Difference between API and SDK

Sat Nov 27 2021

2 min read

Whenever you develop an application, you have to work on its various components, for instance, the client-side, the server-side, middlewares, authorization, authentication, APIs, etc. This kind of development often requires the Software Development Kit (SDK).

People are generally confused between SDK and APIs. So let’s take a look at both of them.

What is an SDK?

It is a set of development tools that allows the creation of software or an application for a particular platform. SDK provides you with the whole package from compilers to debuggers to even a software development framework.

What is an API?

Application Programming Interface lets the client communicate with the server and vice versa. Both the client and server call the API when they need to communicate. When one entity requests the API to bring some data from another entity or perform a CRUD operation, it gets back with a response.

Difference Between SDK and API

Let’s look at some of the differences between APIs and SDKs.

Software Development KitApplication Programming Interface
SDK contains APIs for building software or applications.APIs provide a communication channel between two machines.
SDKs provide all the tools or framework you need to develop a particular platform or software product.APIs define how different platforms work together. They serve as one of the tools in an SDK and facilitate interaction via specifications.
To use an SDK, you purchase, download, and install the kit for the platform you are building.Those APIs that are used for communicating between client and server work use HTTP/1.1 protocol to communicate.
Every platform generally has its SDK. For instance, if you are building an android application, you will use Android SDK.APIs have different types, for instance, REST API, GraphQL API, gRPC, SOAP API, Async APIs, etc. Then there are internal APIs, composite APIs, private APIs, public APIs.