API vs SDK: Difference and Comparison

People get confused with API and SDK, as both the terms come together while discussing. People think they need to choose between both of them, but you are wrong there as they require to be chosen together as they can only work when they are put together.

Hence, we can compare API and SDK. API, as well as SDK, are two programming concepts that are used to create applications or websites. Without this two, one can not process the steps in the creating process.

Key Takeaways

  1. An API (Application Programming Interface) defines how software components interact, while an SDK (Software Development Kit) provides tools and resources to build software.
  2. SDKs include APIs to facilitate software development, making APIs a component of SDKs.
  3. APIs facilitate communication between different software, while SDKs provide a framework for developing software within a specific platform or environment.


API is an interface for a service that enables the communication between two otherwise disconnected platforms. SDK is a development kit that consists of a set of tools, libraries, components, and code fragments for developing apps for a specific platform or service. It facilities the usage of an API.


API is the main protocol that is used to set different components together via its communicating skills while forming an application or website. The developer is bound to use an API for the creation process.

Without it, one can never make any changes in the program as its main job is to build the relation between two or more components.

On the other hand, the tool that is used to maintain the components of the process while forming an application or website is known to be the SDK. In simple terms, the SDK is the toolbox that includes various components to run the program.

It enables the creation of the program for that particular purpose for which it has been assigned.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonAPISDK
Usage Generally, API is used for communication purposes while creating an application. The task of completing an application via combining several tools is done by SDK.
Creation API can not build an application on its own. With the help of API, SDK can create a new application.
TypeAPI is considered to be an interface for the program.SDK simply works as a tool.
IntegrationAPI lacks code libraries and it can be easily modified. SDK is quite easy and faster to integrate things.
ExampleA common API that is used for a process is Windows API.Windows 7 SDK, is one fine example of SDK.

What is API?

Nowadays, proper branding is very very important for every business. Therefore, the companies whether small or big try to develop their specific application or website with the help of a developer.

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And there are certain things that the developer requires in brief from the company for their respective product. And therefore, API is one such important aspect of creating the program.

Generally, API is said to be the interface of an application or website. With the help of it, one can sync into various tools.

Application Programming Interface is the term that defines API. The main job of API in the creating process is its availability for communication with the other related tools.

In short, it brings things together to work smoothly. Also, we have said that we can not fully depend upon API for the end product, it is just a simple interface that connects one another but does not complete the process.

According to the data, as per the web-based applications, APIs are divided into four types public, partner, private, and composite. Any of these is chosen by the developer to create the application or website.

With the help of API, one can even modify things. The specification and descriptions are only indulged in API.

What is SDK?

SDK is the abbreviation for the terms Software Development Kit. By the abbreviation itself, we can conduct that SDK is a kit that is specially designed to combine everything and further proceed with the completion of developing an application or website.

It is initially installed with numerous tools for the purposes. SDK is the main tool for it.

It together with API and the other tools, helps to develop the program. The develop enquires the specifications from the companies and presents them the end-product.

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A few things that are included in SDK are APIs, technical documentation, utilities, sample code, tools, etc. And, specific SDKs can only be used in those particular platforms only.

The Android SDKs can only be used in Android Platforms and on the other hand, the iOS SDK can be used only in the iOS platforms. It helps in many ways like, it helps the developer to read codes, cooperates with other SDKs as well, functions well to develop, is easy to use, etc.

SDK has been sub-divided into five types and are Platform SDKs, Analytics SDK, Monetization SDKs, Extension SDKs, and Programming Language-Specific SDKs. We can say that SDKs works as the main head Post office where the other tools work as the postmen.


Main Differences Between API and SDK

  1. API acts as the loop that helps to communicate with different tools while on the other hand, SDK is used to run the application.
  2. API can never create an application, as it requires other tools as well while on the other hand, SDK together with API and other tools can create an application or website.
  3. API is known to be the interface of the process while on the other hand, SDK is one of the main tools.
  4. Some modifications can be done via API while on the other hand, SDK can combine the tools for usage.
  5. Windows API is one of the examples of API while on the other hand, one example of SDK is the Windows 7 SDK.
Difference Between API and SDK
  1. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-60033-8_58
  2. https://dl.acm.org/doi/abs/10.1145/2597008.2597155

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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