ShipEngine’s shipping APIs are designed to empower brands, ecommerce platforms and third-party logistics providers to solve shipping. To make implementing and benefiting from our APIs as fast and easy as possible, the ShipEngine team has always placed an emphasis on developer experience.
Now, anyone building with ShipEngine enjoys access to a new tool that will make their integrations faster and easier than ever before — software development kits, or SDKs.
Developers can accelerate their ShipEngine implementations by using open-source, handwritten software developments kits in 6 different coding languages:
- Java (available in early 2022)
Continue reading to learn more about ShipEngine’s software development kits and the general benefits of using open-source, handwritten SDKs.
What Sets ShipEngine’s SDKs Apart?
Many API providers see SDKs as a box to be checked. In an effort to move as quickly as possible, they use auto-generating tools to create libraries in various coding languages. Unfortunately, auto-generated SDKs are difficult to use and lack the feel and intuitiveness that developers prefer.
The world’s leading API providers take a different approach, creating handwritten SDKs that developers find eminently usable. For this reason, the ShipEngine team invested time and resources into handwriting SDKs. ShipEngine’s SDKs are also open-source with the source code publicly available on GitHub. This means developers can quickly report bugs and provide fixes, and also that developers can create new features and capabilities within the SDKs.
Auto-generated SDKs will quickly overwrite any updates or changes made by third-party developers. But, because our SDKs are handwritten, we can easily accept improvements, bug fixes and feature suggestions from the developer community.
The 7 Benefits of Building With SDKs
What are the benefits of SDKs? Leading API providers make available handwritten, open-source SDKs because they deliver the following:
Developers get to choose and use the coding language they are most familiar with. Without SDKs, developers are left to convert between a REST API and their preferred language, which is not always straightforward.
2. Beginner Friendliness
Associate developers and others new to coding may not be familiar with the intricacies of REST and HTTP, such as networking, headers, status codes, etc. SDKs make it simple for new developers to start building.
3. Short Onboarding Times
SDKs eliminate a lot of the getting-started work that developers typically have to complete when using APIs. For example, developers don’t have to learn how a specific API works, how to detect errors, how to deal with rate limiting, where to place API keys, etc. when they use SDKs.
4. Enhanced Productivity
SDKs allow developers to code in their favorite programming language and work with familiar data types, which makes them more productive than dealing with lower-level protocols like REST, HTTP and JSON.
5. A Focus on Functionality
Most developers start building with APIs for a specific, functional reason. With ShipEngine, developers are typically trying to print a label or validate an address or track a shipment. SDKs allow developers to focus on those functions — rather than a bunch of boilerplate code for handling HTTP status codes, errors, encoding and other distractions.
6. Community Support
Open-source SDKs allow members of the development community to provide immediate feedback and input on the APIs. As noted above, developers can report and fix bugs in real-time, and they can also build features and functions that they think other developers may want to take advantage of.
7. Built-In Best Practices
Our SDKs follow best practices for things like error handling, parsing, async IO, retries, etc. So developers who use our SDKs benefit from our expertise without having to be experts themselves on all the latest best practices.
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