Best Practices For SDK Generation

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Best Practices For SDK Generation

Have you ever wondered how developers make integrating with APIs so smooth? It’s all about creating Software Development Kits (SDKs) the right way. In this article, we’ll explore some simple tips to help you do just that. From making development easier to keeping up with changes in APIs, these tricks will make your SDKs stand out.

What is SDK?

Best Practices For SDK Generation

Difference between SDK and API

SDK and API are not the same. An SDK (Software Development Kit) is a set of tools, libraries, code samples, and documentation that helps a developer build applications for a specific platform or technology.

An API (Application Programming Interface) is a set of protocols, routines, and tools for building software applications. It defines the way in which different components communicate with each other and provides a set of agreed-upon standards that enables applications to make requests for the service and get data and/or functionality in return.

Best Practices For SDK Generation

10 Best Practices For SDK Generation

Software Development Kits, provide developers with all the necessary tools to experiment with a new tool such as an API conveniently in one package. Despite their widespread adoption and utility, there has been a notable absence of unified standards and optimal practices for creating SDKs. That’s why we’ve gathered knowledge for you, ensuring that everything you need is conveniently accessible in one place.

Prioritize Developer Understanding

To begin any digital product development, it’s crucial to comprehend your target audience. Before diving into SDK creation, grasp the needs of your users. This understanding will shape the SDK’s programming languages and code snippets, aligning them with user requirements.

In an extensive analysis conducted by APImatic on various SDKs and their users, it was found that Go is gaining popularity, closely following C#. JavaScript and TypeScript support is also prevalent among companies.

Best Practices For SDK Generation
Data provided by Statista.com

If uncertain about language selection, consider starting with Go, C#, JavaScript, and TypeScript.

Adopt Consistent Naming Conventions

Uniform naming conventions enhance SDK usability and comprehension. Opt for camel case conventions and strive for concise asset names, ideally under 30 characters.

Best Practices For SDK Generation
Source: https://sdks.io/docs/best-practices/design/naming-conventions/

Adhering to standard naming practices, such as ‘verb + object/resource’ for actions, fosters clarity and ease of use.

Simplify Authentication

Streamlining authentication processes through SDKs alleviates developer burdens. From HTTP to OAuth, SDKs can simplify various authentication methods, enhancing user experience.

For instance, using an SDK, developers can manage API authentication seamlessly:

DefaultClient defaultClient = new DefaultClient();
defaultClient.init("foo", "bar");

ApiClient apiClient = new ApiClient(defaultClient);

// The authorization header is automatically set for listUsers
List<User> users = apiClient.listUsers();

Convert Endpoints into Methods

Transforming API endpoints into methods facilitates intuitive SDK usage. Group related actions to prevent method overload while minimizing the number of necessary initializations. This practice ensures efficient and adaptable code, adhering to the DRY (don’t repeat yourself) principle.

Some common API endpoints for SDK methods include:

  • Validate argument(s)
  • Set header(s)
  • Construct URL with query parameters
  • Set HTTP verb
  • Serialize request body
  • Set Credentials (token, username/password)
  • Build and execute HTTPRequest
  • Deserialize response
  • Return response as a native object

Define Data Models

When an SDK incorporates a data model, it significantly streamlines the task of handling API data by adhering to a clearly defined method for converting JSON responses into usable data.

Data models not only offer autocomplete assistance for Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) but also aid monitoring tools in detecting potential issues.

These models can encompass details regarding the nature of transmitted data, such as its format (e.g., number, string, boolean), as well as information about data attributes, including their names or any applicable constraints. This comprehensive approach enhances the efficiency of API consumption.

Integrate Logging

Incorporating a logging feature into your SDK provides developers with valuable insights into the performance of your API. It captures error messages, debug logs, and significant events encountered during code execution.

This logging capability assists developers in swiftly identifying and resolving issues, as well as pinpointing areas for potential optimization, such as performance bottlenecks.

Moreover, it enables the tracking of usage patterns, aiding in the detection of security vulnerabilities and providing valuable insights into user behavior.

Logging solutions can be integrated into an SDK through the inclusion of a built-in library or by integrating with external logging frameworks like Log4j or Serilog.

Utilize Persistent HTTP Connections

Persistent HTTP connections reduce latency by enabling multiple requests through a single connection. Default in HTTP/1.1, ensure compatibility for HTTP/1.0 clients by specifying the ‘Connection: keep-alive’ header.

Example of establishing a persistent HTTP connection in Python:

import requests

session = requests.Session()
session.headers.update({'Connection': 'keep-alive'})

url = 'https://api.example.com'
payload = {'key': 'value'}

response = session.post(url, json=payload)

if response.status_code == 200:
    data = response.json()
else:
    # Handle errors

Include Code Examples

Incorporating idiomatic code examples into your SDK greatly enhances its usability. By aligning with language-specific conventions and best practices, these examples facilitate intuitive usage, helping developers seamlessly integrate the API into their projects.

Providing clear and concise code snippets that reflect the idiomatic style of the programming language not only accelerates the learning curve for developers but also fosters confidence in utilizing the SDK effectively.

Additionally, these examples serve as valuable reference points, empowering developers to navigate complex integration scenarios with ease and ensuring a smoother overall development experience.

Explore Automated SDK Generation

Automating SDK generation offers a streamlined approach to development, guaranteeing that SDKs remain synchronized with evolving API specifications.

By automating the generation process, developers can ensure that any changes or updates made to the API specifications are swiftly reflected across all associated SDKs, minimizing the need for manual intervention and reducing the likelihood of discrepancies or inconsistencies between the API and its corresponding SDKs.

This automated approach not only accelerates the development cycle but also enhances the maintainability and reliability of the SDKs, as they remain in alignment with the most current API standards.

Furthermore, it fosters greater agility and responsiveness to changes, enabling developers to adapt quickly to evolving requirements and deliver seamless integration experiences for end-users.

Assess Necessity of SDK

While SDKs offer numerous benefits, evaluate the necessity based on API complexity and user needs. While not always essential, SDK inclusion accelerates integration and reduces support queries, enhancing developer experience.

SDK Generation

Feeling inspired to level up your SDK game? If you have any questions or need assistance with your SDK generation journey, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Our team of experts is here to help you every step of the way. Contact us today to supercharge your API integration experience!

Author

  • Zuzanna Macieszko

    Content Creator with a deep passion for Public Relations, new technologies, and traveling. I find joy in bringing creative ideas to life and have been actively involved in various projects to date.

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