The Difference Between a SDK and an API (With Examples)

When it comes to developing a seamless web or mobile app experience for your customer, leveraging SDK and API features are a necessity. 

You may have heard of the terms before, both SDK and API are used in almost every application we use today – including the Loop Platform.

In fact, if you’re a business looking to create an application or add features to your website and app,  it’s important to understand the differences, distinguish which one is relevant to your initiative and when to implement it.

In this blog post, we define API and SDK, share the differences and what you can expect with the incorporation of the Loop Experience Platform.

What is an API?

An Application Programming Interface, commonly referred to as API, is the connection between one software or data source to another. Think of it as the middle man, or translator that takes two complex pieces of software, communicates between them and makes it easily understandable and streamlined for the end-user.

Today, API functionalities are used in almost every application, including applications like Facebook Messenger, Travel Booking Engines, Google Word, Twitter, and more. It’s a standard interface used by virtually everyone. And, in the case of Loop, it is the component that provides system access to core operational and administrative functions of the hosted software platform – allowing you to pull specific elements of the Loop solution into your app for a streamlined end-user experience. 

When Would You Use an API?

Consider the most popular example of API, a travel booking platform. When you first visit a travel booking site, you select your travel dates and destination. The website pulls several options from various airlines without redirecting you.

In this instance, the booking platform is using an API to pull information that you requested from various airlines. If you purchase a flight your payment is usually processed using an API, in addition, the confirmation you receive via text or email is likely sent with an API.

In the case of the Loop Platform, an example of an API would be when a customer reaches out on their channel of choice and you see it in your inbox. In addition, API can be used for survey integration in an email or text thread.

What is SDK?

Software Development Kit, otherwise known as SDK, is exactly what it suggests, a comprehensive kit. This provides developers with the tools, resources, processes and more, to build out software programs. It’s a toolbox, that is more advanced than a standard API, and in fact, uses API as a key tool. 

In addition, as opposed to being a single form of communication, with SDK, developers can build out full applications or specific elements of an application. In most instances, these will require, platform-specific SDK’s. With Loop specifically, for instance, you can build out desired customer surveys and place them within branded iOS and Android apps. It simplifies the experience for developers and provides a seamless aesthetic survey for customers without the collateral uplift. 

When Would You Use SDK?

As mentioned, you would use an SDK if a developer was to create a specific application or build an element of a software solution. A great example would be if you’re looking to create a specific application for a device; Android SDK would be needed to build an Android app, and an iOS to build an iOS app.  

When it comes to Loop, a great example is Loop Pulse iOS SDK. This offers a convenient way to launch surveys in your mobile app with custom surveys for the mobile use case while minimizing the data the user is required to enter. Using this SDK developers can embed surveys with ease.

The Main Differentiators

API’s Cannot Create a Brand New Application

Unlike SDK, an API is simply a form of communication between two software. It can serve as a mediator but it cannot create an entirely new application or do anything outside a communication scope. While the API remains a single connection, an SDK is a whole suite of tools and coding that is designed for a single motivation. 

SDK’s Usually Contain API’s

API’s provide a specific function and are great for adding specific features – which is why they’re usually part of an SDK toolkit. SDK’s are great for developers looking to build an application from scratch and will almost always contain an API.  

The Benefits of Loop SDK and API 

Developer Friendly

Allow your developers to set up in minutes, Loop SDK and API come with documentation and step-by-step guidance from a dedicated customer success team member. Create a customized survey from scratch that references all the question types you’re looking for, or implement messaging features. Our knowledge base is regularly updated, and a team member is always on hand so you’re never left in the dark.

Deploy Surveys And Modify In Real-Time

In addition to a quick setup, you can deploy world-class surveys in an instant. Once you’ve created your survey, watch it go live – while having the ability to modify it in real-time so you’re always meeting customer expectations. With the Loop platform, you can start collecting valuable feedback while the experience is top of mind and obtain insight that can help you understand where to allocate time and resources while providing an unparalleled experience.

Meet Customers At Key Touchpoints In Their Unique Journey

Set time-based and event-based triggers for surveys. With Loop SDK, you can show the user any experience based on which page or what action they take within the app. For example, after a successful purchase, a price satisfaction question can be shown or a live chat can be started once a user goes back and forth between multiple pages, asking them if they need help finding what they are looking for.

In addition, you can set up predefined time intervals to show a specific experience to a random percentage of your users. For instance, set the in-app feedback to prompt a user within 5 minutes after they open the app. Once shown, that user will not receive this specific prompt again, but more can be configured on the Loop console without having to modify the app.

Customize The Entire Experience

Whether you’re looking to incorporate a quick NPS survey or a full experience survey with multiple question types, you can customize it using Loop SDK. Want to keep your survey on brand? Leverage your logo, add your corporate colours, tweak one of our templates – with Loop edits are possible whenever you need and show up in real-time – so you continuously evolve your survey with the customer top of mind.

Are you ready to start collecting feedback? Contact us today to explore Loop API and SDK.

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