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nRF52 Programming Tutorials – Part 2 Understanding Nordic SDK

In part 1 of this article, we discussed nrf52 and the IDE used for the development. In part 2 of the article, we will learn and understand about Nordic SDK.

SDK (Software Development Kit) basically a toolkit that provides essential tools given by the author to develop software applications based on the developer’s choice.

SDK includes a range of things, including:

  • Libraries
  • Documentation
  • Code samples
  • Processes and Guides

The developers can use and integrate this wide range of SDK guidelines into their own applications. SDKs are designed to be used for specific platforms or programming languages.

The Characteristics of a Good SDK

Pic Source: @ Lionel Valdellon
  • User-friendly.
  • Thorough documentation to explain how the code works.
  • Enough functionality, so when it is added to other applications it should blend in perfectly.
  • Plays well with other SDKs.

In brief, a good SDK should be backward compatible with the previous versions of the SDKs.

Whenever there is a work with time constraints, the SDK should support the user with great efficacy.

Nordic SDK

The nRF5 SDK provides a base platform for nRF5 Series devices by including a broad selection of drivers, libraries, examples for peripherals, Soft Devices and proprietary radio protocols.

The latest version of Nordic sdk is the sdk v17, with each version of their SDK, Nordic upgrades and correct errors compared to their previous SDKs. All code examples included in the SDK are tailored to compile and run on Nordic Semiconductor’s nRF5 Development Kits.

  • The Nordic has different versions of SDK, each of their SDK has examples in them. The examples are mainly categorized into ble_central, ble_central and peripheral, ble_peripheral and peripheral.
  • The execution of programs has been detailed in the part-1 of this blog and remains the same for all the programs.
  • The program explanation and working procedure has been given on the official website of Nordic – “Nordic Infocenter”
  • The documentation of the SDK and the working procedure of the programs has been elaborated in the infocenter.


The introduction block contains all the necessary details about the compatible soft devices, different versions of soft devices, latest updates and changes made from previous SDKs.

Getting Started

Getting started is a quick guide on setting up the necessary requirements before starting up with the NRF52 dk.

Hardware Drivers

Hardware drivers contain all the information on different nRF series and their drivers.

Each of the NRF drivers has different types of peripheral drivers in them,like TIMER, SAADC, TWI, GPIO, etc.


Nordic has libraries that help the user to find the appropriate section of libraries for developmental requirements.


In the example section, the user can find the documentation on the examples available in the SDK.  This section is also a quick overview on the different categories of examples.

User Guides

The user guides contain the guidelines for developing an application using the NRF boards . These user guides guide users to know how to develop and test the application.

API Reference

The API reference consists of libraries, utilities, services, hardware and peripheral drivers. These API references help the user to search for drivers, libraries that help the user to  build their application.

Data Structures

Data structures contain data structures and data fields.

Data structures contain the structures that are used in the SDK given by their appropriate data fields.

Note: Nordic constantly updates the link to their websites. In this blog, instead of the links, screenshots have been provided. This is to give you an idea of the website and what it looks like.

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