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The Apperian Platform supports a wide variety of mobile apps. To make an app available to users in your enterprise App Catalog, you add it to your company's Apperian account. Once the app is available in the Admin Portal, you can use a variety of features to secure, distribute, manage, and update it for your entire organization.
Supported Application Types
The following table describes the types of apps you can manage with Apperian.
A native app is an app built for a certain mobile device platform and must be downloaded and installed directly onto the device.
Apperian supports native apps built for a variety of devices. For a list of specific platforms, see Supported Platforms.
|Hybrid Apps||A hybrid app delivers a web app as part of a native iOS or Android app. Like any other native app, users will need to download and install the app on their devices before they can run it. The web app will display in an embedded web view that provides access to the app functionality without all the features of a fully developed browser. For example, users will not see an address bar that reviews the URL of the web app. Because a hybrid app is a native iOS or Android app, you can apply policies to it, sign it with Apperian, and perform any other functions available for native apps. |
For more information, see Hybrid Apps (Delivering a Web App as a Native App).
Public apps include the following:
|Config||A config app is an iOS config file built with the iPhone Configuration Utility.|
You also use the Apperian Platform to manage your App Catalog apps. Apperian supports a web-based App Catalog and multiple platform-specific (native) App Catalogs. For specific devices and operating system versions, see Supported Platforms.
Every Apperian account comes with an web App Catalog which is automatically added to your Apperian account when you register your organization. If you want to use a native App Catalog, you need to obtain the App Catalog app from Apperian. For more information, see Add or Update an App Catalog.
Associating Screenshots and Media Files
When you add an app to Apperian, you can upload up to five screen shot images that will display in the App Catalog when the user displays details about the app. You can also upload any number of media files to support the app. For example, you can upload a training guide in PDF and a training movie file in M4V format. Media files will be streamed when viewed by users. For a list of the suggested media file types, see Media File Types.
Specify Custom Metadata
When you add an app of any type to Apperian, you specify standard metadata about the app such as its name, version, version notes, and a short and long description. Your organization can be configured so that you can also specify custom metadata about each app. For example, say your organization is a university and you manage multiple apps for students and faculty. You can use custom metadata to store values for School, Major, Year of Study, Campus, and so on.
In order to specify custom metadata, first you define a custom metadata template on the Settings page. Once that template is defined, a Custom Metadata section will display on both the Add New Application and Edit an Application pages so you can specify the metadata when adding/editing apps. You will also be able to view any custom metadata associated with an app on the app's details page in the Apperian Portal.
For more information, see Application Custom Metadata.
Controlling Access to Applications
With user groups, you control the apps to which each of your users has access. For example, if an app is assigned to the Sales group, only members of the Sales group will have access to that app in the App Catalog. If you are supporting multiple mobile platforms, Apperian determines which apps are appropriate for the user's device. For example:
- You add three "Expense Account" apps to your account; one to support each of these mobile platforms: iOS, Android, and Windows 10.
- Members of the Sales group are authorized to use all three of the Expense Account apps.
- A user in the Sales group installs the App Catalog on his iPhone. From the App Catalog, he can install the Expense Account app for iOS devices. From his device, he does not have access to the Android or Windows 10 versions of the app.
- Another user in the Sales group installs the App Catalog on his Android tablet device. From the App Catalog, he can install the Expense Account app for Android devices. From his device, he does not have access to the iOS or Windows 10 versions of the app.
- A third user in the Sales group logs in to the web App Catalog on his Windows device. From the App Catalog, he can install the Expense Account app for Windows devices. From his device, he does not have access to the iOS or Android versions of the app.
You can temporarily disable an app so that it does not display in the App Catalog for any users. This is useful when, for example, an inspection of the app is pending and you do not want users to access it until it has been deemed safe and reliable.
Managing Multiple Versions of an Application
You can manage multiple versions of a single native app. Apperian stores a new version whenever you upload a new app file. With iOS and Android hybrid apps, Apperian stores a new version whenever it builds the hybrid app (which it does when the hybrid app is first added or any time you edit the app and specify the Rebuild option). Apperian can store up to 10 versions of the same app.
Typically, you will want your App Catalog users to have access to the "latest and greatest" version of an app—but there are times when you may want to assign a previous version, or assign different versions to different users. For example, if you have a new beta version of an app, you can get it into the hands of your Test group only while continuing to provide all other users with the previous "production-ready" version. For more on other typical use cases and guidelines for working with multiple versions, see Application Versions.
Applying Policies to an Application
App policies are business logic rules that you can apply to individual iOS and Android apps in your organization. Applying policies is done post-development, without requiring any code changes or SDKs. Policies provide added layers of security, management, and measurement capabilities to support corporate requirements and enhance your users' mobile experience. For example, the Jailbreak Protection policy protects enterprise data by blocking users from running apps on jailbroken devices, and the App Usage policy tracks an app's usage. For more information on application policies, including a list of all the policies available, see Managing Application Policies.
Delivering Applications via a Direct Install URL
While you typically deliver apps via the App Catalog, you may on occasion need to deliver an application to someone who is not an Apperian user and cannot log in to the App Catalog. For this use case, you can enable Direct Install. Direct Install is supported with native iOS, Android, and Windows apps. Enabling an app for Direct Install allows users to install it on their devices via a Direct Install URL—with no App Catalog and without having to authenticate with Apperian.
When an app is configured for Direct Install, an install URL displays on the app details page. Anyone who knows the Direct Install URL will be able to download and install the latest version of the app. Note that when users install an app via Direct Install, they are not notified when the app is updated in the Admin Portal. For more information on this delivery option, see Delivering Applications via a Direct Install URL.
Managing Web Apps
A web app is an app that users access over the Internet or an intranet. With the Apperian Platform, there are two ways to deliver web apps:
- Web App: This app type delivers the app to users as a web app that they access through their mobile device's web browser. A web app does not need to be downloaded or installed on the device. You can deliver apps of this type through any of the App Catalogs (web or native).
- Hybrid App: This app type delivers a web app to your users as part of a native iOS or Android app. Like any other native app, users must install the app on their devices before they can run it. The web app appears in an embedded web view that provides access to the app functionality without all the features of a fully developed browser. For example, users will not see an address bar that reveals the URL of the web app. By adding a web app as a hybrid app, you can leverage features of Apperian that are available with native apps only. For example, you can apply policies to it, sign it with Apperian, and use reports to track its download history. For more information, see Hybrid Apps (Delivering a Web App as a Native App).
Recognizing Minimum OS Requirements
If a device does not meet a native app's minimum OS requirements, the app is not listed in the App Catalog. Also, if an app is marked as mandatory, a user is not forced to install the app when logging in to the App Catalog on a device that does not meet the app’s minimum OS requirement.
At any time, you can update an app to distribute a new version to your App Catalog users. Apperian manages app versions and sends push notifications to alert users about new updates. When you update an app, you can choose to let users decide when they want to update, or you can make the update mandatory either the next time the user logs in to the App Catalog, or by a particular date. Users cannot continue to use the App Catalog until they install all mandatory updates.
To make it easier for users to always have the latest version of an app, you can apply the Self Updating App policy. When an app has the Self Updating App policy applied, whenever the user launches the app, Apperian checks if there is a new version, and if there is, prompts the user to install it. When an update is mandatory, Apperian blocks a user from opening the app until the user installs the latest version.
Tracking App Usage
Protecting and Inspecting Applications
You can use the Admin Portal to apply policies to individual iOS and Android apps in your Apperian account. Applying policies enables you to add multiple layers of protection to any app that needs more security.
Apperian can also inspect apps to screen for risky behavior and vulnerabilities, such as malware, trojans, and intellectual property exposure. When you request an inspection you are provided with an Inspection Report that serves as a powerful Mobile App Risk Management tool. Not only can an inspection detect malicious mobile apps, but it can spot vulnerabilities due to poor programming and design practices.
Sending Applications on an Approval Process
Before you publish a native mobile app to the App Catalog, you may want to distribute it for review to employees throughout your organization to ensure that the app meets corporate quality and security standards. With the Application Approval Process feature, you can send an app on QA Testing and Security Review workflows.
You pre-assign the user groups that will review apps during each type of workflow within your organization. Starting a workflow is a one-click process; you simply change the app's workflow status from "Not Started" to "In Progress" and Apperian automatically makes the app available in the App Catalog to members of the assigned workflow group.
For more information, see Application Approval Process.
Remotely Deleting Application Data from a Device
Sending a Notification to Users of an App
Using the Send Notification feature, you can send a push notification message to users who have installed a particular iOS or Android app on their devices. This is a useful way to notify users of changes to an app, or to request a particular action. For example, you may want to advertise an exciting new feature of an app or remind users to install the latest version. All native App Catalog users who have installed the app on their devices will receive the notification. For more information, see Send a Notification to a Group.
Viewing App Ratings and User Reviews
App Catalog users can Like or Dislike an app, and write a review of the app. In the Apperian Portal, you can view information about the app's rating, and view and delete user reviews. For more information, see App Ratings and Reviews.
The Applications Page
Use the Applications page of the Apperian Portal to manage the apps in your Apperian account. From this page you can add new apps, edit existing apps, display information about all the apps currently in your organization, and access quick links perform other actions such as deleting, signing, and applying policies to an app.
By default, the list displays a subset of data columns (Application, Short Description, Application Type, and Last Updated). Use the Show/hide columns menu to modify which columns display so that you see only the data you care about. By default apps are sorted alphabetically by name; click on any column with sorting arrows (Application, Expiration Date, Last Updated, Size, Rating) to sort by that column. Note that sorting order can be overridden for a specific app by modifying its Sort Weight when you add or edit the app; the lower the sort weight, the higher in the list the app displays. Sort Weight also influences the order of app listed in the App Catalog.
To filter the list to find certain apps, start typing a search string in the Search field. The search is based on Application Name, Short Description, and Long Description; Apperian will search data in all those columns even if one or both of the description columns is hidden.
Using the Application Page
The following figure indicates common navigation and information options on the Application page.
|1||Manage your App Catalogs.|
|2||Add a new app to your organization.|
|3||Filter the list of apps.|
|4||Choose which columns to display on the page.|
|5||Click an app's name or icon to view the Details page.|
|6||Click to sort a column by ascending or descending order.|
|7||Click links to perform common tasks and view all categories an app belongs to.|
|8||Track important status indicators.|
|9||Change the number of apps displayed on the page.|
|10||Navigate through the list of apps.|
Application Status Tags
Status tags under the app name help you stay on top of what needs your attention.
|Status Tag||What It Means|
|When an app is disabled, it will not appear in the App Catalog. There are many reasons why you may want to temporarily disable an app. For example, if you upload a new app and plan apply policies to it, you should keep the app disabled until you have finished applying policies and signing it. You can enable an app by editing it, or directly from the Signing tab by clicking Enable app when you sign. For instructions, see Disable or Enable an Application.|
|This tag identifies an iOS app that is signed with expired credentials. When signing credentials are expired, it means that either the certificate or the distribution provisioning profile used to sign the app has expired. If the app includes extensions and is therefore signed with multiple provisioning profiles, the expiration date is based on the date of the certificate or provisioning profile due to expire the soonest. Users can't install expired apps from an App Catalog, and can't run an expired app that was already installed. For more information, see iOS App Expiration.|
|This tag warns you when an iOS app is due to expire in 60 days or less. This gives you time to re-sign and redeploy the app before it expires (and is flagged with the red EXPIRED tag).|
|You can apply app policies to iOS and Android apps to add layers of security, management, and measurement capabilities. This tag identifies whether policies are currently applied to the app. If you wish you apply or change policies, click the Policies link under the app name to go directly to the Policies tab for that app. For more information on applying policies, see Apply Policies to an App.|
|After you apply policies to an app for the first time, and sometimes when you reapply policies, you need to re-sign the app. This tag highlights any apps that are in this pending signing state. To sign the app, click the Sign link under the app name to go directly to the Signing tab for that app. For more information on signing an app, see About Signing.|