What is a software development kit (SDK)?

Glossary What is a software development kit (SDK)...

What does SDK stand for?

SDK stands for software development kit. An SDK is a set of tools to build software for a particular platform. These tools also allow an app developer to build an app which can integrate with another program–i.e. a mobile measurement partner (MMP) like Adjust.

SDKs not only let developers create new tools efficiently, but also make the process easier because everything is pre-built. New features just need to be made compatible with the current system.

There are two types of mobile SDKs:

Open source SDK: Code that the public has access to.

Closed source SDK: Code that is closely guarded and not easily accessible.

Tools in a software development kit

Some common tools that may be included in an SDK are:

  • Libraries: Code for common functions and features, such as user interface controls, networking, and data storage.
  • Debugging tools: Find and fix issues in the code.
  • Documentation: Information on how to use the various components of the SDK.
  • Integrated development environments (IDEs): Tools for writing, testing, and debugging code.
  • Testing frameworks: Test code to ensure that it works correctly.
  • Plug-ins: Integrations with popular development environments like Eclipse, Visual Studio, or Xcode.
  • Application programming interface (API): Interact with various features and services of the platform or language.
  • Sample code: A demonstration of how to use the APIs and libraries provided in the SDK.

These are just a few examples of the tools that might be included in an SDK. The specific tools and resources included in a mobile SDK will depend on the platform or programming language that it’s designed for.


While an SDK and an API are related, they serve different purposes. An SDK is used to create applications for a specific platform or programming language. An SDK typically includes an API, but it also includes other resources like documentation, sample code, and development tools.

On the other hand, an API is a set of protocols, routines, and tools that specify how software components should interact with each other. An API provides a way for developers to access specific features or services of a system or application. APIs can be used to communicate with software libraries, web services, and operating systems.

How to use an SDK

A mobile SDK is typically integrated into the app by a developer. The SDK code can be added to the app directly. Throughout the development process, the developer may use debugging tools and testing frameworks provided in the kit to ensure that their code is working correctly.

SDKs and Adjust

Adjust’s open-source mobile SDK hosts a ton of features which stand out from the rest. For starters, you only have to integrate one SDK to begin tracking. The integration process is quick and functions on whatever platform or framework you have.

We support SDKs for multiple platforms, including an Android SDK, Windows SDK, and an iOS SDK! With the Adjust SDK integrated, you unlock conversion tracking, session analysis, and standard usage KPIs – all in about five minutes.

We work hard to minimize the size of our SDK, ensuring that it won’t take up much space on your app. Although the size of the Adjust SDK will vary depending on your integration, you can expect it to add around 50-60 kb to an Android app and between 600 kb (through CocoaPods) and 2,600 kb (through Carthage) to an iOS app.

In November 2022, Adjust was the first-to-market with our SKAN 4-ready SDK, supporting the key functionalities, new features, and measurement capabilities of SKAN 4.

Our SDKs can be found on Github. Being open source allows developers to see exactly what will be integrated. We also take every possible measure to ensure that our SDK is secure: All communications from our SDK are encrypted, and we privately host the servers which handle your data instead of utilizing the cloud.

Adjust’s web SDK facilitates the tracking specifically of installs, sessions, and events that occur in web apps or on a web page. This enables marketers to track their campaigns from the very first ad view, to a landing page, and then to events–regardless of whether they occur on desktop or mobile web. Activities that occur in different views can therefore be tied together.

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