September 28, 2022
March 22nd, 2023
As the world of software development modernizes in an exponential form, two important software development tools that are indispensable are SDK and API. SDK stands for Software Development Kit and API stands for Application Programming Interface.
Implementation of API and SDK is necessary now in all software projects. Constant comparison of SDK vs API is inevitable. They exhibit similar characteristics and hence getting confused in understanding them is natural.
API and SDK enhance the competencies of the software with which you are working. But both have separate use cases and methodologies of working. It is vital to perceive how SDK and API work, their benefits, features, and way of contributing to the application development procedure.
Before we go into details about evaluating SDK vs API, let us understand them individually.
A software development kit (SDK) is a collection of software development tools in one installable package. As a set of software building tools, it is a collection of libraries, tools, and programs for creating applications on a specified platform.
SDK empowers developers in creating platform-specific software attached to a particular programming language.
An SDK consists of code libraries, code samples, testing tools, compilers, debuggers, APIs, drivers, network protocols, editors, and documentation. Whenever the developer downloads and installs an SDK, it becomes quite simple to develop using their platform through their IDE (Integrated Development Environment).
All popular technologies have their own SDK. Some common examples of SDK are Google’s Android SDK, Apple’s iOS SDK, AWS SDK, Google Cloud SDK, JSON, JDK, and so on. Each of these is attached to their parent technology and serves the purpose of enhancing the experience of their parent tool.
One must buy, download, and install the software development kit that suits the requirements and matches the software. After which the API is opened with accompanying development tools for creating a new application, with the IDE.
The main coding portion starts here with the compiler being present. There are different instructions, code samples, and testing tools that will help in creating the needed software application.
An application programming interface (API) is a way for two or more computer programs to communicate with each other. It is an effective interface that makes communication easier for different platforms, with each other. Some routine APIs that help is mapping APIs, Payment APIs, Scientific APIs, Weather APIs, etc.
It standardizes the approach through which third parties interact with other software components. It empowers comprehensive utilization of services offered by the software applications. An API can decide the functionalities and information that can be shared between services and software.
API consists of two components – the API interface that eases data sharing, communication, and documentation that highlights the information of implementing the API. Some common types of APIs are REST API, Web API, SOAP API, etc.
Good Read: A Comprehensive Guide To APIs – A Rage In Software Development
An API works to increase effective communication between assorted services and platforms. It acts as an interface by receiving different queries from users, processing them, and returning the results by offering needed information.
The user can initiate the task by creating a request. The API then makes a call to the server, sending the request to the URL of the server. The task is accomplished by the database or application, as needed and it returns with the answer to the request.
Even though there are certain similarities between the two interconnected and overlapping tools, their target areas and way of working are different.
The similarities are:
|Acronym||Software Development Kit||Application Programming Interface|
|Overview||A comprehensive software development kit and building block for creating applications for different services, languages, and platforms||An effective interface to facilitate the functioning of applications and accelerate the interaction between different platforms defining how apps work together|
|Objective||Offer a variety of development tools required for creating an application for a specified language or platform||Offer relevant procedures and explanations for letting components collaborate with each other, connects and integrate software|
|When to Use||While creating a new application or adding multiple functionalities within a package||While enhancing an application or adding specified functions to an application|
|Characteristics||Robust, having multiple utilities||Specialized, light-weighted, fast|
|Architecture||Executes on the same environment and has no interdependency. Uses the processing power of the existing app environment||Executes on separate servers with a continual dependency on the services for reliability and effective processing of applications|
|Installation||Needs installation and hence is bulky in size||No installation is needed for using it|
|Error Handling||Manages through the language’s error handling mechanism||Manages error handling through the application and its server|
|Examples||Android SDK, Java SDK, Facebook SDK etc.||Payment APIs, Map APIs, Weather APIs, etc.|
|Languages Support||Support for languages such as Java, Python, Go, PHP, Node.js, etc.||Support for communication protocols such as REST, SOAP, GraphQL, etc.|
|Included Components||Comprises of experiment programs, utility programs, technical descriptions, and debugging tools||Comprises of protocols, routines, data structures, and object class specifications to facilitate interaction|
Good Read: Microservices vs API: How Do They Differ?
Uplift your applications by using SDK and API. The comparison between API vs SDK continues to date, with users getting confused about what to use and when. As we study the difference between API and SDK, we see that both are important and crucial to software development.
As the development scenarios progress and the cloud-driven services tend to get popular, applications tend to get complex and that is where the role of API and SDK comes into the picture.
It depends upon the requirements of your projects and applications that can help in ascertaining the output of comparing SDK Versus API and what to use. In fact, there could be many projects where they work in coordination with each other and offer optimal results. APIs can be found in SDKs, but SDKs cannot be found in APIs.
Usually, SDKs are like a toolbox containing different elements that developers need and hence they contain APIs but vice versa is not true. Hence, though there is a difference between SDK and API, implementation of the same depends upon the needs of the project and both carry equal weightage in terms of importance.
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