with the prompt fastlane plugin. Asking the user those passwords ensure that no secret keys are stored into your app.
Then, this lane clean your project, assemble the application, automatically injecting signing configuration at runtime, before uploading it in the Google Play Store.
Upload is made internally, that means only internal testers will be allowed to download the app. You can learn more about different test types here.

Generating a signing key

Official documentation well explained how to generate a signing key.

You simply need to run the following :

keytool -genkey -v -keystore my-release-key.keystore -alias my-key-alias -keyalg RSA -keysize 2048 -validity 10000

This command prompts you for passwords for the keystore and key and for the Distinguished Name fields for your key.
It then generates the keystore as a file called my-release-key.keystore

Note: Remember to keep your keystore file private and never commit it to version control.

Copy the generated my-release-key.keystore file into the root of android folder.

You're now good to build and deploy !

Creating a beta build

⚠️ The first time you deploy your application, you MUST upload it into Google Play Console manually. Google don't allow to use theirs APIs for the first upload.
To do this, comment the three last lines of the Fastfile

#upload_to_play_store(
# track: 'internal'
# )

or create a new lane without those lines.

❗ There is no official plugin to automatically upgrade android version code (unlike the iOS lane).
Before each deployment, be sure to manually upgrade the versionCode value inside android/app/build.gradle.
We are working on an automatic way to do this.

Creating a beta build and uploading it on Google Play is now really easy.
Just type the following:

$ cd my-project/android
$ fastlane beta

Troubleshooting

Stuck at bundle install or bundle update running fastlane init

If the fastlane init process is stuck when running bundle install or bundle update it may mean that bundle command is asking for root permissions.
You can stop the process and retry again with sudo fastlane init, however you will need to change back ownership of the generated files to your user when it finishes by running this command:

$ sudo chown <your-user> <files>

Permission denied running android beta lane

If you have a Permission denied issue on an android beta build, please run:

$ chmod a+x /my-project/android/gradlew

Fastlane init failed

fastlane init failed
["The request could not be completed because:", "Could not receive latest API key from App Store Connect, this might be a server issue."]
Something failed while running `fastlane init`
Tried using Apple ID with email 'dev-team@yourcompany.com'
You can either retry, or fallback to manual setup which will create a basic Fastfile
Would you like to fallback to a manual Fastfile? (y/n)

Answer n, and retry previous steps with a correct Apple ID and password.
Make sure you are connected to internet.


If you need more informations, don't hesitate to read the fastlane documentation