What is Software Development kit (SDK)?



Senior editor

Parul Saxena

Chief editor

Last updated: May 21, 2021

Software Development Kit is a basic set of tools that can be used to create and develop applications.  Entire software that you create is basically sitting on the platform provided by SDKs.

Why is the Software Development Kit needed at all?

Very much like the way it sounds, it is a kit of software development tools. There are sets of code samples, documentation, guides, and processes, relevant libraries that enables to create software on a specific platform.

SDKs are the original source of code and almost everything in the world of the technological front is made up of SDKs. Right from the web browser to the game that you play, everything is the compact package that comes in the kit.

Conceptually, the basic need of the Software Development Kit is to develop an application on a set platform. The specifications across different platforms like Windows or Linux, etc. are different. The Software Development Kit package comes with a specific set of libraries that can work or execute only on that platform and nowhere else – in some cases not even different versions of the same platform.

SDKs keep upgrading their libraries and properties and part of them goes deprecated after few versions. That is why, from a developer point, it is always insisted that the latest SDKs be downloaded for application development.

Basically, a software developer needs to pull all the data dynamically into their development environment and use the available resources to their full capabilities.

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What is the use of SDK?

This might not be a new world where software developers are considered, and everyone knows how SDKs and APIs have changed the way traditional programming methods are done. Let us go through the finer nuances of how SDKs have made life simpler and how modern programming technologies are evolving daily, thanks to these SDKs.

SDK comprises of the entire package. It has a simple implementation that may be of one or more than one application programming interface (API) which comes in the form of in-built libraries and properties. This helps in creating complex yet hardware-specific tools using the machine level language which can be used for communication with a particular embedded system. Multiple applications over multiple platforms can be made with the help of SDK.

There will be sample codes and documentation that helps in using the code snippets that can be incorporated and used in mainstream development. SDKs come with a finite license and cannot be used with software applications that do not have the valid license key.

What does an SDK contain?

It is straight heaven for software developers who need to use the SDK over a variety of platforms and need a unified code that can be used to create code snippets. And that is what the SDK contains – developer tools. The SDK package consists of source code, documentation, properties, snippets of sample code, relevant libraries that can work on specific platforms.

There are implementations of APIs along with the SDK package that consists of in-built libraries and properties and this help creating tools for specific hardware.

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What is the difference between SDK, API, and NDK?

If you look at it there are not many huge differences as all three are for application development. But let us look at the minor differences that differentiate each from the other.

A larger package for interface over many platforms with a standard interfaceAPIs are used when specific one or two functionalities are needed and not the entire integrated developmentNDK is very much similar to the SDKs except that these are the ones prepared specially for Android
SDK is tightly coupled for specific platforms and are easy to be used. The package won’t work for other platformsAPIs need more coding and programming for multi-platform compatibilityNDKs  are the entire package that is compatible with versions of Android programming
SDKs give better experience and enhancement to the APIs that are implementedAPIs have a limitation where implementation is considered because of finite functionalityNDKs have always helped upgrade over what the APIs have provided making Android use simple and easy
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