Cisimple is a new development platform, launching today, which automates the build, testing and deployment process for mobile applications. The company is offering hosted Continuous Integration for both the iOS and Android platforms to start, with other platforms planned for the future.
The AngelPad-backed startup was founded earlier this summer by Kevin Rohling, who has a background in engineering and most recently worked at Card.io, the credit-card scanning technology acquired by PayPal. But the idea for cisimple came to him back when he was CTO at Breezy, an app which allows users to print from their mobile devices. “While I was working as CTO, I went looking for a solution that would help our team manage the builds for our mobile application,” says Rohling, “and when I couldn’t find one, that’s when I decided to build cisimple.”
He said that at Breezy, they had to manage multiple builds – some for large enterprise customers, others for the App Store, builds for test runs, and more. “Having to do all this manually for multiple mobile platforms was taking the team a lot of time,” Rohling explains. There’s a process called Continuous Delivery, or continuous integration, which a lot of engineers implement themselves – it’s automation tool that does all this for you, but it takes a lot of time to set up, he says. This is what Breezy had to go and set up, eventually. But doing so generally takes two to three weeks of engineering time to get going, Rohling says. “And even then, it’s not like it’s an ongoing platform that’s being developed. There’s not going to be value that’s continuing to be added to this tool you put together,” he adds.
That’s where cisimple comes in. The platform, built on Mac infrastructure, offers a way for developers to automate builds, testing and deployment of their mobile applications. It saves time, which means developers can then run tests more frequently. Whereas before testing might be done two to three times per week, using something like cisimple can see tests run two to three daily instead.
The service is directly integrated with GitHub, so upon a developer’s initial login, cisimple scans their GitHub repository for mobile applications. A simple (get it?) set up process then walks developers through configuring how they want their app built and deployed, if desired. “What this means, is that every time you write code, cisimple can automatically build your app, automatically run your tests, and if you’re using something like TestFlight, we can automatically deploy the application out to your users,” Rohling explains.
Cisimple also currently integrates with testing platform TestDroid, as well, and plans to integrate with other services in the near future, including those for testing, crash reporting, internationalization, beta and App Store distribution, and more. The long-term goal is to make cisimple something like a dashboard for picking and choosing which of these services developers want to work with. Rohling says he wants the service to be as streamlined as possible. “Think Heroku – the ability to go in and pick add-ons, that’s exactly what we have planned.”
There are companies that do similar things for the web, including Atlassian Bamboo, CloudBees (for Java), Travis CI, CircleCI (CI for web), but none are focused specifically on mobile. While some can be made to work with mobile, developers have to get their own servers, because the platforms are not built on Mac infrastructure. Another, HostedCi, which is meant for mobile, is still in private beta.
Cisimple is launching, but it won’t be available broadly either – only 200 users will be allowed in today, after first signing up on the company homepage. Pricing is not yet set, so the service is free for all now, and will remain free for open source developers in the future. Based in San Francisco, the company is now wrapping up participation in AngelPad. Cisimple is currently a small team of two full-time employees. Rohling and CTO David Justice, both who knew each other from earlier days working at Alinean in Orlando, Florida.