What is a Mobile SDK?
One of the most important tools to have when you’re developing an app is a mobile SDK (short for Software Development Kit).
Have you ever heard of this tool before? Are you confused about what an SDK is or how it can benefit you?
If you’re new to the world of SDKs, keep reading. Explained below is everything you need to know about an SDK, including some reasons why you might need one.
If you’re in the process of learning how to build an app, you may have come across the term “SDK” a time or two. What is a software development kit, though? What does it do?
There are lots of different types of SDKs, including SDK for mobile apps and web development projects. There are also SDKs that are designed to help with other development projects, as well as platform-specific apps and services.
Put simply, SDKs feature lines of code that make development projects (of all kinds) easier. For example, if you want to develop an app with Bluetooth capabilities, there are SDKs that can help you accomplish that goal.
Some developers compare SDKs to first aid kits. Instead of hooking you up with bandages and antibiotic spray, though, they provide you with specific resources that can help you create various software products.
Some of the tools an SDK might provide include the following:
- APIs (short for Application Programming Interface)
- A code library
- Debugging features
- Documentation (information explaining how the code works)
What’s the Difference Between an SDK and an API?
At first, an SDK and an API might seem like the same thing. They share some similarities, but they are still unique tools.
An API is an interface between two different software programs. It’s code that allows two separate apps to communicate with one another.
An SDK, on the other hand, does a lot more (after all, an API is just one part of an SDK).
Think of an API as a mail carrier that delivers one app’s request to another software, then brings the response back to your app. Think of an SDK as a post office that facilitates communication and provides you with a series of tools that you need to create an entirely new app.
Why Do You Need a Mobile SDK?
There are lots of reasons to use a mobile SDK. The following are some of the most well-known benefits they have to offer:
One of the primary reasons why developers love and use mobile SDKs is the fact that they can speed up the integration process.
The right SDK helps you to integrate an app with an existing tech stack sooner and more easily. This also helps developers gain information faster and eliminates a lot of frustrating and time-consuming guesswork.
SDKs speed up the overall development process, too. Most developers don’t have the time (nor do they have the desire) to code every single app feature and tool from scratch.
With the right SDKs, they can enjoy some shortcuts (without cutting corners and limiting app functionality, of course) and get the job done faster.
When the development process is faster, so is the deployment process.
The sooner your app is completed, the sooner you can launch it on the app store, start measuring its progress, and start making money from it. You’ll also be able to move on to your next project faster.
The combination of a well-designed app and the right SDK allows for more interoperability between apps. In other words, more tools will want to integrate with your app.
Increased interoperability helps to increase your brand exposure and gets your app in front of more people. This, in turn, makes it easier for you to build your audience (which means, over time, you’ll also earn more money from your app).
An SDK allows you to expand your app offerings and do more for your audience (without having to dedicate a ton of extra time and labor to the app development process).
The more functional your app is, and the better it integrates with other apps, the more likely people are to want to download it and continue using it.
If you want to provide your target customers with a great experience, you definitely ought to consider using an SDK. It can help you offer them more without having to do a ton of coding from scratch (which adds to the development time and delays your app launch).
Mobile SDKs help to mitigate risk. They provide you with more control over various elements of your user interface, as well as how they show up in other apps.
This added control ensures that your app looks good. It also helps you keep the most critical aspects of your app safe and helps you to avoid compatibility issues that could ruin the user experience later on.
All of these benefits lead to the greatest benefit of all: increased sales and more money in your pocket.
If you want to create the most profitable app possible, it’s in your best interest to consider using a mobile SDK. Not only does it streamline the development process, but it also helps you to get a better-finished product. What more could you ask for?
Popular Mobile SDKs
There are tons of different mobile SDKs on the market these days, each with their own tools and unique features. The following are some of the most popular ones you might want to consider using, depending on your specific app development goals:
- Google AdMob: Google AdMob provides you with targeted, in-app advertising tools to help you monetize mobile apps
- Google DoubleClick: Google DoubleClick is a product suite that helps you manage ad-serving, ad delivery, and behavioral ad targeting
- Facebook: Facebook’s SDK makes it easier for you to develop engaging social apps and gain more app installations
- Google Cloud: Google’s Cloud Platform lets you run your app with the same tools that Google uses
- Google Mobile Ads: The Google Mobile Ads SDK gives developers insights into their users so they can drive more in-app purchases and maximize their ad revenue
How to Choose the Right Mobile SDK
Clearly, there are lots of mobile SDKs to choose from. How do you know which one is the right fit for you?
Here are some questions you can ask yourself to narrow down your options and make the best decision:
Is It Easy to Use?
This is perhaps the most important question to ask yourself.
If an SDK is too hard to use, it’s also going to be hard for you to enjoy the benefits listed above. This is especially the benefits related to faster app development and deployment.
Do some research into different SDKs and read reviews to find out which ones are the easiest for those who are new to the app development world to use.
Does It Provide Thorough Documentation?
If an SDK comes with thorough documentation, it’ll be a lot easier for you to figure out how to use it. Be wary of SDKs that come with very little documentation or are difficult to understand.
Most reviews will provide feedback on the SDK’s documentation and let you know whether or not it’s helpful.
Will It Negatively Affect Device or App Performance?
Some SDKs have a negative effect on a device or app’s performance. They might slow things down, for example, or drain the battery life.
Try to avoid these negative consequences at all costs. They will ruin the user experience for your customers, and they can also prevent you from seeing the kinds of returns that you would have seen otherwise.
Does It Add Value to Other Apps?
Remember, one of the benefits of SDKs is increased interoperability. This is only a benefit, though, if people want to use and integrate with your app.
It’s always important to consider whether or not a particular SDK adds value to other apps. If it doesn’t, it’s unlikely that other developers will want to have it integrate with their apps and tools.
Keep in mind, too, that if others don’t want to integrate with your app, you’re going to have a harder time expanding your reach and building your audience.
Will It Work with Other SDKs?
The best SDK will play nicely with other SDKs. If it doesn’t, it could cause serious problems, such as app crashes, that nobody wants to deal with.
Need More App Development Assistance?
As you can see, a mobile SDK plays an important role in helping you with your app development project. Keep the tips listed above in mind and you’ll have no trouble choosing the software development kit.
Do you need more assistance planning, developing, or launching an app or website? If so, Digital Engage is here to help.
We can’t wait to work with you. Contact us today to learn more about our services or to get a quote.