Why SDK Docs Matter — And What I’m Doing About It!


When developers implement an SDK, they usually include some information in the GitHub README. But unless you provide 1:1 support to customers, this information is not enough. That’s why it is important to have solid documentation around your SDKs, and this means going beyond step by step documentation.

Here’s what SDK docs need:

  • Easy to find
  • Consistently structured
  • Easy to understand
  • Example(s) for each SDK

In this session, I talk about my experience around improving SDK documentation for products. If you are struggling with these questions around your SDKs, you are not alone!

  • How do I make sure that users use the correct SDK from the list of SDKs?
  • Do I need to go that extra step and provide samples?
  • What about reference documentation (e.g., Javadoc) to complement the README?
  • I am a technical writer; how do I test it out?
  • What do I do if I’m confused by the developer’s explanation?

The above questions are great building blocks to get you started on your SDK documentation. I will provide answers to these questions in my session and share how my team developed a great documentation strategy for our SDKs (you get to see the good and the bad).

  • We help our users chose the correct SDK from a list of 25 different SDKs.
  • Analytics was our friend.
  • Include samples and give a preview of what needs to be done.
  • Maintain consistency across SDK documentation.
  • Develop an internal strategy to keep the samples, and documentation updated with each code change.
  • Include licensing information so users are able to use the SDKs.

That’s not all! You will also find out how SDKs build a developer community around your product. I will talk about how you can improve your SDKs further by guiding your community to report bugs, request features, and much more using your documentation strategy.

  • Conference: Write the Docs Portland
  • Year: 2020

About the speaker

Shavindri Dissanayake (Shavi)