Delivering mobile app updates and new features to users requires a careful and well-thought-out approach. One popular method among Android app developers is the "staged rollout" approach for release management. This article explores what staged rollouts are, why they are essential, and how they benefit both you and your users.
Staged rollouts are a release strategy that allows you to gradually deploy your app update to a subset of users before making it available to everyone. Instead of pushing the update to all users at once, you can select the percentage of users who receive the update in stages. For instance, the update might first be available to 5% of users, and gradually increase the rollout to 10%, 20%, and so on until it reaches 100%.
By releasing the update to a small portion of the user base initially, you will be able to quickly identify and address any unforeseen bugs or compatibility issues before a widespread release. Implementing a staged rollout will also provide you with valuable real user feedback in order to fine-tune the app based on user responses and behavior. In addition, staged rollout mitigates the risk of preventable large-scale app failures. If critical issues are identified, you can halt a rollout before it impacts a significant number of users. Lastly, you can closely monitor diagnostics for app performance, server load, and network usage during each stage to ensure optimal updates.
a) Go your staged rollout version in the Developer Console (see View details of your staged rollout).
b) Click Staged rollout button and then select Increase staged rollout %.
c) In the Staged rollout dialog box, select the percentage of users who should receive the update. No testing or approval is required from Appstore to increase the staged rollout percentage.
Even with meticulous planning and testing, unexpected issues may arise during the rollout process. In such cases, knowing how to halt a staged rollout promptly can prevent potential negative impacts on user experience and protect your app's reputation.
Steps to halt a staged rollout:
If you want to make changes to any of the tabs (including replacing the AAB/APK file), you must halt the staged rollout by selecting Halt staged rollout from the staged rollout menu and then select Edit staged rollout:
To "rollback" the version used in your staged rollout, you halt and edit your staged rollout; then you replace your APK with your original APK (but with a higher versionCode) and submit the new version to all your users.
Steps to rollback a staged rollout:
A staged rollout ensures a consistent release of updates for your customers. This approach helps gather valuable feedback, identify and fix bugs, and reduce risks associated with large-scale deployments. Keep in mind that a successful staged rollout is just the beginning. It is essential to continuously listen to your users, collect feedback, and iterate your app further.