What’s The Difference Between SDK and API?

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Adding new capabilities to your business used to be complicated. You had to hire a small army of developers and wait months or years for a result. That’s all changed in recent years thanks to a few new critical technologies: API and SDK. Find out how SDKs and APIs work and the role play in making business more efficient.

What Is An API?

API is a commonly used technology abbreviation that stands for Application Programming Interface. An API operates as a middle man between two different software applications. It is a common way to add new features to a business with minimal expense. There are more than 10,000 APIs in RapidAPI marketplace’s marketplace alone.

In addition, APIs come in different types, and not all of them are freely accessible. Usually, application programming interfaces (APIs) are grouped into three categories

  • Private or internal APIs. These APIs are created for internal company use only. For example, the US business unit of a company could use an API to share information with another business unit in another country more efficiently. In some cases, a software company may pilot test a new API as an internal API before offering it to other organizations.
  • Partner APIs. This type of APIs is available to only a small number of people. Typically, partner APIs are a value add to software as a service (SaaS) products. Some companies charge an additional fee for API access, while others include API access as a standard feature.
  • Public APIs. This type of APIs is available to anybody who wants to use them. For example, the US government offers multiple APIs such as the National Weather Service (NWS) API. Anybody can review the API documentation and explore adding that software to their organization.

Advantages of an API

There are several powerful advantages to using an application programming interface. The exact functionality you can obtain varies significantly between APIs, however.

Imagine you wanted to share a weather forecast with users before they booked a flight. Instead of manually checking the forecast each day, you could connect your product to the National Weather Service API instead. This type of automation saves time for the company and gives users more data.

  • Launch new products faster.

With an API, you can add new features that have already been tested quickly. As a result, there is a reduced burden on your development team to build new features. In some cases, they can simply use an API to add a new feature.

Disadvantages of an API

Like any technology, APIs have their downsides as well. Keep these points in mind as you consider whether to use any particular API in your organization.

  • Variable quality of API Documentation.

Poor quality API documentation makes life painful for developers and engineers. When the workings of the API are unclear, your team will have to spend additional time testing. In some cases, you might end up creating your internal API documentation.

Popular APIs are an attractive target for some hackers because of the wealth of data they contain. If the API provider underinvests in IT security defense, your organization’s security risk may be increased. That’s not all. Some API providers provide little explanation of how they ensure IT security protections are in place and updated. This lack of API transparency translates to a greater burden on your security staff.

What is A SDK?

An SDK is a standard technology abbreviation that stands for software development kit. In one sense, it is similar to an API. Both an SDK and an API can be helpful ways to add new features. However, there are significant differences in what these technologies can do for your company.

An API creates a connection between two pieces of software. That connection is powerful, but there are limitations to what you can achieve. In comparison, an SDK is like having access to a fully equipped technology lab. You have more choices and flexibility when it comes to adding features. That’s not all. Many SDKs also include an API to facilitate data sharing.

Advantages of an SDK

  • High level of flexibility.

A SDK can give your developers many different ways to build new features. You could use an SDK to create brand new applications nobody has ever seen before. For example, Apple offers an iOS SDK to make it easier for developers to create new apps for the iPhone and other Apple devices.

  •  Higher innovation potential.

Your ability to innovate with a modern SDK is close to unlimited. You only need the ambition to come up with a new app. You can turn features on and off and make a variety of modifications.

Disadvantages of an SDK

The main disadvantage of an SDK is complexity. It can take a lot of time to review SDK documentation and imagine what is possible. If you are in a rush to launch something new, be realistic. It takes developers time to learn their way around a new SDK.

Introducing The Arena SDK

The Arena SDK is a lightweight JavaScript capability that makes it easier to create chat applications. The SDK makes it easy to add chat users, chat reactions, and moderate chat sessions. You can use it to enhance customer support, gather feedback from users, and more. The Arena SDK also makes it easy for users to send direct messages when they want a more private conversation. You can also use it to run question and answer events internally or with your customers.

To find out more about the Arena SDK, please visit our; GitHub page.

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