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How do SDK updates affect development timelines?

Our IT team is transitioning to more nimble software development through a DevOps model. What role do new SDKs play in software development and deployment?

Software development kits are frequently updated. But keeping up with SDK updates, especially in the AWS public cloud, can be daunting -- even for the most diligent development teams.

AWS released an SDK for Java 1.10.72 last month, with changes to several AWS products. The SDK update now allows resource tagging in AWS Certificate Manager, improves smart-resize scaling options in Amazon Elastic MapReduce and bolsters the resilience of the SQL Rules Engine, which eliminates the possibility of breaking existing rules when additions are made to the AWS Internet of Things service in the future. But the AWS SDK for Java 1.10.74 came out just a week later -- with additional support for default tenancy selections in AWS OpsWorks and two additional operations to Amazon Route 53 domains services.

While neither of these updates made critical bug fixes or added major new features, all SDK updates affect end-user software development. A developer is not generally obligated to make SDK updates unless an API or service is altered in a disruptive way, as some API calls made through the older SDK might not properly function after the update and could potentially break the software release. However, adding new calls, features and options can often benefit applications that use AWS tools. Developers should typically implement SDK updates and recompile software soon after a release.

The idea of updating components and recompiling projects isn't as onerous as it might seem. Modern software development should use continuous integration, continuous delivery and the DevOps process, and be designed around frequent software version changes.

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