Why We Need SDKs

I saw a retweet go by yesterday from @MicoYuk, originally tweeted by @deeceedas, that struck me:

@XcelsiusGurus i want a software so easy to use that no one should need SDK

I suspect this came from the question that was dropped on whether we need an Xcelsius SDK. If you don’t know me by now, I’m definitely an SAP Business Objects enthusiast. On top of that I always seem to have teams that co-mingled in application development, both on the Java and .NET fronts. So while you think my knee-jerk reaction would be “heck yeah”, I’d like to answer more carefully than that.

I *think* I understand where this tweet is coming from. I realized in reading it…and rereading it…and reading it again, that I see it both ways.

From a customer perspective, obviously, we want enterprise class applications to be as rich and robust as they can possibly be, and without issue. I’d love to see where that utopia exists. I install an application, it just “works”, has all the features I want and expect, is self-documenting, satisfies auditors that want to know what is happening, and most importantly, raises the satisfaction level of my end users and we see user adoption at an all time high. Oh, it should be REALLY easy for developers and admins to implement too.

On the other side of the coin (while taking my vendor hat off), SDKs promote community involvement and innovation. Companies like SAP have an army of programmers. They also put time and energy into their labs products to give folks like us an opportunity to see what they are innovating on. That said, making an SDK available, in my opinion, creates a continual cycle of vendors like SAP cranking out software, and communities like ours finding new ways to leverage and improve the way we use and implement their technology. Hopefully, this results in lessons learned by vendors on how to integrate those capabilities into their products. Really…isn’t one of the best mechanisms for learning actually doing?

I fully acknowledge that many times we have to use the SDK for our own fixes to either the application or the way we interact with and use it. It’s going to happen.

I guess as I walk away from this blog, my remaining thought is embrace, don’t fear, the SDK. It’s a good thing.

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