SDK stands for "Software Development Kit".
But in order to understand SDKs, we need to take a step back and talk about APIs first.
So what’s an API? An API ("Application Programming Interface") is a piece of code that allows two apps to communicate with each other.
You can see an SDK as a toolbox that unites different APIs and libraries. Mobile App SDKs usually contain multiple APIs that work together.
In other words: You add a SDK to your app by adding a few lines of code. Your app can now communicate to 3rd party services via APIs.
All successful mobile apps have integrated a wide range of SDKs.
SDKs empower mobile apps. They enable sophisticated analytics, e.g. heatmaps, or allow your app to send push notifications.
In doing so, you get more information about the performance of your app. If your app can communicate with 3rd party services, you can reach a bigger audience and join a network that is full of opportunities.
A simple example of a mobile app SDK is the option to login to an app via a Facebook account. The app communicates with Facebook to confirm the data transmission.
A more complex example are analytics SDKs. For example, the UXCam SDK captures all user interactions of an app to provide customers with actionable UX insights.
For a list of essential SDK vendors, download our Complete SDK Guide here.