What’s the difference: Chat SDK vs. chat API
Chat APIs and chat SDKs are both used to incorporate chat functionality into apps, but they’re used at different points in app development and for different purposes.
Chat API (application programming interface)
A chat API is a set of rules and protocols that allow applications to communicate and interact over a network. It allows developers to integrate and execute chat-related actions in their app, such as sending and receiving messages, managing conversations, and accessing chat data.
A chat API allows developers to build messaging features without implementing the entire chat system themselves. Instead, they use the API to make requests to the servers of the messaging service provider (e.g., Verizon) to enable instantaneous communication and data storage.
A chat API is an easier, quicker way to implement messaging in apps through seamless access to third-party services. Providers of chat APIs offer ready-to-use code resources, documentation, and chat SDKs to streamline the process of implementing chat functionalities into apps.
Chat SDK (software development kit)
A chat SDK is a collection of software tools and resources that help developers integrate chat functionality into their application. A chat SDK provides pre-built components (e.g., user interfaces, data models, authentication mechanisms) that simplify the implementation of messaging features, such as push notifications, text messages, and typing indicators. This expedites development, as ready-made and reusable components don’t need to be coded from scratch.
A chat SDK allows for greater control over the user interface (UI) and user experience, making it easy for developers to create customized chat experiences that match the look and feel of an existing app. SDKs are a popular way for developers to build unique chat features that exceed basic messaging features while ensuring a seamless user experience.
Chat APIs and chat SDKs offer different levels of customization and control over in-app chat functionality. APIs allow for messaging to be easily implemented by seamlessly accessing third-party services. SDKs offer a toolkit for building chat functionality from the ground up, with a special focus on designing custom chat experiences.
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