In-house App Deployment

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Has your company built a great app? But you don't want it on the app store? In-house App Deployment is for you. There are two ways to go:

Outsource It

Several companies make a living building private app catalogs for businesses. These sites typically require an enterprise subscription to Apple's iOS Developer Program.

Do It Yourself

(I haven't done all these steps myself. Hopefully some of you can fill in whatever gaps exist.)

Once you have established your iOS Developer Enterprise Program, everything you need to know is listed under the Provisioning Portal.

The rough steps for in-house app distribution are:

  1. Identify internal development resources
  2. Establish a cross-functional team to establish security, design & look and feel guidelines
  3. Download Xcode from AppStore or via free iOS Developer Program
  4. Build an app in Xcode
  5. Sign up for the iOS Enterprise Developer Program (not the standard program)

iOS Developer Enterprise Program
Requires DUNS number
Enrolling employee must have binding authority to enter into contracts
This employee becomes the Team Agent
Legal contact at your company to verify enrolling employee & their binding authority
Budget 10 - 15 business days for enrollment

From Apple's iOS Provisioning Portal

  1. Create App ID (performed by Team Agent)
  2. Register development devices (Team Agent)
  3. Create Development Provisioning Profile (Team Agent)
  4. Create Developer code signing Certificate
  5. Add Provisioning Profile & Developer Certificate in Xcode

To add the app to your device, you must also add the provisioning profile. This may be done with either the iPhone Configuration Utility or with most Mobile Device Management systems.

Note that with iOS 4, provisioning profiles are read only at boot. So here is what will happen: MDM will install both profile and app, but then the app will seem to disappear. The system is simply hiding the app because it is not aware of the provisioning profile. Just reboot the device to have the app function.

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