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Don’t Crash the Party: How to Ensure Your App’s Stability?

March 30, 2016 4:13 PM

App crashes are a developer’s worst nightmare. Though it happens to everyone at one point or another (yes, including the top apps), it is still unbearable.

There’s no other way to say it: The cold harsh truth is that mobile apps’ quality and performance impact the bottom line. It’s what will make users decide to come back. Crashes, especially of the repeated kind, drive the uninstall numbers high and drive your users to run away.

Fortunately, it’s not solely up to the gods. There’s plenty you can do to minimize this phenomenon: from familiarizing yourself with the most known and common causes for mobile app crashes to making sure you’re even aware of your own crashes, you can make your app more stable with a relatively small investment.

A crittercism research has found that not only do 47% of apps crash over 1% of the time, but 32% also have a crash rate of over 2%. If that sounds excessive, it probably should.

Now let’s be honest: Everybody bugs. We know that for a fact. But statistically speaking, knowing almost half of the apps out there are so susceptible to unhandled bugs is somewhat daunting. And it also means that bugs aren’t unique to new-comers. No, they happen to old-timers, big and small, as well. So whether you’re established or brand new, a long-timer or a first-timer, you must make sure that your app does not only supply the content users crave, but also provides a frustration-free environment. Therefore, making it crash-free (or at least crash-low) should be at top of your priority list.

Crittercism Research Found that 47% of apps crash 1% of the timeImage source: Crittercism Continue Reading

Your App Never Gets Featured? Here Are Some Possible Reasons

March 3, 2016 3:03 PM

A lot has been said about getting featured in Google Play or iTunes and, indeed, it’s a well-justified reputation. Being featured is a blast. True. You get a lot of high-quality users. However, the road to paradise is paved with all kinds of actions that need to be taken and some requirements that need to be met, that many developers are unaware of.

Do you match the standards of quality? Are you being a good developer?

Do you match the standards of quality? Are you being a good developer?

Once upon a time, being featured was almost a commodity. New apps were automatically featured, and just asking the app stores internal teams to feature your app was many times all you needed to do… but those days are over.

Today, there’s a hidden UX and performance standard you just have to meet, if you want your app to be featured in Google Play or in iTunes store. The top developers know it: if you meet with the app stores representatives they will provide some hints, but most app developers aren’t aware of the bits and bytes.  Battery consumption matters, crashes, and so forth, are side effects all app developers encounter. Where are you on the quality score graph? You better be somewhere high or ‘no soup for you!’. Don’t expect Google or Apple to let major performance issues slide. They know it all, and their stores teams are instructed to consider the users interests prior to everything else.

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The Hitchhiker’s Guide to StackOverflow

February 22, 2016 3:28 PM

A little less than a year ago, it finally happened to me too. I stumbled upon a question that even Dr. Google couldn’t answer. No search result seemed to fit. So after years of standing on the sidelines, I signed up to StackOverflow. What’s StackOverflow? Well, for those of you who are new here on Earth, it’s a brilliant question and answer site for programmers.

So I asked my question. And then, armed with my very own StackOverflow profile, I figured the next step should be to give a little back. After all, the community has always been there for me. Why not do the same for them?

So I did. And man, ho man, the things I’ve learned once I crossed the threshold.  Two things in particular surprised me the most: The first was the engagement. Every answer I gave was almost immediately followed by additional people commenting and relating to my answer; the second was the fact that so many people worldwide got completely chastised, immediately after posting their first question ever. Their questions were muted or deleted, and their entire first step in the big vast stack exchange universe left them with a bad aftertaste.

In fact, ‘newbies’ common mistakes inspired me to write down my thoughts, talk about these little pitfalls that have surely frustrated anyone who’s been hanging around the StackOverflow watercooler long enough.

So allow me to share with you some of the things I’ve seen, once past the velvet ropes.

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Enough with the Mobile SDK Mess: A New Technology Is Born

February 9, 2016 4:05 PM

SafeDK is presenting at MWC – Set a demo meeting!

In a previous blog post I’ve written (Mobile SDKs: Use with Caution), I mentioned the potential risks related with integrating Mobile SDKs into your mobile app. ‘SDKs’ as in these off-the-shelf 3rd party tools that app developers integrate into their mobile app for advertising, payment, analytics, social and many other functions. We all know that SDKs are a necessity in the mobile development process, but not all app publishers are aware of how these SDKs can affect the app’s performance, stability, battery consumption, security and privacy.

After going through an extensive analysis of a tens of thousands of apps and hundreds of different SDKs, we realized that there are 2 major domains of problems when using 3rd party SDKs. Both are crucial:

  • Security and Privacy – SDKs may contain viruses, malwares, backdoors or, most commonly, piggy-bag your app permissions to access your users’ private data.
  • User Experience – SDKs may contain bugs, consume a great deal of battery power and data, crash your app, slow down your app, and so forth.

During the last few months, we all read about major SDKs-related issues: apps that were banned from the stores because of a specific SDK that violated Apple or Google regulations, an ad-network SDK which  displayed ads that were  incompatible with the app’s ‘spirit’ (e-cigarette commercial in a kids app, someone?), marshmellow incompatibility of SDKs in an app that was supposed to be compatible… and the list goes on and on.

Basically, app developers must all ask themselves the following, ASAP:

Do I really know what’s going on with my app's SDKs? Can I really vouch for my app when I use so many 3rd party codes?

That’s exactly what led us to establish SafeDK. I focused my entire career on mobile development, and like everyone else, I constantly implemented SDKs the messy way… It took me a while, but I finally realized I was out of control, using so many SDKs. But I sure wasn’t going to work on all these SDKs’ functionalities in-house, so I created SafeDK to provide an optimal and elegant solution to this dilemma. This is simply what we say: Implement as many SDKs as you want, in order to create a wonderful app in the shortest time-to-market possible, but use SafeDK to maintain transparency and control over the SDKs code.

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Serious About Your App Marketing? Here Are Your Must-Have SDKs

January 20, 2016 2:15 PM

A guest post by Einav Laviv, cofounder @appgo2market G2Mteam and a mobile app marketing expert.

A descent app marketer would keep bugging developers, asking them to implement 3rd party tools. I know I do.  It’s time to provide some explanations and share some recommendations while I am at it.

The basic truth is this: SDKs save lives… app marketers’ lives, that is. I remember myself begging developers to add features I badly needed, back in the pre SDKs age. I needed communication channels, analytics, and so forth. But, getting all I wanted was just not feasible as the development effort was huge. Improving core functionalities was always prioritized at the expense of marketing features. Till SDKs came and opened up a whole new world of possibilities.

Time passed and I witnessed a huge supermarket of SDKs emerging in front of my eyes. When there’s a need, there’s an ecosystem.

My challenge shifted to selecting which SDKs to use and staying up-to-date with what’s new, as there are so many (can’t complain, though)

How do I make the selection? Which is a “must” on my list? Well, first things first, I organize SDKs in categories, and made sure I covered all my bases (a.k.a categories).

You can think of mobile app marketing using three main building blocks: “Distribution”, “Retention” and “Monetization”. These are also a great way to organize your thoughts around 3rd party tools.

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6 New Year’s Resolutions for Mobile App Developers

December 31, 2015 4:16 PM

Welcome 2016! The new year is finally here.

For some, the Gregorian’s calendar birthday is an event worth celebrating as much (if not more so) than their own, while others may dismiss it as nothing more than a simple change of digits. But let’s admit something – when a new year arrives, it doesn’t go unnoticed. With everyone around rating the past year’s best and worst in numerous categories, I too find the occasional thought popping in, asking myself “what can I do different, better, from now on?”

So it got me thinking. I’ve been enthralled in the world of mobile development for quite some time now. I’ve seen things; I’ve done some; I’ve been around the mobile block.

Thinking of programming in general, and mobile programming in specific, I’ve gathered these 6 New Year’s resolutions that are not only how I wish to better myself, but also how I hope my fellow app developers are nicer to one another, code-wise.

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Here’s How SDKs Ruin (or Build) Your Retention and the Actions You Should Take!

December 8, 2015 12:40 PM

I know you already know about the importance of retention. I bet you’ve had it with general retention articles. I know I have.  So excuse me for not covering the basics of the need to take care of the app’s UI, bug fixes, and performance of communication channels. Instead, I want to talk about retention from a different angle – 3rd party SDKs. Almost everyone uses them. But did you know they may have dramatic impact on your retention, good or bad?

Most SDKs are there to help us, in the app business. And they do. Still, sometimes, 3rd party SDKs can actually damage your user retention. Hearing feedback from many app developers using SDKs, I have identified the three main weakness points of SDKs and user retention – Permission pitfalls, performance problems and UX issues. Fortunately, there are ways around each of these.

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SafeDK: Giving Control Back to App Developers in an SDK-Fueled World

November 24, 2015 2:05 PM

Originally published in Medium on behalf of AWS.

SafeDK offers an In-App Protection solution and SDK Marketplace, putting mobile app security and quality back in the hands of app developers. How do we do that?

We’ve all heard of mobile Software Development Kits (SDKs). App developers integrate these off-the-shelf mobile services into their app for many purposes: advertising and payment, analytics and social, and many more. No doubt these SDKs are a great help in the development process, but they might cause various issues ranging from app slowdown and crashes to excessive battery consumption and malicious behavior.

SafeDK monitors the real-time behavior of mobile SDKs and reports privacy, performance, and stability issues. SafeDK also provides developers with remote control over the SDKs. With a simple click of a button, app developers can turn off an entire SDK or a specific SDK permission in real time, preventing a security breach or crucial bug, with no need to release a new version or wait for users to update.

In this post, I’ll share the story about how SafeDK came to be, discuss lessons learned, and explain how AWS has helped to make it all possible.

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5 Steps in Choosing the Right 3rd Party Tools (SDKs) for your Mobile App

November 11, 2015 1:44 PM

SDKs offer so much when it comes to developing a mobile app. As the mobile app industry has evolved, the amount of third party tools available has reached mind-melting numbers. This is both a blessing and a challenge for app developers.

Selecting those SDKs that are right for you is a skill. You don’t want to integrate too many SDKs, so you won’t lose control of your app entirely. You don’t want to be overly cautious and miss important capabilities in your app as well…

At SafeDK, we analyzed hundreds of thousands of apps and SDKs. We’ve talked to countless mobile app developers. We’ve established our SafeDK Marketplace, the one-stop-shop to find the best SDKs for you. This is why we can offer you the following tips to find the SDKs that best fit your needs. Define them, understand them and finally – find the right SDKs for you.

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Do You Know What your SDKs did Last Summer?

October 26, 2015 1:27 PM

Mobile SDKs, these 3rd party tools used in mobile apps, seem to be all over the news lately. And not in a good way. First, 250 apps were banned from the App Store due to an SDK they used that stole private user data. Then, 18,000 Android apps were found to be integrated with an SDK that stole users’ text messages (SMS).

This makes one thing crystal clear: use 3rd party SDKs with great caution and safety measures.

At SafeDK we constantly hear mobile app developers express their concerns about using SDKs on one hand, but we see that SDK usage continues to rise on the other. The same developers that share their unfortunate experiences and cautionary tales then turn around and use a few more without any safety measurements.

Don’t get us wrong, SDKs are a necessity, a fact of modern life. Love them or hate them, mobile app developers just can’t live without them. And the swiftness with which they make apps much more versatile is probably the reason for that.

But still, as an app developer you must constantly be on alert. The wrong SDK might be the end of your app and all your hard work and effort. Don’t think it can happen to you? Well, neither did the 250 iOS apps and the 18,000 Android apps that found themselves breached this past week!

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