What is an SDK and an API?

Aug 11, 2017   

Posted by Chris Donais

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Mobile applications consist of several APIs and SDKs, and there’s a lot of confusion around what an SDK and an API are and what the difference is between the two. In this blog we discuss what they are and how they serve different purposes.

What is an SDK?

Everyone has a slightly different idea of what an SDK (Software Development Kit) is, but a commonly agreed upon definition is: “A set of tools that can be used to create and develop applications.”

An SDK is, generally, a full-suite software module that includes everything you need for a specific application. It includes examples, documentation, as well as the methodology necessary to perform specific functions.

How is an API different from an SDK?

An API (Application Programming Interface) is, typically, a restful (representational state) protocol and, therefore, stateless. It defines a communication protocol that allows a client to make calls and receive responses from a server, using a specified format. It is the developer's responsibility to integrate an API into their solution and use the API correctly.

Benefits of SDKs?

SDKs allow you to have different features in your application. For instance, the Skyhook SDK provides accurate location positioning within your app. Other features include ease and speed of integration, accuracy of data and implementation, and upgrade paths and deprecation.

Benefits of APIs?

APIs are much lighter weight than SDKs, and are useful when you only need 1 or 2 specific functions of an SDK and are not looking for a fully integrated experience. APIs are also useful for applications where your codebase is programed on atypical platforms.

Skyhook SDK’s

Skyhook’s SDKs are designed to provide accurate location for any connected device. The SDK supports gathering location based on WI-Fi, GPS and Cell signals.

Skyhook has two SDKs, one for Context and one for Precision Location. The Precision Location SDK contains latitude and longitude and Hyperlocal IP, while Context includes all of that as well as geofencing and Personas capabilities.

Bottomline

Having an SDK in your app is a fundamental aspect of providing a good user experience. It can add features that wouldn't be possible otherwise. While an SDK and API may seem similar at first glance, they actually serve very different purposes.

 

Read this overview to learn more about Skyhook’s integration options

 

Learn how Skyhook's SDK can fuel your app

Topics: sdk, software development kit, api