We've surpassed the age of "mobile first" and entered that of "mobile best," or at least this was the buzzy mantra of choice at New York's stop on the traveling #TwitterFlock tour. Kickstarting our iOS training efforts, Diego, Casey and I attended Twitter's conference to learn more about their new mobile toolset, fabric.io.
Fabric is a modular set of SDKs, divided into three kits: Crashlytics Kit, Twitter Kit and MoPub Kit. Crashlytics is already a widely used tool to monitor app errors and pinpoint issues back to a single line of code rather than a memory address. With this kit you also get realtime analytics with Answers, and a test build distribution system called Beta. Twitter Kit offers a phone number-based authorization framework called Digits, along with Twitter log-in and a Tweet embed helper to reduce the pain of following Twitter's design guidelines. Finally, MoPub offers tools to get your app setup with banner, interstitial and native advertisement.
One of the key takeaways of the day is that 5 hours of blue fluorescent lighting takes a toll on the eyes. The second takeaway was "fuck OAuth." Just kidding (but, seriously). App login of the future exists with Digits: a simple, SMS-based (and desktop-friendly!) authentication library. The speaker raised an interesting point that given the rise of smart phone use in emerging markets, consumers are now more likely to have a cell phone number than an email address. Today's social login standard then creates a huge barrier to entry for a lot of new users. I have some doubts about the safety of phone number authorization, mainly for financial-focused applications, but overall I think it'll do wonders for the app on-boarding experience.
I'm generally excited to develop my first app with Fabric and see if it lives up to the hype (the flatbread hanging from coat hooks was convincing, though). In the meantime, check out some example Fabric usage with @twitterdev's open-source magnetic poetry app, Cannonball.