What ever happened to SDKs?

Does someone still remember what SDKs are? Software Development Kits? They were really popular when new technology was released. They had a bunch of information on how to use the technology, documentation and lots of samples in different scenarios.

Today, because most of new technology is released as web applications, the need for SDKs have diminished. Now websites provide a variety of REST APIs that allow third party developers to connect their applications to these services.

All documentation about these APIs resides on the company’s website. Instructions on how to connect and authenticate are also in documentation pages. Really good tools have been built on Javascript to document these apis so developers can traverse them and better learn.

But very few companies are providing working samples of applications using these REST APIs. Basically, they leave the developer to figure out how to use them from the documentation and then build the application. Wouldn’t it be easier and better to provide SDKs that have working samples of application and pre-built utilities we can use to make development faster? They could also provide these samples in different code languages so they’re available to all developers market.

When we launched LicenseSpot, we provided samples on how to integrate the licensing component into applications but never provided a formal SDK. Since three months ago, we published an SDK with refined samples, in different environments and in multiple languages. Also the SDK includes a component that basically automates the interaction with LicenseSpot and utilities with predefined methods for calling our REST API.

This translated into big success for us. Conversions went up and we started getting more advanced and targeted questions from potential users. Because of this, we now invest more time on making the samples in the SDK better, add more platforms and languages.

It would be great if we could see more of this replicated throughout the industry. It’d increase developer’s productivity dramatically and web application owners would benefit by having more application integrating with their services.

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