April 22, 2015

What is an API and SDK?

The main mobile acronyms to understand: SDK, API, APK and IPA.
Grant Glas
grant@app-press.com

As co-founder and CEO of App Press, Grant created his first app in App Press, and has since built 300 more with over 1M+ downloads.

Remembering a couple key acronyms will help you immensely during any client and developer conversation about building an app. The main mobile acronyms to understand are SDK, API, APK, and IPA

SDK = Software Development Kit

A software development kit ("devkit") is typically a set of software development tools that allows the creation of apps for a specific platform. Typically an SDK includes one or more APIs, programming tools, and documentation.

Ok, what does that mean?

Simple - you want your app to support a cool service like Mapbox. You would take Mapbox’s SDK and use it to build the framework so your app supports Mapbox. In fact, countless companies offer SDKs so you can incorporate their services or framework in your app. SalesForce, Apple, Google the list goes on and on. We can incorporate any SDK into your App Press app.

API = Application Programming Interface

An API is a set of programming instructions and standards for accessing a web tool or database. A software company releases its API to the public so other software developers can design products that are powered by its service. The API is usually packaged in an SDK.

Can that be explained in layman's terms?

You want your web service or database to talk to my app? Use my API. The API are in essence the keys to unlock the service or data from another source. Depending on the API  the key can be used once, anytime, or only to unlock certain doors. That’s why reading through API documentation is very important to understand what the app will be able to do, and how long it will take to build. With App Press, you can connect your app to any service or database as long as our team has the API. If there is no API, you can work with our solutions team to get around that obstacle.

APK = Android & IPA = iOS

APK = Android Application Package

Android application package is the package file format used to distribute and install apps onto Google's Android operating system, and certain other operating systems, such as Blackberry. Simply put - it’s an Android app. When you build an Android app with App Press, we export and send you an APK file.

IPA = iPhone Application Archive

An .ipa file is an iOS application archive file which stores an iOS app. It is usually encrypted with Apple's FairPlay DRM technology. Each .ipa file is compressed with a binary for the ARM architecture and can only be installed on an iOS-device. Simply put - it’s an iOS app. When you build an iOS app with App Press, we export and send you an IPA file.

Still have questions? Contact us to set up a call.

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