mHealth at Work

Patient Cloud AppConnect Blog

Why SDKs?

by James Tomson, mobile architect
Published April 25, 2016

At Medidata we've been providing APIs for a long time. They are powerful building blocks used to create custom integrations into the Medidata Clinical Cloud® platform. As developers, there is little we appreciate more than clear and concise APIs. We love them.

But when it comes to mobile, SDKs are better.

What do SDKs offer that APIs simply can't? A whole lot. If you're looking to build the next generation of patient-centric mobile apps, an SDK will get you there faster than traditional APIs.

Offline Operation

Mobile apps can't always rely on a network connection. We should be able to authenticate locally, present downloaded data and record data for future upload all while users are offline. Keep in mind that it's imperative to be aware of encryption requirements for your target platform when caching clinical data locally.

AppConnect SDK makes these common offline operations simple by using industry best practices for handling clinical data in your iOS or Android app. We do all of the heavy lifting so you can concentrate on writing the unique features of your own application.

Native Objects, Declarative Operations

Our REST APIs offer extensive information spread out over many different resources (including Rave Web Service API endpoints), and can help you customize and automate all aspects of the clinical trial lifecycle. However, when writing applications that present information from different sources, it’s vital to incorporate chains of imperative request and response processing to display data to the user.

To put this in a different context, I can spend a lot of time as a developer tinkering with the kitchen appliances when all I really want is a freshly baked pie.

In contrast, a native SDK provides your mobile app with native Obj-C/Swift or Java objects that represent users, subjects, clinical forms, as well as methods to synchronize data with our platform – all without constructing URLs or parsing responses. Additionally, these interfaces are available online or offline, with policies controlled by the app – for example, apps can allow data transfers over wifi and restrict cellular data transfers.

Hit the Ground Running

The pace of mobile platform development is quick – new iOS and Android systems, devices and toolchains are released at a rapid clip. In this environment we know there are many issues to contend with when developing mobile applications, and our goal is to enable you with the power of the Clinical Cloud in a simple package. We want our partners to focus on the innovation in their own applications and hit the ground running with clinical data collection.