SDK Licenses

An SDK (Software Development Kit) licence is what allows a software developer to legally purchase and/or use an SDK.

What is an SDK license?

Software vendors who want their product to be easily integrated into other software products need a good way to ensure that the code they provide to developers is protected. SDK licensing is a bit more complex than for other types of software products, so SDKs require a smart and comprehensive licensing model that provides the right kind of protection and monetisation system.

An SDK is basically pre-written code that contains all the tools a developer needs to use existing software to help them create a new application. An SDK usually includes a compiler, a debugger and APIs (application programming interfaces). It may also contain:

  • Libraries
  • Testing and analysis tools
  • Controllers
  • Documentation
  • Editors
  • Network protocols
  • Development environments

Why does VYou work as a licensed SDK??

I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying: “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime”. What if you taught him to fish and then sold him the bait, lines, nets and all the equipment he needs to set up his own fishing business, and he became a loyal customer for life? The man feeds himself, and his business helps feed you too.

El pescador recién llegado es su cliente desarrollador de software, y el equipo de pesca es su SDK. Para empresas como VYou es una forma estupenda de hacer crecer el volumen del negocio, sin reinventar la rueda. Los SDK permiten a los desarrolladores crear grandes aplicaciones con una inversión mínima de tiempo, esfuerzo y fondos. Por lo tanto, si tienes un gran producto que puede facilitar la vida de los desarrolladores, el desarrollo y la distribución de SDKs es la forma en que puede entrar en esta industria de rápido crecimiento.

Obviously the SDK has to be licensed as you don’t want to give away the hard work of your developers. To make the software you have developed profitable, you can license the right to use your SDK. 

Types of SDK licences.

The SDK licence is a certain code that would give the developer access to your SDK and allow them to use it in a legal and authorised way. This is how all software licences work.

The key difference between SDK licences and most other types of software licences is that SDKs actually have two users: the developer who creates the application and the end user who downloads and uses it. 

These are the most common types of licences: 

  • Hardware-based licensing: Some software vendors choose to protect their SDKs with physical hardware, such as USB keys and dongles. The hardware contains the code that activates the SDK for the developer, so the developer must have the hardware connected to their device whenever they want to use the SDK. The advantages of this method are security and the lack of dependence on an internet connection. The disadvantages are that it is quite rigid, as only a person in possession of the physical device can use it, and only a device with the key plugged in can be used to access the SDK.
  • Cloud-based licensing: Other software vendors find it more convenient to protect their SDKs through online licences that can be downloaded to the customer’s device. The biggest advantage of this model is that it is much more flexible and includes a variety of options that are not available when using hardware-based licences.
  • Single-use SDK licences: these licences can only be used by one user. You can choose to link the licence to the specific device, or to a specific user logged in with specific credentials, or simply on a per-use basis, charging the customer each time the SDK is installed.
  • Concurrent or floating licences: this model is particularly flexible: the customer can purchase a certain number of licences that can be used at the same time. So, for example, if a developer has 5 team members working on the part of the application that involves your SDK but only 2 of them need to work on it at a time, he can buy 2 concurrent licences. When a team member needs to use his SDK, he downloads a licence from a remote licence server and “returns” it when he is done using it.
  • End-use licensing: instead of charging the developer for his own use of your SDK, you can choose to charge him based on the number of end-users who use the code you have developed with your SDK. This means that the amount the developer pays for using your SDK will depend on the success of your own product. This model may be more attractive to developers with a lower budget or a higher risk aversion.

The right model varies greatly from one developer to another and from one SDK to another. You may even want to offer several options to best suit the needs of different customers.

Example VYou SDK license.

Going back to VYou , the software developer has some options to use the SDK licence that combine options from the alternatives mentioned above. The VYou licence allows local download of the SDK, the library and a backoffice where the developer can customise the look & feel of their application. 

The VYou licence allows:

  • Use multiple models, charging less.
  • Use a model that best meets the needs of MVP.
  • It offers value that other competing companies do not. 

Ultimately, knowing how to license and sell our SDK can be a serious challenge, and implementing the licensing model can be an even bigger challenge. VYou offers a complete out-of-the-box software solution that allows you to protect your SDK, and customise it to maximise versatility, simplify operational processes and improve the user experience.

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