How to publish in-house with Twixl Publisher

Laurent Gerniers How-To

With our Twixl Publisher 4.1 release last June, we merged the features of our Twixl Enterprise Kiosk in-house publishing solution with the existing App Store publishing solution on the Twixl Distribution Platform.

Now all our customers have access to an easy in-house publishing solution that can even be enhanced with the additional features of the Twixl Distribution Platform Pro Pack.

About in-house publishing

Attractive and dynamic mobile presentations for sales reps are already a common sight. Today enterprises, schools, government departments, etc. are using in-house publishing more and more to get access to specific target groups as part of customer loyalty and engagement programs. They are publishing in-house newsletters, catalogues, product sheets, technical specs for resellers, technicians or even a select group of customers.

Enterprise publishing requires a good content management solution where every single user profile only gets access to the information that matters to him/her. It brings sales presentations and customer relations management to the next level where the customer experience and delivering on expectations is essential.

App Store or Enterprise publishing?

There are different ways to publish in-house or to closed target groups.

First, there is a major difference between iOS and Android in regards to in-house publishing:

Android apps can be distributed directly to any user or group via any (even non-secure) web server.

On iOS the normal way to proceed is by publishing on the App Store. You cannot easily publish directly to iPads or iPhones.

By making a distinction between public and in-house publishing and by providing a special Apple Developer Enterprise Program, Apple has created a more secure environment for content distribution, which is one of the reasons why iPads have more than 75% market share in the Enterprise market and why many companies only allow publishing to iPads and iPhones.

For in-house publishing on iOS, there are 3 options.

1. “Ad hoc” app

This is a rather inconvenient solution where you will need to go through a process Apple calls “provisioning” that requires all unique serial numbers of the iOS devices you want to use to be registered. The disadvantage of “Ad Hoc” publishing is that every time you want to add or replace a device you’ll need to rebuild your app. Bottom line: this solution may only be acceptable for publishing to a very small group of users.

2. iOS enterprise app

Apple does provide an easier way for broad in-house distribution via the Apple Developer Enterprise Program. Once your application for that program has been approved, you are allowed to publish in-house applications (i.e. within your own company and affiliated parties — to be clear, you are not allowed to publish this type of app to the public) without the requirement of registering and managing the serial numbers.

3. iOS App Store app with restricted access

The disadvantage of iOS enterprise applications is that you are legally only allowed to distribute them internally to the company’s employees. Therefore many companies that want to publish in-house still use App Store apps, but with restricted access. When a user downloads and opens the app, he/she is presented with a login and password screen, i.e. if you don’t have a login, you don’t get to see any content in the app. That way only authorised people can get access to the content,

This approach also lets you deploy easily on both iOS and Android. This is the best way to go, particularly if you do not know what type of device the target group is using.

Which Twixl subscription do you need?

All Twixl Publisher subscriptions allow the creation of both iOS Enterprise apps as well as App Store apps. The Twixl Distribution Platform will enable you to publish both types of multi-issue apps, and with the optional Pro Pack you can integrate Entitlements and Categories in your apps.

Users & Groups entitlement allows you to manage who gets access to which type of publications/documents.

Categories let you divide your content into different sections.

For over-the-air deployment you can either use Twixl Publisher’s built-in tools, or you can use your own MDM (Mobile Device Management) system to distribute the enterprise apps internally. If you want to distribute a Twixl-based multi-issue app (kiosk app), you’ll use the Twixl Distribution Platform to manage the content in that app.

Twixl Publisher, combined with the Twixl Distribution Platform and the Pro Pack offers everything you need to publish in-house.

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