What is the difference between an API and an SDK?

What is the difference between an API and an SDK?

Software Development Kits — at this moment known as SDKs and APIs — allow developers to create a smooth and easy end-user experience.

Both SDKs and APIs help software developers introduce new features into the software without having to start everything from scratch. They just do them in slightly different ways.

But SDKs and APIs are not necessarily going to be exactly right for you, and you might find the jargon a little off-putting. This can often lead people to think they should buy or partner with existing software, but that’s not necessarily the case.

Part of knowing which makes the most sense for you is to understand the differences (and similarities) between APIs and SDKs.

So we’re giving you a breakdown of when and where each tool is most useful and where you can go to find out more.

What is an API?

An Application Programming Interface, or API, acts as a translator between one part of your software and another.

Think of Google Maps. When a user puts in an address to find it, an API allows Google Maps to find the location and zoom into it. A user also uses an API when they embed a Google Map showing the location of their store on their website.

An API is simply a set of instructions that allows for consistency in your coding across different environments. It gives stability, reliability, and predictability — all excellent things for your end-user.

What is an SDK?

A Software Development Kit — SDK, or devkit — is a broader set of tools, APIs, and bits of code that help developers build software without starting from scratch.

They allow you to add specific features that behave in a certain way without necessarily needing to understand how every nut and bolt fits into the bigger picture. This comes in particularly handy when trying to integrate your software into a variety of platforms.

To use the Google Maps analogy, an SDK would be used so that an SDK can download the Google Maps app onto an iPhone. Android would need a different SDK to download Maps onto an Android.

Advantages, Disadvantages, and Difference Between an API and an SDK

To decide which you need, an SDK, or an API, let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages.

A lot of your decision-making between the two will come down to what kind of application you want and the requirements for that kind of technology stack.

Advantages

  • APIs are flexible and allow for developers to make flexible software that is customized choices. This is helpful when designing software to help with integration.
  • APIs also work well with automation, cutting down on the work that one developer has to do.
  • SDKs allow your developers to control your brand and offerings more easily and prioritize the user experience.
  • SDKs — even when bought — offer a little more peace of mind when it comes to security as they don’t have the issues that APIs do.

Disadvantages

  • APIs require that your developer have more in-depth knowledge about the features they’re trying to integrate and the software they’re integrating with.
  • APIs are increasingly seen as security risks, as they make it easier for hackers to access site information, which may have traditionally been more hidden.
  • SDKs are limited to a particular platform. Therefore, you may need to buy or develop across different SDKs, depending on where and how you want your software to be available.
  • SDKs are often seen as being a more tough choice.

Deciding the Difference between an API and an SDK

APIs and SDKs do a lot of the same work, although they handle these differently. SDKs are the overarching tools that let developers build the world and atmosphere of the software. However, APIs facilitate communication.

This essentially means that your software will need both APIs and SDKs to function, grow, and scale.

As a rule of thumb, if your developers want the opportunity to build across platforms while controlling your end-users experience of the brand, an SDK provides you with greater opportunities. This is particularly true when using mobile apps.

But if you’re looking to mainly increase your software’s functionality and don’t mind giving up some control, then an API should fit the bill.

How Can Yurbi Help With SDKs And APIs For Your Business?

Yurbi takes an API based approach to integration.

Yurbi is a BI platform that offers both software companies, and IT managers access to a powerful BI tool built from the ground up as a web application designed to meet the use case of internal data analytics and embedded analytics.

Yurbi not only provides an agile, self-service business intelligence solution for end-users, but on the backend, a robust API that anyone can use for user provisioning, secure data feeds, embedded analytics, and more.

Restful API

The Yurbi interface uses an HTML5/JavaScript interface, which is great, as it can work on any modern desktop, tablet, or mobile browser without requiring a client to be installed. Businesses can also do everything in our interface via our Rest API (the API can do a lot more).

This includes user and security provisioning, retrieving and passing secure data sets to other applications in JSON or XML, configuring scheduled reports, and binding secure data sets to your custom report layouts and output methods. We call our Rest API our mid-tier.

Let’s Discuss Your Requirements

The best way to learn more about Yurbi and how it can help your business is to talk to us. Don’t worry, and we don’t put you through endless sales qualification questions or add you to a ten email a week spam list.

Schedule a live demo or contact us to speak to one of our technical experts who can understand your requirements and help you quickly see if Yurbi is a good fit or not.

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