Re: writing an SDK

Subject: Re: writing an SDK
From: Chris Gooch <chris -dot- gooch -at- lightworkdesign -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 13 Apr 2005 11:16:01 +0100

Well I took a bit of a kicking there didn't I?

Guy wrote:

> Go to Google and ask it
> define: sdk

Hmm... ok


SDK: Short for software development kit, a programming package that enables
a programmer to develop applications for a specific platform. Typically an
SDK includes one or more APIs, programming tools, and documentation.

Or then of course somone mentioned Gordon & Gordon's
course on writing API docs, here's a quick summary they
did for the STC:

Question: What is the difference between an application programming
interface and a software development kit?
Answer: Documentation, mostly.

Bill said:

> No, your statement that "an SDK is an API with docs" is completely
> There is a big difference between a SDK (software development kit) and
> an API (application programming interface). The former allows you to
> develop applications. The latter allows you to leverage third party
> functionality via function calls into a 3rd party component from
> within the application you're developing. The two are very, very
> different.

Look, I don't want to be all defensive, but this is misleading. You develop
applications by making calls to third party libraries; e.g., WIndows,
OpenGL, etc. Whether they are "third party" or related to the operating
is not relevant to whether something is an API or an SDK. Likewise there's
no reason why a compiler or IDE that a programmer uses has to be supplied
by the same people as the operating system, hardware, or multiple third
APIs. An SDK is _not_ the same as a programming environment / compiler /
IDE. Which is not to say that an SDK wouldn't have to include some
compilation tools if it were not compiled as a set of libraries that can
be linked to directly on the developer's intended platform (which I think is
what Susan Gallaghers piece is trying to say).

I think there are enough angels on this particular pin now.


Christopher Gooch, Technical Author
LightWork Design, Sheffield, UK.


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