X-ray Vision for iOS Apps

I rarely promote specific products or services, but a new web site / service is now available that offers a truly unique capability for iOS app developers. The free service at www.appsight.io is delightfully straightforward – enter the name of an iOS app in the search field and the site will display a list of all the SDK’s (software development kits) used by that app.

Think of it like Superman’s X-Ray vision but for app developers. Now you can easily delve inside popular apps to see how they are built. This is more than just curiosity, as each SDK is listed with a percentage score of how often it is used and cross-links to other apps that also use the SDK is listed below.

This is not just a tool for curiosity seekers – it provides valuable actionable information. Here’s a few examples:

By exploring the Uber app, you can see that they use credit card / payment processing SDK from PayPal and they use the Card.io SDK to scan and parse actual credit cards for setting up payment. Click on the Card.io link and you can see this SDK is also used by Lyft, Starbucks, Groupon, and Pinterest (Hmm.. I didn’t know Pinterest charged for anything?)

If you are an app developer and you don’t want to re-invent everything yourself, exploring the SDK’s used by major apps (along with your competitors) can be a great technique to discover tools and libraries you may not be familiar with. The percentage score is a goldmine – not only can you discover interesting SDK’s, but the popularity of usage serves as a crowd-sourced vote of confidence about quality and value.

As a marketer, a few hours spent with this website can be invaluable to understand your competitors and your target market. The simple assumption that an SDK would not be included unless it is being used is a good guide.

Anyone can use the site and you’ll quickly start to recognize common advertising platforms, crash reporting, and app usage stats – all by their SDKs.