Yesterday, in a blog post, Grammarly announced that it would be discontinuing the Text Editor SDK, the developer tool that puts the company’s automated editing functionality into any app. The tool will be shut down on January 10th, 2024, after which the functionality will cease to work in any applications where it’s in use.
For Grammarly, it is apparently a matter of how best to allocate internal engineering resources, and the company wants to focus on the core product, according to Drew Endick, senior manager for platform partners at Grammarly. He pointed out that the company is looking at building AI into the tool, which seems crucial given the emergence of generative AI tools like ChatGPT.
“Deprecating the Text Editor SDK allows us to focus on achieving this vision and meeting increased demand we’re seeing from enterprises by dedicating our resources to addressing the challenges they face,” Endick told TechCrunch in an email response.
The company released a beta of the SDK in 2021, and at the time were excited about the prospect of giving developers the ability to build Grammarly text editing capabilities into any application:
Rob Brazier, head of product and platform at Grammarly, says that the beta release of this SDK gives developers access to the full power of Grammarly automated editing with a couple of lines of code. “Literally in just a couple lines of HTML, [developers] can add Grammarly’s assistance to their application, and they get a native Grammarly experiences available to all of their users without the users needing to install or register Grammarly,” Brazier told me.
Since the SDK launched, the company reports that thousands of developers have evaluated it, and hundreds have built applications. Those developers will now have to adjust their programs to remove that capability, as it will only be available to customers who purchase the service.
One of the first rules of APIs is you don’t make major changes unless you have to because of the impact it will have on developers who are already using it. Shutting down something that is only two years old could be putting developers who have come to rely on it in a difficult position, although the company says it has been working with the community to try and mitigate the impact.
“As with any product deprecation, we recognize there may be disappointment from developers who invested in integrating the SDK, and we’re here to support them as they remove it from their apps, Endick said.
In a discussion on Hacker News, poster sbjs wasn’t pleased about the change. “This is such a shame. One of the most powerful features of the SDK is now exclusive to the site itself. I can see the incentive to make this decision, but it’s also going to have counterproductive results for the same reason,” they said.
The company will not be adding any new functionality to the SDK between now and the shut-down date in January. “Developers who have built integrations with the Text Editor SDK will need to plan to remove the integration from their apps before January 10, 2024,” Endick said.