Category Archives: Mobile App Development

Are you ready for Apple Pay?

By on October 20, 2014 | iOS, Mobile App Development | No Comments

Apple Pay has been getting a lot of press recently and, generally speaking, there is a lot of confusion about what it means to consumers and, just as importantly, to app owners. Most articles and news segments describe Apple Pay as the latest way to pay at the check-out counter. Simply wave your phone in front of new Apple Pay readers and instantly – transaction complete. While this new feature of the phones is cool it is only part of a bigger story…. essentially, how Apple is positioning to revolutionize online commerce through mobile apps.

Entering credit card information for purchases has always been and still is a huge barrier for consumers using mobile phones to shop. Buying airline tickets requires entering your name, address, card number, expiration date, cvv, and more – all on a tiny screen. If users needed to do that every time they wanted to buy a new level in candy crush, or coins in farmville – they wouldn’t do it and companies like Zynga wouldn’t be worth billions of dollars. Apple knew that and years ago invented in-app purchasing for digital goods. Enter one password (or now just swipe your thumb) and complete your purchase in an app in one simple, painless step.

Similar to the way in-app purchases revolutionized the way we buy and sell digital goods on mobile phones, today Apple is about to change the way we buy and sell other types of goods using our phones. Study after study has proven the simpler it is to complete an order, the more money consumers will spend online and in mobile apps. Now, the promise is that out online check-outs will be simple and will happen with a single touch. No longer will you need to manually fill out lengthy forms or repeatedly type in shipping/billing information. Further, your actual card number will kept private and not shared with the online merchants.

applepay

See a new pair of shoes in the Nordstrom app – swipe your thumb and complete your purchase. Want to buy those tickets for an upcoming concert in the StubHub app, add them to your cart and swipe your thumb. Want to subscribe to a magazine subscription, swipe your thumb.

At Red Foundry we’re truly excited about the possibilities, and if you accept credit cards for anything in your business, adding Apple Pay and Touch ID to your app should be your number 1 priority to get ready for this major shift in commerce and take advantage of the increased sales due to ease of checkout.

If this sounds more like revolution than evolution, you might ask yourself…. Is your app ready?

eBooks: Disruptive Publishing

By on May 1, 2014 | Android, iOS, Mobile App Development | No Comments

Mills & Boon, the undisputed UK market leader in romance fiction publishing (think Harlequin romance novels), has decided to become disruptive by developing its own app that allows their fans to read eBooks on the go.

Digital supermarkets run by companies like Apple, Amazon and Kobo currently dominate the eBook market, taking a big slice of the profits-pie each time a book is downloaded.

In an effort to streamline the publisher-to-reader process, Mills & Boon has created their own app reader that users can easily download to their iOS or Android mobile device. The company is hoping that, since more people are reading eBooks on their smartphones and tablets, their big gamble will pay off.

The app lets users read eBooks from their own eBookshelf on the Mills & Boon website, as well as ePub and PDF books from retailers and libraries around the world. Electronic publishing has allowed Mills & Boon to double its output. It now releases more than 100 eBooks per month, more than in print, and sells more e-books than physical books. According to Tim Cooper, digital and marketing director for the publisher, “digital lends itself to the habitual nature of our content. Our readers finish reading one and they can download the next.” Author Sharon Kendrick’s opinion is similar: “[Mills & Boon] are an intense reading experience, and they can be read quickly. People read four to five in a few days so that’s a lot of books to carry around.”

But will they be successful and will other publishers follow suit? Tune in tomorrow…

 

Fodor’s City Guides App Honored As Best Travel App

By on October 22, 2013 | iOS, Mobile App Development, UI/UX Design | No Comments

Red Foundry is proud to announce that the Fodor’s City Guides app is a winner in the 2013 Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Competition, taking the gold in the ­­­­Travel App category.

The annual competition, honoring outstanding print, online, and multimedia work, travel photography, and audio and video broadcasts, is sponsored by the Society of American Travel Writers Foundation. Winners of the awards, the most prestigious in the field of travel journalism, were announced across 25 categories Oct. 21 at the SATW convention in Biloxi, Mississippi.

Fodors Splash

The 29th Lowell Thomas competition drew 1,257 entries, which were judged by members of the faculty at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

In honoring Fodor’s work, the judges said: “This app is the perfect companion for every aspect of a trip. It helps users plan the logistics by suggesting interesting places to stay and visit and allowing them to book it right in the app [and] contributes location-specific information that enhances the in-person experience. The app is everything you would expect from a Fodor’s guidebook in a great interactive experience.”

The Foundation distributes nearly $20,000 in prize money to individual winners. Generous donations by this year’s Underwriters, the Tourist Office for Flanders-Brussels and Travel Guard, help make the prizes possible.

The Fodor’s City Guides app can be downloaded here…  cheers!

Solution Accelerators… More Elements!

By on July 20, 2013 | iOS, Mobile App Development | No Comments

As the mobile technology landscape continuously evolves…  so must our client’s apps.  We make that possible by incorporating the best Red Foundry community submissions into our Solution Accelerators and standard libraries in Studio. Here’s an overview of some of the best of the best that we’ve added recently.

• Tumblr Post – Get your blog on.
• Flickr Image Upload – Upload images to everyone’s favorite vowel-dropping photo service.
• Google Place Search – Search Google’s well-maintained and crowdsourced database of locations!
• Data Dictionary – Need to save an array of information? Tired of writing the same JavaScript over and over again? Use the Data Dictionary Element!
• LinkedIn Sharing – Post links to the world’s most professional social network!
• Google Analytics – Red Foundry’s analytics are great, but if you’re already deep in the land of Google, you can easily use their analytics with this new featured Element!
• App Rating Request Prompt – Get more ratings from your most engaged users!
• Facebook Friends Selector – Picking teams? Want to see who makes the virtual cut? Retrieve a logged-in Facebook user’s friend list, and let them select!
• Slider – Use the slider widget to allow the user to pick between a range of values!
• Font Size Selector – Make your UI easily customizable for those of us who need to have larger text!
• Date and Time Picker – Pick a date, any date!
• UrbanAirship – Now the world’s most-customizable Push Notification service comes to Red Foundry! Use the UrbanAirship Element to register your users for highly-specific Push targets. Check out their service at www.urbanairship.com.

Keep your eyes peeled for new Elements!

New Partners

By on July 15, 2013 | Mobile App Development | No Comments

Red Foundry gets to see a lot of great tools and services for mobile app developers.  Here are a few of our new partners that are definitely worth checking out. Be sure to tell them you’re using Red Foundry!

• Keynotopia  – Use Keynote and PowerPoint to create great app Prototypes before you start coding. Click here to visit Keynotopia.
• MobileDevHQ – A great service to help optimize App Store keywords and placement. Click here to visit MobileDevHQ.

As always, thanks for using Red Foundry!  We’re here to build killer mobile solutions for our clients, so let us know if we can help in anyway. Contact us if you have questions, need support, or have a great mobile project that you need assistance with!

Recent App Launches

By on July 15, 2013 | Android, iOS, Mobile App Development | No Comments

At Red Foundry, we see hundreds of apps using our platform technology get published every month. Here are a couple that we’re really excited about!

Panasonic Healthcare Division

A full digital sales tool, including product data, comparisons, and custom quoting for the iPad. Increasing productivity and sales, using Red Foundry.

Wine Enthusiast Magazine

The long awaited update to Wine Enthusiast magazine, with an all-new beautiful design, is coming soon! And it’s not just for wines anymore – you can read the latest reviews for spirits and beers as well. Also, you can win badges and discounts on wine and accessories just by recording your thoughts on what you’ve tasted lately. Drinking, gamified? Nuff said.

iOS 7 Support is here!

By on July 15, 2013 | iOS, Mobile App Development | No Comments

Like everyone, we’re excited about Apple’s upcoming iOS 7. We’ve been working with the Beta here in our shadowy lair since Day One. The prognosis is great – all of your Red Foundry apps that currently run on iOS 6 will run just as well on iOS 7, with no updates and no re-compile required!

Additionally, we’ve added a couple new features to the platform that will allow you to better bring your UI into sync with the clean, sparse look-and-feel that Apple has established with iOS 7. We’ll talk more about that in the next section.

Solution Accelerators – iOS Updates

By on July 14, 2013 | iOS, Mobile App Development | No Comments

Earlier this month we launched v2.4.0 of our Fusion Mobile for iOS – the culmination of months of hard work, thousands of caffeinated beverages consumed, and the aggregate of tons of really great fixes and features for you to make your apps even better. And since then, we’ve pushed ahead in Beta even further to v2.4.16, which has even more great stuff!

• Ads – We’ve added official support for Google’s Admob. Just use the <GoogleAd> widget!
• Native Social – We’re now supporting the iOS-native sharing sheets for both Twitter and Facebook. No more need to manually authenticate and handle the posting yourself. Just use the <Social> widget!
• Save Snapshot – The new save-snapshot function of the <Layout> widget allows to you render whatever contents you have in a container as a static image file, which you can then manipulate like any other image!
• Aviary – Speaking of manipulating images, we’ve implemented native support for the Aviary SDK (www.aviary.com). This allows you to apply filters to images, opening up all sorts of hip possibilities for photo manipulation and making the proverbial rose-tinted glasses available for any photo your user takes. It’s built right into the <MediaPicker> widget! Add filters, stickers, text-overlays, borders – we could go on forever. Insta-who?
• Image Blur – In addition to saving snapshots of your layout containers, you can now apply a Gaussian blur to any <Image> widget. For anyone who has seen the demos of iOS 7 – you know this effect is in-play everywhere. Now you have the ability to use depth-of-field for your own clever purposes in your own apps!
• Connection Type – Do the data-availability blues got you down? We’ve added the [app:connection-type] shortcode to the platform, so that you can discern between when your users are on Wi-Fi, a mobile network, or no network at all!
• Multi-line Text Input – The new <MultiLineTextInput> gives you line-break abilities far beyond those of mortal men.
• Asynchronous Loading – Power-tune your app’s performance when loading large images or <Element> widgets! The load-asynchronously property allows you to defer loading of these items to a separate process, so your UI gets on-screen as soon as possible and your users stop holding their breath.
• Email Attachments – Need to send out some photos from within your app? The <Email> sheet now supports attachments! Send, send, send!
• Multi-finger Swipe Gestures – Capture two-, three-, or four-fingered swipes!

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:

FTE

Cost Per

Sub-Total

Mobile Developer

1.5

$110,000

$165,000

QA Engineer

0.5

$75,000

$37,500

Support

1

$55,000

$55,000

Community Manager

0.5

$75,000

$37,500

Annualized Labor

$295,000

  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.

Top 5 Reasons you should have a mobile SDK

By on January 16, 2013 | Android, iOS, Mobile App Development, Mobile SDK | No Comments

The ability to distribute a service across mobile devices and applications is driving the explosion in mobile commerce and application design.

The API Services and Directory site ProgrammableWeb.com lists 7,000 Application Program Interfaces (API)s and adds more than 300 the list every month.  They’ve made the case that every company can and will have an API. The development of robust APIs has been instrumental to the explosive growth of companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter. The key motivation for investing in this technology is that it helps developers work with other companies to create tools that help improve engagement and conversions.

So if your service has an API, do you also need a mobile SDK? In short, the answer is “yes,” especially if mobile is strategic in your company’s growth. At Red Foundry we partner with a wide variety of service providers and they site the following top five reasons for creating a mobile SDK:

  1. Close more sales.  The biggest reason to create a mobile SDK is to help sales and business development staffs close key deals faster. The SDK do this by helping move the process of integrating services along more quickly.
  2. Speed up deployment. Time is a critical cost factor because the integration services are performed by mobile engineers with a highly valued skill sets. Having an SDK can help them simplify their projects and enable integration of APIs that require complex use cases that are complemented by standard on-client processing for mobile devices. A SDK greatly simplifies this integration effort.
  3. Increase security. Security may be a critical issue. In the case of large ad networks, SDKs are often required in order to reduce programmatic fraud. SDKs can be used to encrypt portions of the user interface (UI) to secure data quality. Mobile payments processing requires PCI compliance and some platforms may have specific requirements for storing passwords, etc. A SDK can help provide that needed security.
  4. Reduce bad code & ensure best practices Developers are rarely perfect. Even the best can make mistakes. Errors in how data is passed to back end services can cause critical issues and delays that impact the entire business. Inefficient code by a single developer can take down services for across the enterprise. The SDK can go a long way to reducing bad or inefficient code and its impact on critical systems. The right SDK can further insure the right business rules and practices are in place across their entire publisher network.
  5. Control over your brand. Control over your brand with the UI of the publisher’s app may be critical to your business.  Developers aren’t designers; an SDK will allow you to lock down critical portions of the interface while retaining analytics needed to see how the users interact with your service within the publisher’s application.

So SDKs help publishers and the developers that work for them integrate with the service providers APIs more quickly. That saves time, saves money, and helps close more deals. They make life simpler for the developer, insure best practices, and keep critical systems secure. So why doesn’t every service provider with an API also offer a SDK?

Bitnami