When I lead mobile business intelligence projects, part of my job is to rebrand and compile the MicroStrategy Mobile iOS SDK into an .ipa file. In layman’s terms, rebranding MicroStrategy Mobile consists of exchanging MicroStrategy’s mobile app’s name, icon, launch image, and login page with your organization’s using the mobile iOS SDK.
There are other customization options available with mobile iOS SDK, but I will not be covering them in this article. What I will be covering in this article is the basic rebranding of the mobile iOS SDK, its hardware and software requirements, high-level steps on how to sign/compile the app using Xcode to generate the .ipa app file, and the distribution of the app over the air or through an Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) platform like VMware Workspace ONE or Ivanti's Mobile Iron.
The two images below show a Mobile BI app (AESalazar) that was rebranded and compiled using the MicroStrategy Mobile for iPad iOS SDK.
MicroStrategy Mobile for iPad custom application icon:
MicroStrategy Mobile for iPad custom login screen:
Over the years, I’ve developed a high-level comprehensive list of requirements to help MicroStrategy Professionals, Project Managers, and anyone involved in a Mobile BI project understand what is required to successfully rebrand and compile the MicroStrategy Mobile for iOS SDK.
MacBook Pro (~$3,000 USD) - Recommended MacBook Pro with the hardware specifications for a Developer: M2 Max Processor, 32GB of RAM, and 1TB SSD.
iPad or iPhone (~$1,500 USD each) - A physical device is strongly recommended to test the app's functionality and its distribution over the air or through an EMM. Using the device simulator in Xcode is not recommended to fully test the mobile app.
Apple Enterprise Developer License (~$299 USD per year) - Apple's Enterprise Developer portal, which is used to create and download the assets required to compile and sign the .ipa app file - consists of the App ID, Provisioning Profile, Distribution Certificate, and Private Key.
Xcode (Free) - Mac OS software development suite used to rebrand and compile the MicroStrategy Mobile for iOS SDK.
MicroStrategy Mobile SDK.dmg - MicroStrategy Mobile SDK for iOS, which is downloaded from the MicroStrategy Download Site.
MicroStrategy Mobile server performance and licenses - As trivial as this may be, run performance tests on the mobile server to ensure it can handle the number of users connecting to it. Also, double-check that there are enough mobile licenses available for the implementation.
MicroStrategy Mobile Configuration and its XML file - A mobile configuration is a list of connection settings and preferences for an iPhone or iPad which are stored in an XML file on the Mobile Server. Location of the XML file: C:\Program Files (x86)\MicroStrategy\Mobile Server ASPx\WEB-INF\xml\mobile.
Mobile app icon, login page, and launch image - Your organization's mobile app icon, login page background, and launch image that will replace MicroStrategy's.
App ID/Bundle ID Unique identifier created in Apple's Enterprise Developer portal, not be confused with the application name. The Bundle ID format: com.yourcompanydomainname.appname
Distribution Certificate > Production Certificate - Created in Apple's Enterprise Developer portal. A private key is required to create the certificate when it is first created.
Private Key (.p12 file) - Request the .p12 file from the developer who originally created the Production Distribution Certificate only if the Production Distribution Certificate in your Mac's Keychain is not associated with a private key.
Provisioning Profile > Distribution - iOS Distribution Provisioning Profile created in Apple's Enterprise Developer portal, which is associated with a Production Distribution Certificate and an App ID.
Tasks to be completed in Xcode:
1. Update the Bundle Identifier.
2. Update the Version.
3. Update the Preferences XML file to point to your environment.
4. Update the App Icons.
5. Update the Launch Images.
6. Update the 4 Login Page Background Images (starburst-landscape.png, email@example.com, starburst-portrait.png, firstname.lastname@example.org). Location of images: MicroStrategyMobile > Resource > FinalBundle.bundle > Contents > Resources.
7. Update the Bundle Display Name (this is the app name in iOS).
8. Update the URL Schemes.
9. Verify that the Code Signing Identity and Provision Profile match.
10. Export the app for Enterprise Deployment and save the .ipa file.
Other tasks and tips:
1. Share the .ipa app file with your EMM/Systems Administrator.
2. Test app install, performance, and functionality.
3. If the app security is driven by a persona/user role (Executive, VP, Director, Manager, Associate...), create test user IDs for each role and test security and functionality.
4. Make sure the SDK version the app is compiled with is compatible with your existing version of MicroStrategy.
5. Check with MicroStrategy Support if the Xcode version that will be used to compile the app is supported by the SDK version.
6. Load test the infrastructure with the number of users it is intended to support.
7. Train your users how to use the annotate and share feature to report any bugs or issues with the mobile app.
8. Disable the ability via your EMM for users to upgrade to the latest iOS version as the rebranded app may not work correctly in the new iOS version.
9. To ensure a successful rollout of the Mobile BI app, assign dedicated resources to monitor and quickly resolve any reported bugs or issues.
10. Configure MicroStrategy Platform Analytics to track usage and make continuous improvements to the Mobile BI app.
Helpful Links: Rebranding MicroStrategy Mobile for iOS