Developing a custom app for client (not for App Store). Is it possible?

Discussion in 'iOS Programming' started by tutiplain, Jun 30, 2011.

  1. tutiplain macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2011
    #1
    Hi,

    A prospective client told me he wants me to develop a custom iphone app for him. However, it would be something for his own personal use, the way I understand it. It would not be an app to be sold on App Store. Can this be done? The way I see it, there are two possible options: his device would need to be jailbroken in order to install the app, or, I should install the app into his device using my developer account (which would require me to provision his device).

    Both approaches seem dubious to me, because I don't know if either violates the Developer Agreement. Additionally, I don't know if jailbreaking a device is legal (they tell me it is). What do you guys think?
     
  2. CalWizrd Suspended

    CalWizrd

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2011
    Location:
    NYC/Raleigh, NC
    #2
    You can build the app with an adhoc distribution profile, allowing it to be installed on up to 100 devices (UDIDs need to be supplied for the profile).
     
  3. amorya macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2007
    #3
    I'd get him to get his own developer account. If you're providing him the source code, then just train him how to build and install it onto whatever devices he wants.

    If you're not providing the source, then I think you can codesign a compiled app on the command line, so you could still do it this way… do some research first though!

    Amorya
     
  4. chown33 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    #4
    An adhoc distribution has a limited lifespan. So unless there's a way to repeatedly update the adhoc distro, it will stop working on the device, and probably well before the developer certificate's annual expiration.

    If there's any way the app could be designed as a web-app, I recommend that.
     
  5. Squicken macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2010
    #5
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPod; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_2_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8C148 Safari/6533.18.5)

    Jailbreaking is 100% legal. Just some of the things you can do on a jailbroken device may not be ;)
     
  6. PhoneyDeveloper macrumors 68030

    PhoneyDeveloper

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2008
    #6
    The AdHoc profiles are expiring after 1 year these days. I had a few last week that were expiring in 2079, but I think they fixed that.

    Using adhoc for this purpose is perfectly fine and legal. But it will expire.

    I've done a couple apps like this at the customer's request. But they're apps whose purpose has a limited life-span.
     
  7. wlh99 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2008
    #7
    Just charge the client a $99 annual fee for certificate maintenance. That way he pays to keep your developer account.
     
  8. firewood macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2003
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    #8
    The other possibility is to develop a web app for your client. If necessary, make it a web clipping so that it can run offline, and use HTML5 local storage if needed. Web apps don't require a developer enrollment, and thus don't expire.
     
  9. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    New England
    #9
    I second that. I think that a lot of custom apps are fully realizable and best realized as web apps. This also has the benefit of platform independence should they want to switch to Android clients later.

    B
     
  10. forum user macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2008
    #10
    Oh no! They fixed that? First time I saw it, I did the certificate twice, considering it being a bug. But it installed fine. Thought it being kind of cool, 2079 as expiry date :cool:

    - Olaf
     
  11. tutiplain thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2011
    #11
    Hi all, sorry for the delay in replying.

    First of all, thanks for all the great advice. I didn't know about ad hoc profiles, or what they can do. Still, based on everyone's comments, I gather it's pretty much the same as provisioning his device with my dev account and installing the app into his device. Which means, it comes with an expiration date. One other thing I saw is that apps installed from XCode cannot be synced with iTunes (I could be wrong, but I saw no way of doing this). So if for any reason the client had to delete his iPhone data, I'd need to reinstall the app. While this would be extra income for me, I don't think the client would be very happy with that alternative.


    This seems like the most viable option so far. Unlimited life app, can be installed to run offline, and would not require further action from me once it's running. Now, you mention that it would be a "web clipping". Could you explain this a bit further? The way I understood it, an html5 app is simply a link to a web page, and everything runs on the web. Is a "web clipping" a type of locally stored html5 app?

    Again, thanks for the information. This thread has proven very informative.
     
  12. firewood macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2003
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    #12
    Ad Hoc apps can be installed and reinstalled via iTunes, or even over-the-air (from a website). There only real problems are that a UDID registered with the dev account is required, and that Ad Hoc apps expire periodically.

    But that just makes it really easy to sell an annual (and for device upgrades) maintenance service for a fee (extra revenue for the developer), since it's Apple certificates that cause Ad Hoc apps to expire, so the (non-App-store) customer has no other option for stock iOS devices. And it makes it hard for the client to "pirate" or resale lots of extra copies of your app.

    All good for the developer. Just make sure all the above is clear in the contract, and you charge enough to make it well worth your time.
     
  13. nwcs macrumors 65816

    nwcs

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2009
    Location:
    Tennessee
    #13
    Wouldn't the enterprise developer program get around this? My understanding is that you can set up your own app store on your network. The key thing would be to have them connect to your network to get the app.
     
  14. firewood macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2003
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    #14
    Enterprise app certificates and provisions also expire, so they need to be reinstalled every year. They can only be used to deploy apps to employees of a corporation with a D&B rating.
     
  15. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    New England
    #15
    Yes, basically, you can tell the webapp what to cache locally so that it doesn't have to go out to the web every time.

    More detailed info here: http://developer.apple.com/library/...e.html#//apple_ref/doc/uid/TP40002051-CH4-SW1

    Main document here: http://developer.apple.com/library/...roduction.html#//apple_ref/doc/uid/TP40002051

    B
     
  16. tutiplain thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2011
    #16
    Hi,

    Thanks for the links, and to everyone for all the information provided. It seems the client wants something with an undefined life span, and for which he doesn't have to continue paying regularly, so we're going for the HTML5 app. The info provided here will prove invaluable in this. Many thanks to all who responded.
     

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