Explainer: What is an SDK for?

May 27, 2015
Archived, Productivity

Does the term ‘SDK’ evoke images in your mind of a technical wizard creating something powerful, big, complex and geeky? Transforming crazy ideas into real software? It did for me too.

When confronted with the impending release of TeamViewer’s Screen sharing SDK for iOS and Android last year, the first thing that came to my mind was, “What’s an SDK again?”

I’m happy to say, the answer is actually not that difficult. Here is what I have since learned about SDKs – from a non-developer’s perspective.

That’s what SDK is all about

Wikipedia defines an SDK as follows:

“a software development kit (SDK or “devkit”) is typically a set of software development tools that allows the creation of applications for a certain software package, software framework, hardware platform, computer system, video game console, operating system, or similar development platform.”

Based on my experience helping to write the documentation for the screen sharing SDK, I would define an SDK as follows: a software development kit (or SDK) is a package of files, tools, and code that allow users to develop applications for a given purpose.

The SDK is like a “ZIP file” for code snippets. It contains all necessary components that are needed for running its dedicated functionality.

This “ZIP file” can be integrated into the development of one’s own applications.”

Example of an SDK in action

Let me give you an example: Last year, TeamViewer released the Screen sharing SDK for iOS and Android.

This SDK contains a bundle of TeamViewer features for connecting to mobile apps and includes remote control, screen sharing, file transfer, and more.

These features are contained within files, libraries, and code files. Think of the SDK as a small TeamViewer app with limited functionality and without a graphical user interface.

To make use of this small TeamViewer app, a developer has to build an interface and embed the SDK into his own app.

The SDK along with a user interface can create something like the app below.

The app (whatever its purpose might be) includes a help button.

  1. If a user taps on it, a support request is created within a dedicated TeamViewer account.
  2. As soon as a supporter connects to the request, the user is able to allow access to his mobile device.
  3. The supporter can then provide remote support by pointing the user in the right direction or by taking over control of the device to accomplish the task at hand directly.

When the issue is resolved, the supporter closes the connection and is no longer able to access the device.

Remotely support mobile devices from your pc1.

Allow a supporter to access and support your mobile device2.

Request help from without a mobile app3.

This way, by using the TeamViewer SDK, any app developer or distributer can provide seamless and easy support to the customers of his apps.

Can I use the Screen sharing SDK myself?

Now that you partly know what an SDK is, you may be asking yourself if the TeamViewer SDK is something for you.

If you can answer “yes” to the following questions, you should consider telling a developer about the TeamViewer Screen sharing SDK for iOS and Android:

  • Are you developing mobile apps for Android or iOS?
  • Do you (or a vendor) provide technical support for your apps?
  • Do you struggle with having to explain to the user what to do?
  • Do you want to connect to your app and show the user how to solve his or her problem?

Go for it

Next, you should tell a developer about what you have found out. More information can be found on https://integrate.teamviewer.com. To keep it simple: It is free of charge, simple to implement, and powerful.

Try TeamViewer and the TeamViewer Screen sharing SDK for iOS/Android, today.

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