Tip: Manage different versions of your app

By maintaining multiple versions of your app, you can refer back to a prior incarnation at a later date. It also enables you to share your progress on a new app version with beta testers, without disturbing the main version used by your regular users. Learn to duplicate your app to access these features.

Before we launched the beta version of Calcapp Creator in 2016, we created calculator apps for clients on a consultancy basis. We have retained some of these clients and we now use the same tools you use — Calcapp Creator — to serve their needs. (Most of the features we work on are driven by feedback we receive from our beta testers, but we occasionally add features we need to support these clients.)

One of the most pressing issues we encounter when we serve our own clients is our need to manage multiple versions of our apps. Sometimes it is desirable to maintain old versions of an app to refer back to later and sometimes we want to share a new version of an app with a small circle of people before sharing it with all users.

Calcapp Creator doesn’t have explicit support for versions, but you can duplicate your app at any time to achieve similar results. To duplicate an app, use the Manage apps window (reachable from the menu button in the upper-right corner), click the down arrow and select Duplicate app:

Duplicating an app in the Manage apps window

You will find that a copy is made of the app and that the name is pre-selected. You may want to add the current date in parentheses if you’re saving a version to refer back to later.

Duplicating an app also comes in handy when you want to share a new version privately with select people to allow them to weigh in before giving your regular users access to it. This effectively allows you to publish a “beta version.” That’s a good approach to ensure that you don’t inadvertently publish a new version which contains errors.

The workflow for publishing a version of your app only to your beta testers is to make all your modifications to the “main app” (the one you share with your regular users). Be sure not to press the Share app button, so that you don’t share your app when the new version is still in development. Duplicate the app when you’re happy with your changes, open the duplicate app and share it. You will get a new app link, one that is unrelated to the app link for your main app. When incorporating feedback from your beta testers, do so using the main app and share another duplicate version to get additional feedback. Repeat this process until you’re happy with the new version and ready to share it with your regular users. At that point, share your main app and let your regular users know.

Maintaining versions of your app in this way can lead your Manage apps window to become cluttered. Be sure to remove versions you no longer use, such as temporary versions you only created to share with beta testers. (You probably want to hang on to historical versions for a longer period of time.)

We hope to add built-in support for versions at a later date, which would save you from cluttering the Manage apps window with different versions. For now, though, duplicating your app is an effective way of managing different versions.

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