This post is part of an ongoing series about features of App47’s mobile application management platform. Be sure to check back here on our blog over the coming weeks for more in-depth feature descriptions. For previous posts in the series, see: Customizing Your App StoreSelf-Service EnrollmentApp Store User Experience; Volume Purchase Program Integration; Build Management. And for a list of all of App47’s features, see our features page here.

In Windows, app configuration files first became known as a way to change an application’s configuration behavior without having to recompile or reinstall that app. App configuration files, however, have spread far past the desktop environment; today, they’re just as widely used by mobile app developers to modify the behavior of an app on the fly.

But for an app on thousands (or millions) of devices, how do you update or change those configuration files all at once? That’s a harder task, but it’s made easier by platforms like App47 that enable what our team likes to call app configuration management.

App configuration management allows you to update an app’s configuration files on a broad scale, allowing developers to take full advantage of the wide feature range that’s enabled by the update or change of an app’s configuration file. 

In thinking about what we call app configuration management, it makes sense to frame our features in terms of a few use case examples:

  • A/B Testing: When putting a new UI out on the market, you may wonder whether one interface is better than the other. But traditional methods of A/B testing (release A one week, wait another week to release B, and compare results) make it difficult to compare true analytical results of engagement.

    With App47’s app configuration management capabilities, however, you can set configuration parameters to be pushed out to the application which would give the same users version A one week, and version B the next. You don’t have to ship out another app, you don’t get muddled data, and you get true A/B testing—all with much more clarity than other traditional methods of mobile app A/B testing.

  • Branding changes: App configuration management also allows you to completely change branding. When a customer logs into the app, their account ID can be used to trigger a branding change—colors, fonts, tab sizes, etc.—so that you’re able to roll out multiple style sheets from parameters based on the individual customer. If you’re looking to test out different branding styles on your app, manipulating app configuration files is a great way to do so.
  • Content management: Finally, it may make sense to think of app configuration management as an offshoot of content management. App configuration management allows you to define your content and serve it up in many different forms.

    Instead of a full-fledged content management system, you can use strings, Boolean values, files, numbers, etc., and put them in the system, at which point we can load them into our system, match individual policies, and update individual apps nearly instantaneously. You can’t do everything through app configuration management that you can do with a content management system, but the capabilities are very similar, and our system allows you to make the most of what capabilities are available.

As you can see, then, configuration files are a very convenient way to change an app’s behavior without having to recompile or reinstall that app.

But in terms of managing those configuration files, making the most of this ability takes a management system like App47. App47 allows you to conveniently manage configuration files for use cases like these (and more), removing a majority of the legwork and complication from the equation for users and developers in the enterprise.

In terms of features we’ve worked into App47’s mobile application management platform, few are more useful for developers than app configuration management. 

If you have questions about what you can do with App47’s app configuration management process, or about any of App47’s features, let us know by reaching out to us via the comments or the contact page of our site.