July 26, 2022
  • Announcements
  • Appflow

Ionic Cloud CLI Enhancement: Live Update Channel Deletion

Matt Netkow

Today, we’re rolling out a new feature to the Ionic Cloud CLI: Live Update channel deletion. Keep your live channel list maintainable as you roll out new features quickly over time.

The Cloud CLI provides the ability to use all of Ionic’s cloud products inside your own CI/CD platform (such as Azure DevOps, GitLab, Jenkins, and more). You can control exactly when builds are produced and deployed and insert your own processes in between these steps (such as code signing, QA testing, manager approvals, etc.).

Manageable Channel Lists with Live Update Channel Deletion

The new Cloud CLI enhancement is the ability to delete a Live Update channel. Live Updates are one of Appflow’s most compelling features, since they allow you to ship web code updates directly to users and bypass the app store review process. A channel points to a specific Live Update app build. Any device(s) configured to listen to that channel will receive updates automatically. You can roll back changes as well as alter the build a channel points to at any time.

On the surface, a new deletion command doesn’t sound that exciting. In practice, what benefits does this offer up? Here’s how one customer is planning to use it.

As part of their CI/CD process powered by Azure DevOps, when a new pull request (PR) is opened, a live update channel is created. When the changes are ready to be tested, the QA team opens the mobile app on their device, selects the live update channel representing the changes to review and tests them. After signing off on the changes, the PR is merged.

This process allows the entire dev team to build, test, and deploy new updates quickly. However, since the team leverages multiple environments (Dev, QA, Prod, etc.) and a new channel is created for each PR, the live update channel list grows incredibly quickly. As you can imagine, this is a bit unwieldy in the Appflow web application as well as in the QA version of the mobile app.

Going forward, they’ll use the live update channel deletion command to clean up the channel list over time by deleting channels after a PR is merged. Here’s the complete workflow:

  • A developer opens a PR on a feature branch.
  • The Ionic Cloud CLI creates a new web build and live update channel, then assigns the live update channel to the web build.
  • The QA team is notified that a new feature is ready to be tested.
  • The QA team reviews and signs off on the feature.
  • The PR is merged and the Ionic Cloud CLI deletes the live update channel.

To delete a live update channel, run this command, where “name” is the channel to delete:

ionic-cloud live-update delete-channel --app-id=b3456cd --name=Development

Connect Appflow to your CI/CD Platform Today

To use the latest version of the Ionic Cloud CLI that supports live update channel deletion, simply ensure you’re installing it as the first step in your CI/CD pipeline:

curl -fsSL https://ionic.io/blog/get-ionic-cloud-cli | bash

If you’d like to lock the version of Ionic Cloud CLI in place for your pipeline, use the following command to install the Ionic Cloud CLI instead, replacing X.X.X with your desired version number. This new version is 0.6.1.

export IONIC_CLOUD_VERSION=X.X.X; curl -fsSL https://ionic.io/blog/get-ionic-cloud-cli | bash

Since we introduced the Ionic Cloud CLI, we’ve loved hearing from customers about all the ways they are using it in their CI/CD systems. Are there any additional commands or use cases you’d like to see the Appflow team address in the future? Let us know in the comments below.

Curious to integrate Appflow into your CI/CD processes? Reach out to get access.

Matt Netkow