The BigBlueButton mobile app is a compelling alternative to GotoWebinar, Zoom, or Skype for learning. The guidelines in this blog help developers set their BigBlueButton mobile app on the Google Play Store and the App store quickly for Android and iOS users.
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Downloading the source code for the BigBlueButton Android App
The source code for the BigBlueButton mobile app can be obtained at https://github.com/bigbluebutton/bigbluebutton.
As an open-source project, you can tweak BigBlueButton and build your applications upon it. View details on setting up the development and other environments here.
- Set a unique Bundle ID for your BigBlueButton Android app.
- You need to obtain a signing certificate. Click here for more information.
- You need APK expansion files for breaking up large code into smaller units for Upload (The maximum size for an APK on Google Play Store is 100MB)
- Sign up for the Google Play Console to become a Play publisher.
Set up your BigBlueButton Android App Information
- Log in to the Google Play Console through your publisher account.
- The first step would be to create the BigBluebutton mobile app and select All Applications in the left-hand menu.
- Click on Create Application to begin creating your BigBlueButton mobile app.
- Choose language and enter the title for your app as ‘BigBlueButton’ note that there is a limit of 50 characters for this. Next, continue and click Create.
- Add all the relevant information about the BigBlueButton mobile app on the page that follows, as shown below.
- Fill in the fields for Short description, Full description, Screenshots, Hi-res icon, Feature graphic image (optional), Video link (optional), Application type (app or game), and Category.
- You’ll need to fill out a questionnaire for the content rating. Don’t forget to click on Save Draft to save your app information for later use.
Upload the app bundle files or APK for the BigBlueButton App
After meeting all the prerequisites like unique bundle ID, signed app release, and expansion files in the case of a large app that is needed to release the BigBlueButton Android app, you need to upload all the files using the App Releases section on the hamburger menu.
You have the option of setting the type of release. Production is the final release to opt when submitting a live version of your final app to the Google Play store. Beta and Alpha releases are meant to test your app and receive valuable feedback to incorporate improvements to your app before the final release.
- Next, Click on Create Release to navigate to the New Release on the production page.
- Sign in to Google Play on your app or click on OPT-OUT to sign in locally.
- Click on Browse Files.
- Select the app’s APK or App Bundle files for uploading.
- Click on the Review option at the bottom right of the page to confirm and submit your app’s release information.
Set the Content Rating
- Go to the Content rating page option on the hamburger menu.
- Click on Continue.
- Enter your email address and confirm.
- Select your app category.
- Start filling out the survey for your app rating. This is basically to help Google identify if there is any explicit content in your app.
- Click on Save Questionnaire.
- Click on Calculate Rating. This will display the app rating your app will have on the Play Store.
- Click on Apply Rating to confirm your app’s content rating.
Set the Pricing and a Distribution Plan
If you want to set a price for whom your app is available, based on a particular plan of the BigBlueButton mobile app, follow these steps.
- Select FREEor PAID based on the plans you want to set. For more details on the paid options, check here.
- Set Available for the countries where you want your app released. Select the Unavailable option for the others.
- If your app is suitable for children aged under 13, select Yes for Primary Child-Detected. Otherwise, select No.
- If your app contains ads, check Yes for Contains ads. Otherwise, check No.
Publish the App
After completing the tasks in the checklist, it’s time to release the app with the following steps by selecting the App Releases option.
- Select Manage Production (otherwise if you’re releasing beta or alpha build select the same).
- Click on Edit Release.
- Now, click on the Review option at the bottom right on the page.
- Click Start rollout to production to finalize.
- Finally, click Confirm when prompted.
Setting up the BigBlueButton iOS App
Code Signing by creating an iOS Distribution Provisioning Profile and Distribution Certificate
You need a separate distribution provisioning profile and distribution certificate from the development provisioning profile and certificate to distribute your app to beta testers or other users through the App Store.
Set on the automatic signing and use the Xcode to create and manage certificates, sign identities, and handle device registration. If automatic signing is enabled or if you prefer no signing help, then skip stepping two.
This tutorial covers the manual signing of the app. Make sure that all targets in a bundle use the same signing method.
- Start by adding your Developer Program account to Xcode if you’ve missed that step. Select Xcode-> Preferences from the top menu.
- Select Accounts at the bottom left corner of the window, press the + sign Then, add your Apple ID and password for the Apple Developer Program. Click Sign In.
- Enable automatic signing. On the Project Editor, choose a target and select ‘General.’
- Scroll down to the “Signing” section and expand the settings by clicking on the triangle icon.
- Click on the box, which helps you automatically manage signing then select your team.
- Don’t forget to register the device you are using on your team provisioning profile.
Creating an App Store Connect Record for your BigBlueButton iOS app
- Create your own App Store Connect organization and become the team agent. Sign in with the Apple ID you used while enrolling in the Apple Developer Program
- You can also get invited by an existing organization as a user with an Admin, Technical, or App Manager role.
Adding the BigBlueButton iOS App
- Select App Store Connect dashboard -> My Apps
- Click on New App after clicking on the + sign in the upper left-hand corner.
- Enter the correct details for platform, BigBlueButton (for app name), default language, bundle ID, and SKU.
- Refer to the Xcode project Info.plist file to get the correct bundle ID that has to be entered.
- The SKU has to be set by you. Use letters, numbers, hyphens, periods, and underscores to set the same.
Configuring the App for Distribution
- Before the BigBlueButton mobile app can be published, you need to collect the following information to complete the process.
- An icon
- A screenshot/app preview
- Under App Store Connect -> “App Store”, in the “App Information” page, you can set,
- Additional languages
- Categories, and
- Set values on the ‘Pricing and Availability’ and ‘Features’ tab.
- You must provide the BigBlueButton app icon. An icon is important to get the app approved. Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines help size your icon properly. At this stage, the app’s status changes to “Prepare for submission.” Select the build you want to configure.
- Upload your BigblueButton mobile app’s screenshots.
- Provide a detailed description with all the necessary metadata that includes:
- BigBlueButton (app name)
- The version number
- The Category for your app
- A detailed description
- Any additional keywords
- Enter your app’s description, support URL, keywords, and marketing URL.
Read this page for detailed information about the metadata required for your app before submission.
- Upload your BigBlueButton app icon, enter its version number, and copyright and contact information. Also, edit the rating for your app.
- Enter the details in the App Review Information tab.
- Finally, archive the app, which includes critical debugging information, in a bundle.
- Run the standard iTunes Connect validation checks on the Archive, which helps determine if your app meets minimum App Store requirements and ensures that it passes before uploading to iTunes.
Upload the BigBlueButton app using Xcode
Before submitting your BigBlueButton iOS app for Review using App Store Connect, you need to upload the build through Xcode.
- In Xcode, select the deployment target as Generic iOS Device.
- Choose the Product from the top menu and then click on Archive.
- The Xcode Organizer will launch and display any previously-created archives.
- Select the current build and click on Upload to App Store. Click Choose after selecting your credentials.
- Click on Upload.
- A success message indicates the Upload has been completed. Click Done.
Submit the BigBlueButton App for Review
Submit the app for Review by the Apple team. This ensures that your BigBlueButton app complies with all specified guidelines. The approval process takes 1-3 days.
- Go to the “Build” section in the App Store Connect record.
- Tap on “Select a build before you submit your app.”
- Select the build that you uploaded through Xcode. Click ‘Done’ in the bottom right-hand corner, then Save in the top-right hand corner, then Submit for Review.
- Finally, respond to Export Compliance, Content Rights, and Advertising Identifier questions and click Submit.
Read more about each status here. If you need to get your release done urgently or if you need to release a new version with a critical bug fix, you can request an expedited review.
Here are the different statuses you can expect.
- Prepare for Submission
- Waiting for Review
- In Review
- Waiting for Export Compliance
- Pending Developer Release
- Developer Rejected
- Metadata Rejected
It could take around 24 hours for your app to appear in the App Store post-approval. Read this detailed page on iOS app reviews.
Contact us for a step-by-step demo of the above processes or let us set up your BigBlueButton app for you on Play Store or the App Store.