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Software Developers

Bentley Developer Network

Software Developers


No matter what your role or objective as a software developer is, you need great tools and solid learning materials to help you in the work that you do. The tools need to be nimble enough to support simple customization and configuration, and robust enough to support the development of organization-specific or commercial applications. By joining the Bentley Developer Network, your organization will have access to everything needed to handle any type of software development project.

Development Tools

As a BDN Developer, you will have access to solution development kits (SDKs) and application programming interfaces (APIs) that were created specifically for a range of Bentley products.


To help you use these tools effectively, you will be provided Learning Paths that help you to progressively develop your skills and your knowledge. These BDN Learning Paths provide instruction designed for all developer levels.

Development Support

To support you in your work, you will have access to an active community of fellow BDN members and Bentley colleagues who can answer questions, share experiences, or give you feedback. Consulting and training are also available via Bentley’s professional services team. Access developer support now.

"The BDN has been essential in enabling the development of next-generation interaction tools for the industry, which we at Sublime have been pioneering. It provides a method by which we can engage and integrate with one of the largest AEC software vendors in the world. Giving us access to expertise from across the Bentley portfolio has enabled us to create solutions that complement the tools used by leading AEC practitioners."

— Chris Freeman, Sublime

Chris Freeman headshot

choose what is right for you

Design and Analytical Modeling Software Development Kits

If you wish to harness the full capabilities of Bentley’s platform for design and analytical modeling applications, then the MicroStation SDK would be your choice. If you need to customize or develop a discipline-specific application, you may wish to leverage an SDK or API from a Bentley discipline-specific application.

Whether you are a CAD administrator, new to programming, or developing professional-grade commercial applications, you can benefit from the MicroStation feature-rich APIs and SDKs. Use this development environment to create and customize professional grade applications for MicroStation and other Bentley applications.

MicroStation’s API is the recommended method to access Bentley DGN files with full fidelity. MicroStation and Bentley application APIs can be used to develop simple utilities, customized commands, or sophisticated commercial applications. In fact, Bentley developers use these same APIs to develop their MicroStation-based applications. MicroStation can also host and interface with a variety of programs and applications written in C, C++, C#, or Visual Basic.

Choose from these MicroStation options:

  • Bentley Macro Recorder (BMR)
    The BMR is an intuitive tool designed for end users, CAD administrators, or entry-level programmers. Record a sequence of actions and play them back, and find ways to automate or simplify common tasks.
  • MicroStation VBA (MVBA)
    A tried and true robust programming environment introduced with the MicroStation V8i generation, MicroStation VBA continues to provide entry-level and advanced programmers with a familiar and updated Microsoft VBA (native 64-bit) programming environment. Use MicroStation VBA to access feature rich MicroStation COM accessible object libraries.
  • MicroStation Development Libraries (MDL)
    MDL provides intermediate and advanced programmers the most robust and feature-rich MicroStation programming environment. MicroStation provides both native (C++ and C) and managed (Microsoft .NET) APIs allowing you full access to the MicroStation environment and DGN design data.

Geospatial Software Development Kits

If your application requires imaging, mapping, analysis, cartography, GIS, or other geospatial capabilities, then you will want to explore our geospatial SDK offerings.

If you need to develop geospatial applications or extend Bentley geospatial capabilities, Bentley offers several customization and development options.

For the professional programmer, the OpenCities Map SDK supports customization using Microsoft Visual Studio with C, C++, C#, Visual Basic .NET or any COM-compliant language including Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications.

For VBA developers, the XFM Feature Toolkit object model can be used to develop custom dialogs, placement commands, and event processors. In addition, the CLI (command line interface) can be used to customize common functions.  For data processing and custom spatial analysis, OpenCities Map offers a geospatially aware scripting engine. This scripting capability can be used for modifying, analyzing, and reporting on OpenCities Map data. The scripting language is highly integrated with the data model used by OpenCities Map, making it easy for casual users to implement customizations. Functionality includes spatial analysis operations, integrated RDMBS support, and topology analysis processing.

ProjectWise Software Development Kit

ProjectWise enables engineering and construction teams to collaborate throughout the entire project delivery process. Whether you work for a project delivery organization or an information technology services provider, the ProjectWise SDK provides all the tools you need to configure the environment, implement standards, customize workflows, and integrate with enterprise systems.

The Bentley ProjectWise SDK provides developers with libraries and tools to create custom utilities and enhancements to ProjectWise. Intended for client-side customization, the libraries included with the SDK offer an extensive array of methods to establish sessions, integrate, and communicate with your ProjectWise data sources. The client libraries also include a comprehensive set of hooking mechanisms allowing you to trigger processes based on user events in ProjectWise Explorer, such as checking out a document or changing its state.

The SDK consists of several “C” libraries that are referenced into your Microsoft Visual Studio project to create Windows applications, console applications, custom modules, and services.  The SDK also includes focused support for web-based applications.

Bentley iModel Software Development Kit

If you need to implement context-specific deliverables workflows, then you will want to leverage the capabilities of the iModel Software Development Kit. With this SDK, an application can prepare an immutable file that contains graphics and other indexed information that can be read by another application.

iModels are containers for information exchange between applications participating in infrastructure design, construction, or operational deliverables workflows. iModels can contain detailed 3D graphics along with graphically indexed attribution and business data. iModels are designed to be portable, secure, and immutable. iModels are self-describing, and do not need the source application to accurately display graphics or embedded attribution. iModels retain their provenance, when and by whom they were created.

The iModel SDK has both a managed and native environment:

  • The iModel Managed Write Only SDK (.Net) is used to embed the capability within an application to produce iModels that can interoperate with specific Bentley applications.

  • The iModel Managed Read/Write SDK (.Net) is used to build applications that write and read iModels with both graphical and business information.  Use this SDK to support such workflows as visualization or cost analysis.

  • The iModel Native and Managed SDK (.Net and C++) permits you to use C++ to extend the capabilities of the Managed APIs.

Use the iModel SDKs to customize deliverables exchange workflows.  If you are a vendor who wishes to interoperate with Bentley applications, we encourage you to contact us to discuss your use case and requirements.

Vishal Adyanthaya

"As a two-year-old start-up, we help our users by writing tools for customization, integration, migration, and productivity. The Bentley Developer Network (BDN) subscription has helped us immensely in achieving our goals by getting us access to the things that we need like SDKs and APIs. Support provided by Bentley colleagues and online community has been helpful."

— Vishal Adyanthaya, Metamorphick Solutions Pvt. Ltd.