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What Is an SDK?

In the mobile landscape, a software development kit (SDK) is a collection of software that enables app developers to add functionality, often developed by external entities, to their apps.

SDKs enable programmers to develop apps for a specific platform or to enhance them with more features.
Key Takeaways:
  • An SDK is packaged code that developers use to build software and applications
  • SDKs allow developers to quickly build features into their app without a lot of manual work
  • Mobile SDKs enable integration with other systems while keeping critical functionality secure

How Does a Mobile Software Development Kit Work?

First things first, software development kits must consider an application’s platform, operating system, and development framework to be compatible. If it is compatible, developers can proceed with the SDK integration process.

Company A provides Company B with a mobile SDK to integrate into its app. The SDK allows developers from Company B to perform actions developed by Company A in a streamlined manner. This simplifies app and product development.

diagram of how apps function with and without an SDK

An SDK might, for example, perform actions such as sending log data to a centralized system or keeping track of events triggered within an app.

What Is in a Software Development Kit? 

Typically, mobile SDKs contain things such as 

  • API calls – to make requests to the relevant web services
  • Libraries – code for abstracting away functions and features
  • Documentation and guides on how developers can use the SDK and integrate it into their apps
  • Code samples – how to use the APIs and libraries included

Altogether, with these included, mobile developers can create applications much more efficiently.

Why Use an SDK?

Mobile SDKs allow developers to add features they may not have access to within their organization, or it gives them access to a range of tools to improve their app development efficiency. This enhanced efficiency results in a quicker time to market and higher-quality products, without building everything from scratch.

Besides this superior efficiency, some software development kits offer app developers the ability to:

  • place ads inside their mobile app or add a tracking solution to monitor an app’s marketing efforts
  • collect, aggregate, and analyze data about user behavior and errors encountered, for example
  • manage the product’s integration with other apps while keeping critical functionality secure
closeup of a person holding a phone  with descriptive text describing why developers should use an SDK for their apps

What Is the Difference Between API and SDK?

There are several different ways developers use an application programming interface (API). Some use API and SDK interchangeably. An API may refer to a set of libraries that form the core of the programming language or framework that a developer uses. It may also mean a web service that is used by some client application. An SDK may be provided to facilitate the use of an API. 

Both represent a way for your program to interface with, and control, resources provided by an external system.


By offering prebuilt packages and libraries, mobile SDKs enable mobile developers to streamline the app development process significantly – without needing to build an application completely from scratch. Software development kits also enhance the efficiency and quality of the app they’re trying to build. 

This gives developers the time they need to focus on improving the user experience of the app they’re trying to build.


What Is an SDK?

SDK stands for “software development kit”, which is a set of tools for third-party developers to create applications that use a specific framework or platform.

Why Use SDKs?

Without an SDK, many prebuilt functions would have to be created from scratch. With mobile SDKs, you can not only efficiently create new tools, but also simplify the process for everyone involved.

What Is the Difference between API and SDK?

There are several different ways devs use API. Some people use API and SDK interchangeably. An API is a set of libraries that form the core of the language that you can work with immediately, while a software development kit (SDK) facilitates the use of an API.

What Is Included in a Software Development Kit?

SDKs include, among other things, documentation, APIs, code samples, libraries and processes, and developer guides.

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