Monthly Archives: February 2013

The Top 5 Challenges Supporting the Conventional Mobile SDK (and What We Are Doing About It)

By on February 11, 2013 | iOS, Mobile App Development, Mobile SDK | No Comments

Since we started focusing on providing Mobile SDK Management Services as a core offering, we have learned some lessons on just how difficult creating a world-class SDK can be.  Here are our top 5 Challenges for Supporting the conventional Mobile SDK:

  1. Building the SDK is hard and expensive work. It typically starts with an assessment of security requirements and the creation of the User Interface Design. Coding requires expensive development resources that you will probably need to be pulled from critical projects. Within the mobile ecosystem, these developers need to keep constantly abreast of changes in OS platforms. How many developers are required to build and effectively test the SDK? How about code maintenance? What happens when bugs are uncovered or the API is changed to reflect core system updates? How quickly can you deploy features to capitalize on new business opportunities?
  1. The cost of support. It takes a developer skill set to support developers and test the SDKs. A small enterprise needs a team to build, maintain, and provide the needed phone, email and chat support their publisher network demands.

             Even a small SDK Management team can be expensive:


Cost Per


Mobile Developer




QA Engineer








Community Manager




Annualized Labor


  1. Creating a knowledge base. A good SDK needs online support. A portal site with an FAQ section, video tutorials, and documentation should be in place to guide the developer through use of the SDK. Just as with your API, you need to address onboarding new publishers and integration with Affiliate management systems.
  1. Performance Management. You will need good analytics and reporting to insure the SDK in performing well.  If your SDK creates a UI, you will need to use those tools to continually optimize the interface to create the best conversions.
  1. Perhaps the biggest challenge in supporting the SDK is the update distribution lifecycle. Even well managed companies with highly motivated publishers – companies like Google – find the half-life on SDK updates can be six months. First they need to inform the publisher of the update, then work their way into the publisher’s product development cycle. Developers build, test and submit the updated product to the app store.  Store approval alone can take several weeks. Lastly, the users need to update their individual devices.

It’s no small wonder that a typical service provider of scale will typically need to support several SDK versions simultaneously. The need to update the SDK because of bugs, critical business changes and external OS changes often happen before the last version has even been fully distributed. At the very least the service provider can expect to support two SDK versions at once. That may create challenges for the API, critical back end systems, and those that support them.

Because the core of the Red Foundry platform is basically a rendering engine we are in a unique position to create fully native components that allow for routine UI modifications without the need to recompile the binary. While this goes a long way to address the challenge of the SDK distribution lifecycle, we saw the benefit in addressing all the challenges that go along with syndicating your technology or content.

Our SDK Management Service  leverages Red Foundry’s expertise managing a large mobile developer community and provides an end to end solution, from SDK requirements gathering and multi-platform development all the way through supporting publishers using your SDK through a developer portal complete with  tutorials,  guides, knowledge bases, and monitored forums. Most importantly, we can work with our service partners to insure the SDK performs and remains updated as their business grows.