What Is an SDK?
Let’s say you want to build something – a birdbath, a computer, or maybe for your own freaking house, because you’re living in a most populated capital city of India i.e. New Delhi. And, you are sick of a ten thousand per cent markup on real estate. Anyways, you wouldn’t build any of that stuff without the proper tools. Right?
You cannot exactly stack a bunch of lumber together and hope to live in it. Well, the same concept is true in software development. I mean, make sure it is possible to completely write your code from scratch but it would be an incredibly tedious and time-consuming process for developers.
To do this, every time, they came up with a new idea. Imagine having to plant grow and harvest your wheat every time you wanted a delicious slice of raisin toast. So, in a previous episode, we covered API’s which are pieces of software that one program uses to interface with another making programming a heck of a lot easier.
But, what about the front end interface, the tools that developers sit down. And, use will these often come in the form of a software development kit or SDK. Think of it as a virtual toolbox. But, instead of pliers and a hammer, you will typically find files called libraries.
Which are essentially pieces of code that help a program play nicely? With whatever platform, it’s on such as the libraries in the Windows SDK, which allow programmes to make calls to the operating system to get it to perform certain functions easily without having to tediously code them manually.
Other common SDK tools include visual editors. So, that a developer can design and layout, graphical elements like buttons and text boxes. Easily with tutorials and sample code, so that a developer can become familiar with the platform that they are coming on and debuggers that help developers find errors.
And, ommissions in their code, but SDKs are not limited to just making programs on Windows or Smartphone apps. On an individual SDK is often a heavily customized or their platform such as the Cosmo SDK from the robotics company – Anki.
Which can be used to harness the cameras of the robot for facial recognition and spatial awareness, or animate the robot to make it say or do certain things or plan out a movement path to make it easy for the robot to avoid obstacles. All with just a few lines of codes, instead of having to create from scratch and become an expert in artificial intelligence.
And, even on other platforms, you are not limited to just using one SDK. If you are looking to create something like next Whatsapp or Instagram for example, there are lots of different iOS and Android SDKs that specialize in different types of apps. There are chat focussed SDKs, but make it easy to create notifications or speech balloons, image editing SDKs, that allow you to make certain photo effects and filters available without having to code them yourself.
And, video chat SDKs, that make it easy for the app to talk to your phone’s camera indeed. The wide availability of different kinds of SDKs, today means that you don’t need to have graduated with honours from a computer science program to create your software.
Though, some knowledge of programming language is often necessary specifically Java for Android objective-c or Swift for iOS and C-sharp for windows are great places to start. But, if you take the time to learn how to code SDKs, could make it possible for you to land a gig as a developer somewhere or hit the top fo the Plat Store as an individual app developer. Though if you don’t hit the top of the play store, maybe it’s that your idea was wrong. So, here’s a free suggestion, how about making your app.
Why Use SDKs in Programming?
Software Development Kits, by now, you are quite familiar with this term or you may have also heard this term before. But, essentially it’s a downloadable tool kit that you can use in your vote let’s get started formerly an SDK. It is a downloadable tool kit that contains libraries to perform common tasks for a specific platform. And, code ultimately, it allows you to build and maintain applications without writing everything from scratch. But, still getting the functionality, you want what does that mean?
Imagine in your program or real life you are baking a cake, one part of a software development kit might be the pre-made cake mix. This cake mix has pre-built functionality or pre-build ingredients that allow you to achieve an angle in this case baking a cake. An SDK in itself is a kit, if you think about putting together a model car or plane, you need a kit with the pieces, the tools, to put them together with instructions and more. An SDK or a death kit functions in the same way, providing a set of tools, libraries and relevant documentation that allow developers to create software applications on a specific platform.
Think iOS and Android while allowing them to use the software in more dynamic ways. So, what is an actual SDK? It’s a downloadable package that may contain libraries sample, code and documentation allowing you to build more complicated applications without spending time on the tedious code that has already been written before. Let’s take a look at an example of an SDK from Facebook. One SDK they have is the Facebook Login SDK. This allows users to log in to an app. Using their Facebook login instead of creating your version of a log, you can just use Facebook’s and since Facebook has many users, more people will probably be likely to use the Facebook Login versus another type of Login.
Now, we have to decide what platform we want to use. The Facebook SDK, or so if we scroll down here, they have an Android SDK, a react SDK, all these different SDKs that we can use, so let’s say we want to use the Android SDK. We will go ahead and click that and then click view – SDKs and there, we go, we see that login Facebook, Login SDKs we can go ahead and click that and here we go now we have a way to add Facebook Login. To our app or website or in this case our Android app with this page. You can now download the SDK and add it to your mobile apps, login functionality, so again we will click Android here.
Now, we have instructions on how to download the SDK. So, we can add it to our mobile app after downloading it. You will be able to read more document to figure out how to make the most of this software development kit from Facebook. So, if we go back, you will be able to see all of these essential guides that will help you understand what this SDK can do. Now, without Nestea K you would have to code everything from scratch.
This means if you are baking a cake you would not only need to get all of the ingredients yourself but you would need to create the recipe and then build your cooking tools for the model car kit. You would need to create the instructions, the pieces themselves and the tools needed to put it together. Thus, an SDK can be very helpful in adding functionality to your applications and learning how to code. You are going to hear a lot of technical terms like SDK on this website.
Technical Definition of SDK & Conclusion
The technical definition of Software Development Kit is a set of tools used for developing applications for specific operating systems. When a developer sets out to create an app instead of building it all from scratch, which programs have been built in the past, they can use in developing their app. Most of your favourite apps are made up of SDKs. Here, are some examples of some SDKs that you have probably interacted with before Google has multiple SDKs. For example, including Google Maps where the lab creates viral marketing features for your app. Like referral programs and chatbox Facebook has an SDK that allows you to add facebook login to your app. So, what exactly is included in an SDK?
In an SDK, you will find documentation which describes the program to the user developer. It is a step by step overview of how to integrate the SDK. You will also find libraries of pre-written code that a developer can call upon to incorporate into their code. And, an application programming interface. More commonly known as an API. Which is a standard for requesting services from another application? If you are using an SDK. You need to make sure that whichever program you are hooked up to is always working and that all information is passed through is up to date.
The API make sure that this is the case, but what does this all mean? Let’s compare app-building to building a house. Let’s say you buy a house and you want to knock it down and do a full remodel when you are building the new house. You likely won’t do from scratch. You might. But that will take a lot of time and cost a lot of money. Instead, you would build off the old houses, infrastructure. Before actually building the house, you are going to think about the space room by room, each room will be a separate project of sorts eventually all time the entire house together. Let’s use the bathroom as an example, with planning and building the bathroom, you would use a bathroom development kit or BDK.
This BDK will include the tools to help you build your new bathroom. It will also include a bathroom module. I said bathroom fixtures, a sink, a toilet, a shower, your documentation will then teach you to step that how to apply the kind. How to connect the new bathroom pictures to the old pipe in the libraries. Would be the old floor plans that you can build your new bathroom on top of using these old plans. You will notice the full infrastructural layout of the bathroom.
You will know how all the piping work. So, you will know where everything goes. You will know where to put the shower, the toilet and the sink. The custom code is the final bathroom which includes the libraries. The old infrastructure, the new fixtures that you place on top of the infrastructure and your noob code. Which connects the fixtures to the piping. The API would be the piping that connects the bathroom and the rest of the house to the city’s water supply water or information in the case of an app is constantly flowing through these pipes as a constant stream of communication. The API ensures that the SDK is always working and always up to date.
Think of SDKs like building blocks, each SDK serves a specific function. The house is made up of different rooms for each different room there might be a different development kit to use. For example, a kitchen development kit, apps are made up of multiple SDKs. However, the special sauce is how you use the SDK, how you alter it and make it work within your app to create value for your users. A hundred people might have used the same bathroom development kit, so each of those 100 bathrooms will be different and unique.