To SDK or not to SDK?

By Lukas Rosenstock

Elevator Pitch

So, you have an API! Should you leave it at this or also offer a client library/SDK? Using examples from other API providers, this talk will help you decide. We‘ll look at good practices for designing and documenting APIs as well as SDKs, to achieve good developer experience, no matter which choice!


API providers are faced with the tough choice whether to offer client libraries (SDKs) or just ask developers to integrate their API directly via HTTP requests. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages, and they cater to different developer preferences. Creators of developer portals must also consider different types of integration and organize their documentation appropriately. By looking at various examples from API providers, both positive and negative, we will try to understand how to create and document useful SDKs, but also how to design APIs for easy consumption without an associated client library, providing good developer experience for developers with different preferences.


The idea for this talk came from my personal experience as a developer integrating APIs. I felt many providers pushed me to use their SDKs without having clear added value. As part of my API and developer experience research work, I decided to look deeper into the topic of SDKs and how different providers approach them.