Steps to Develop Instant Apps : An easy way to boost business for startups

instantapp
Instant apps are apps which you can open and explore before installing them to your device. Almost everyday, thousands of new applications and games are being developed by Android developers. It’s very tough to identify the right mobile apps which are useful and interesting.

Android Instant App is the solution for it. According to a survey, all across the world over 500 million Android users have access to instant apps. “Great news for the startups! Yeah?” Let’s throw some lights on the Google Play Instant introduction, benefits, usage and development in this article.

Introduction to Instant Apps:

An Android Instant App is a Native Android app which can be tried by any user without installing it into the device. An easy to way to keep user engagement active with your Android App. The Android Studio 3.3 (beta release) has introduce this feature for the developer to build and publish an app to the playstore which contains both Instant and dynamic features.

Advantages of Android Instant Apps

Following are the benefits why startups and medium scale business entities should opt for having an Instant Apps, even if they are having any existing mobile application:

  • More Exposure by letting users try before downloading the App
  • Instantaneous feedback
  • Get wider user base by providing good experience to those using low end devices too
  • Let users share any App page on Social Media providing free buzz and traction
  • Make it easy for users of competitors app to see your app to try and convert them

Below are the steps to develop an Android instant App

Step 1: Development environment set up

Below are the basic requirements to make ready a basic development environment for developing instant-enabled app bundles:

  • Android Studio version 3.3 or higher.
  • Google Play Instant Development SDK: You can get the latest SDK version from the SDK Tools tab within Android SDK Manager.
  • Target device list: Google Instant can be tested using a physical or virtual devices.

Step 2: Project configuration for android instant experiences

Instant-enabled app bundle needs a proper configuration to be compatible with Google Play Instant. Detailed explanation given below.

Instant-enabled app modules

Following are the methods by which android developers can declare that your app bundle supports instant experiences:

  • While creating a new project in Android Studio, configure the project step, select the check box “This project will support instant apps”
  • For an existing application with only a base module, you only need to add following declaration to the manifest of the module within the app bundle for instant-enable application
    <manifest … xmlns:dist=”http://schemas.android.com/apk/distribution“>
    <dist:module dist:instant=”true” />

    </manifest>

Note: The default name for the base module of an app bundle is app. Any app which have multiple modules can be converted to instant-enabled dynamic feature module. By this method you can have multiple instant entry points in your application.

Note: Maximum size for an instant-enabled app bundle is 10 MB which is the combination of the code and resource within the instant-enabled modules.

Permissions supported by Google Instant

Below is the list of eleven permissions which are supported by any android instant-enabled app bundles:

  1. ACCESS_COARSE_LOCATION
  2. ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION
  3. ACCESS_NETWORK_STATE
  4. BILLING – (deprecated in Play Billing Library V 1.0).
  5. CAMERA
  6. INSTANT_APP_FOREGROUND_SERVICE – (this is available in Android 8.0 API level 26 and higher only).
  7. INTERNET
  8. READ_PHONE_NUMBERS – (this is available in Android 8.0 API level 26 and higher only).
  9. RECORD_AUDIO
  10. VIBRATE
  11. WAKE_LOCK

Finally, environment setup for execution

To provide additional security, instant-enabled app bundles can be executed by Google Instant within SELinux Sandbox. Your instant-enabled app bundle required following configuration to have compatibility with this specific environment:

  • usesCleartextTraffic needs to be set false within your configuration of Network Security. The value of myUid() is confidential (kernerl-assigned UID of your app process).

Step 3: Build the instant app bundle

Very easy step to build any app bundle within the Android studio:

  • Selecting Build > Build Bundle(s) / APK(s) > Build Bundle(s).

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Step 4: Google Instant app testing

Functionality verification of app’s instant experience is much needed before publishing it. The instant experience can be tested by publishing to the internal testing environment and on a local machine.

Before going live, let’s test on a local machine

Following are the steps to test android app’s instant experience on a local machine:

  • Uninstall any occurance of your app on your test device.
  • You need to enable the checkbox for “Deploy as instant app” under Run/Debug Configurations dialog -> General tab -> Installation options in your Android Studio 3.x.
  • You can either Select Run > Run in the menu bar, or click Run in the toolbar. After that you need to choose the device from the list for testing your app’s instant experience. Check your test device to see app’s instant experience.

Screenshot from 2019-03-01 19-36-56

Note: Minimum requirement, to run Instant experiences, is Android 5.0 (API level 21).

Publish and run on the internal testing environment

Publish your app on the Play console to test your instant app’s experience. Following are the steps to do so:

  1. Checkout this guide to upload your application bundle: Upload your app bundle to the Play Console guide.
  2. How to prepare & roll out releases will help you to release your uploaded bundle to the internal test track.
  3. You need to sign in using a tester account on the testing device to launch your instant experience from one of the following surfaces:
    1. Play Store app listing will have the Try Now button.
    2. App’s Website will have a banner with link.

Note: The maximum file size limit of 10 MB is not applicable when you are using Google Play’s internal test track as the size limit doesn’t apply on it.

Screenshot from 2019-03-01 19-38-13

Step 5: Publish your app bundle to the production track

Following are the steps to publish your instant-enabled app bundle:

  1. If you haven’t already, sign your app bundle with a release key and upload the app bundle to the Play Console.
  2. In the Play Console, open Release management > Android Instant Apps, then navigate to the instant app production track.
  3. Select Update from Library, then select the instant-enabled app bundle that you’ve uploaded.

Screenshot from 2019-03-01 19-38-31

How Let’s Nurture can help?

We are an ISO 9001:2015 certified custom mobile app development company that is recognised by Clutch as the top IT company in Australia and Canada for providing best Android App development services. Being pioneers in Android App development and now with Kotlin development, hire dedicated Android developers who are proficient in cutting-edge technologies like Android Studio, programming languages such as Java and Kotlin, Maps SDKs, ARCore, Socket.io, AES encryption to create secure, robust and feature-packed Android apps.

We also specialize in developing Android instant apps for businesses to gain momentum and exposure as it lets users to try the app before downloading. We help businesses to gain the benefits of instant apps by converting their pre-existing Android apps to instant apps too.

If you want to know more about what can be done for your business by going for Android Instant app development, why not get in touch with our App Gurus for a free consultation.

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Jinal Dabhi

Over 9+ years of experience in developing and managing Web and Mobile Projects. Expert to plan, execute, and finalize the projects within strict deadlines and budget. Also able to manage resources and coordinate with team members as well as third-party clients or consultants in order to deliver projects according to plan.

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