Recently, I deployed a special version of Roomr to a large enterprise customer for inclusion in their Enterprise App Store. Part of the arrangement was that I support two enterprise features; Single Sign-On and Managed App Configuration.
This, on the face of it, was an excellent deal. I watched some WWDC videos on preparing apps for Enterprise and had managed to land a face to face meeting with the head of IT at this company. It seemed like a small amount of code would need changing in exchange for a tremendous financial opportunity (the company in question has over 120K employees world wide).
However, things are rarely as easy as they appear.
I immediately discovered, to my dismay, that the Managed App Configuration feature required a full MDM (mobile device management) platform to operate correctly. I searched the internet looking for MDM software that I could download and use for testing, but sadly I couldn’t find any. All of the major providers offer trial versions, but you have to get in touch with them etc. etc. As I wasn’t going to buy their software, they were understandable disinterested.
I knew I needed to test my software before releasing it, so I needed another approach.
I decided to build the software I needed to complete my testing. After some prelimiary research I discovered I needed to be a member of the Apple iOS Enterprise developer program. At £185, this was a hefty amount, but the potential earnings from a successful enterprise deployment made it worth the investment. I handed over my credit card information and got Cold Bear Ltd registered within the Enterprise program.
After getting the MDM protocol documentation (thanks to Peter Marcos at Apple for helping with this), I got to work. After much hair pulling, use of SSL and prolific swearing, I got a basic MDM solution working. Another few hours and I had tested my Enterprise code. I packaged up the IPA and emailed it to my client.
After the dust settled, I got an email from another developer who was having trouble testing the same Managed Configuration feature. After establishing that he would be willing to pay money for a simple way to test this feature (his MDM wasn’t working) I started refactoring my code.
After more swearing and hair pulling, TestMDM (http://testmdm.cloudapp.net) was born! TestMDM offers basic MDM functionality in a time-boxed fashion. You might want to test your app for an hour or a week and you only pay for the time you need. I hope this strikes a balance between the time and cost purchasing an MDM and the need to test some features quickly and effectively.
It’s almost ready for launch. I’m just putting the finishing touches to the device enrolment functionality to make it as easy as possible.
So, if you’re an enterprise developer or thinking of getting into enterprise development, TestMDM might be of use to you. If you’d like to know more, please drop me an email – firstname.lastname@example.org and I’d be happy to have a chat about what you need for enterprise development.
PS The name TestMDM is most likely to change If you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them.