Hi! and welcome back to part 5 of the Headjack Crash Course. Now that we created some projects and chosen a template for our app, and I approved the result in Headjack Link, it’s time to talk about Headjack Cloud Build. Headjack Cloud Build is one of the most powerful features of the Headjack platform since it will allow you to build app packages that can be installed on various devices without needing an app store. Or, when you do want your app published in one of the stores, you also need these app packages in the submission process.
The app packages an .apk (for android) .exe (for windows) and .ipa (for iOS) can be used for the following:
- App installation on a device without the need for an App store (sideloading)
- App store submission
- Offline use
- Third-party app stores like Sidequest
- Device/fleet management software like ArborXR
- Enterprise solutions
What is Headjack Cloud Build
Headjack Cloud build is essentially a Unity instance we run on Unity Cloud that is specially set up to build Headjack apps. Usually, when you create an app package, you need your local Unity license, some coding experience in C#, and technical know-how on how to set up your build correctly so that a store will accept it or it can be installed on a VR or mobile device.
Headjack Cloud Build allows non-developers to create these app packages in minutes without all the technical complications involved with these app builds. On top of that, we constantly update cloud build, so when you use it in production, you always know that you are running our latest app updates and that your apps comply with the newest store regulations.
Creating an app build
Now we know how Headjack Cloud Build works, let’s put it into practice. I first clicked build app, and since this is my Quest 2 App, I chose Oculus Quest 2 as my building target; you see, some platforms are greyed out because an app with the Kiosk template can’t be built for these platforms. Now I select local since this is not an app I will submit to the store but will sideload the quest manually. Now when I click Start Build, you see the build popping up in the build list where I can check its progress.
A cloud build can take roughly 15 minutes to complete, but when it’s done, you can click on it, which will bring me to this page where you can download the build on the top right, and it will also tell you some specifics on how to sideload the app to your device for which you build the app. I will only download the app for now because we will talk about sideloading later in this lesson, which brings me to this page where I can find a download knob and a QR code that I can use in case this app is built for mobile devices.
The URL of this download can also be shared in case you want to share it with team members or a client.
You can always find a complete history of all your app builds and the corresponding download links under the apps > builds tab. If, in any case, something went wrong with your cloud build, you can also find the information icon here with a detailed log you can send over the Headjack support for further investigation by our support team.
Why Headjack Cloud Build instead of Headjack Link
Obviously, the Headjack Link App is causing less friction when you want to view your content fast since you can grab the app from the app store and fill in the 6-digit code associated with your app, and you are ready to go. But there are three main reasons you should consider using Headjack Cloud Build instead of our Link App.
1: I want to skip the 6-digit login
Since the app generated by cloud build is directly associated with your app in the CMS, it doesn’t require a 6-digit login to get access to its content.
2: I want to use my app in offline mode
When you have paid a Headjack subscription, this is the way you can take your apps offline since we don’t need a working internet connection to validate your subscription or account.
3: I need an app package for app store submission or third-party middleware
The app package is the actual thing you submit to an App Store, and users will download from the app storefront.
Installing your app package on your Android or iOS device without needing an app store is called sideloading. I won’t go into detail on how to do this for every platform since I have written extensively on sideloading in the following articles. The only thing I want to make you aware of is that we have a free tool called the VRsideloader, which you can download below and will make your life much easier for sideloading apps on Android devices since it makes it essentially a drag-and-drop procedure.
If you want to sideload apps to iOS devices, you are out of luck since you essentially need to start the first process of an app submission since they completely locked their platform to prevent malicious apps from being installed on their devices.
As discussed earlier, the app package is also essential when you want to bring your app to the app stores and submit it for approval. The process is quite cumbersome; that is why I have written detailed step-by-step guides for each platform which you can find here.
For now, the only thing to keep in mind is that for app submission, you need a special kind of app package, namely one that is signed. Essentially a signed app package means that the app package is associated with an Oculus, Google, or Apple account, so they know who is submitting an app and that it’s you who is submitting the app up for review. Headjack has built-in management tools to store and inject your installation package with the proper singing credentials. In the submission guides, you can find more information about obtaining the correct signing files and creating an app ready for publishing.
Now that you know how to use Headjack Cloud build to generate an app package and how to sideload it to your device, we can look at updating your app with fresh content in the next lesson.