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As a developer, it can be bit confusing deciphering the differences between software tools. One of these cases is with Application Programming Interfaces (API) and Software Development Kits (SDK).

Both help you communicate with other applications, but how exactly so?

What is an API?

  • An API is an interface that allows applications to interact with others.
  • APIs allow for 2+ parts of of a program to communicate and comprehend data to each other.
  • APIs can be all different kinds of sizes and communicate all different types of data whether it be internally or from the web.
  • An example of an API would be accessing AWS services such Lambda or S3, anytime you access these resources from your application you’re using an API.
  • Have you ever checked out from a website with PayPal or Stripe? That’s all API based too!

Benefits of an API:

  • Data/Delivery Consistency
  • Replicable functions 
  • Can be accessed by many

APIs are more commonly talked about when first entering the world of web development, but what about an SDK?

What is SDK?

  • An SDK is a kit that includes instructions that allow developers to create systems and develop applications.
  • It has one of the main functionalities in its name, “kit”! SDKs provide a kit of information such as libraries, source code, documentation, templates, and more.
  • While APIs allow you to communicate with software, SDKs allow you to build with software from the ground up. SDKs usually include an API themselves.
  • An example of an SDK, would be AWS SDK for Java which provides a set of libraries that are consistent and familiar for Java developers. 

Benefits of an SDK:

  • Save time
  • Consistent
  • Replicable

Both are widely used when developing applications, so it’s important to know the difference!

Posted in jQuery, Web Technologies

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