Chat APIs and SDKs: What’s the difference and What to choose?

Published On January 17th, 2023 Engineering

If you’re planning to develop an app or to add features like real-time communication to your website, Chat APIs and SDKs are the two terms you will often hear while discussing how to integrate different systems. But, the common misconception on whether to use a chat SDK or an chat API has been unidentified for most of the consumers. In reality, chat APIs and SDKs are bound to overlap, that makes it a bit confusing while comparing them or choosing between them. There are also situations where the best solution will require both.

Are you planning to integrate a real-time communication solution to your app or website? Read on to understand chat APIs and SDKs, how they vary, and how to exploit them.

What Is A Chat API?

Chat API delivers you the access to back-end chat services and service infrastructure with the broad features and stability needed to smoothly embed real-time communication solutions inside your app or website at a scale to suit your requirements from a confidential conversation to a very large chat group.

What Is A Chat SDK?

Chat SDKs is the Software Development Kit that enables you to include an instant messaging software to your website and android or iPhone app. The Chat SDK kit supports you with every feature that can make your messaging simple, from creating your own real-time messaging solution to launching a virtual event through the live video calls and conferencing. It also provides the users with the freedom to communicate swiftly, so that they build a community.

What is an SDK

What’s The Difference Between A Chat API And SDK?  

Chat APIs can be added to an established software or an app  as required, depending on the use case. These APIs offer assistance for advanced features such as, chat integration, customizable themes, moderation tools, anti-spam, chat history, typing indicators and read receipts, webhooks and announcements.

Whereas, a Chat SDK that provides you full information about your users’ data and end-to-end control of all the codes involved in the setup. The quick integration facility lets you get a complete UI framework. It also offers modular architecture to customize UI frameworks for advanced users.

Chat SDK is considered as the origin of almost every type of program that modern users usually use to interact with, for instance, CONTUS MirrorFly’s chat SDK offers real-time messaging solution. From the quick messaging option on your web browser to in-app chats on video games, almost everything works on CONTUS MirrorFly’s Chat SDKs.

A Helpful Analogy

To use an analogy here, you can think about baking a cake. Before starting to cook, you will need a recipe that provides you with the instructions and guidelines. Now let us assume the recipe here as the chat APIs. A recipe will contain a set of instructions to bake the cake; similarly chat APIs comprise a set of programming instructions that can be utilized to create an online application or real-time communication solutions.

Sometimes you won’t feel like baking a cake from scratch. Or else you might aim for a triple-tier cake but you won’t have the essential skills to bake it. In such cases, a premade cake will be your best suitable option.

To understand it better, a premade cake is what a chat SDK is. It offers you all the tools, including pieces of code that you need to build a product or application. Chat SDKs contain a toolset that can be created with a specific programming language for a particular platform and is equipped to interact with the essential services.

How to Choose between Chat API and Chat SDK?

With technology transforming to the cloud, the use of chat APIs and SDKs has turned out to be popular nowadays. For instance, the social media widgets are the APIs of the respective platform embedded in the websites, mailers, and any communication security businesses send out to their customers.

Also Read: How to Build a Social Media App? | 7 Top Social Media App Features

Also, messaging SDKs are being used to create real-time communication solutions and providers like CONTUS MirrorFly  to fetch their customers in industries such as finance, healthcare and telecom, etc with what they are looking for.

To understand this with an example, let us assume that you have an e-commerce app. The communication between the sellers and customers can be effectively carried out using a real-time chat software. Now, how to integrate this software within your app? The answer is Chat APIs. It makes your work simple and also enhances the customer’s delight. Therefore, Chat APIs can be added and customised in your platform as per your own preferences. You just need to integrate a set of tools depending on the services you offer like instant messaging between the customers and vendors.

Now, if you want to design and incorporate all these functionality by yourself, you will be incurred with extravagant costs and also require a lot of time to set it up and running. Choosing a service provider like CONTUS Mirrorfly’s Chat API, helps you get the job done quickly and cost-effectively.

All of these APIs can act individually like building blocks, allowing developers to construct the missing components in the applications. Whereas an SDK contains a variety of utilities along with these APIs that includes accelerometer support, camera support, multi-touch events and controls, and other graphical control elements.

SDKs are powerful tools mainly used to create new applications since they include a variety of utilities. However, chat APIs cannot create any brand new chat applications.


To sum up, whenever you’re communicating through a messaging platform, you will always need to use Chat APIs and SDKs. Often, the chat API service will be made available as part of an SDK that you can usually choose to use or not.

Be it any industry, containing an individual communication wing is the only way to benefit the business and not the other way around. Even temporary issues like video-chat app challenges and problematic hurdles like HIPAA compliance can be embarked upon by an effective digital infrastructure provider.

The challenges of in-app chat solutions exist and might be bitter to solve, but the promises are even sweeter with CONTUS MirrorFly real-time communication solutions. Refine your business today by integrating an in-app chat platform with our best solutions.

Saravanan J

Saravanan, a product marketing enthusiast, channels his passion into creating impactful strategies and approaches that redefine the modern messaging experience for users. His wholehearted exploration of in-app communication reflects his commitment to the field.

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