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SDK vs. JDK: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on February 13, 2024
SDK (Software Development Kit) is a collection of software tools and libraries for building applications on specific platforms, while JDK (Java Development Kit) is a specific type of SDK for developing Java applications.

Key Differences

An SDK (Software Development Kit) is a comprehensive set of tools and libraries designed to develop applications for a specific platform or framework. It includes utilities, documentation, code samples, and APIs. In contrast, the JDK (Java Development Kit) is a specialized SDK specifically for developing Java applications, including tools like a compiler and a Java Runtime Environment (JRE).
SDKs are available for various platforms, including mobile (iOS, Android), desktop, and web applications, each tailored to the specific requirements of the platform. The JDK, however, is focused solely on Java, providing tools and libraries specifically for Java development, such as the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) and Java APIs.
With an SDK, developers get a range of tools for a broad spectrum of development needs, including UI design, testing, and integration with other services. On the other hand, the JDK provides Java-specific utilities like javac (the Java compiler) and tools for Java documentation and debugging.
SDKs often include APIs that allow integration with third-party services or platforms, facilitating a wider scope of application functionality. The JDK includes the Java API, an extensive collection of ready-to-use Java libraries for various functions like networking, data structures, and GUI development.
In terms of usability, SDKs can vary greatly depending on the platform they are intended for, requiring developers to familiarize themselves with each specific kit. The JDK, while also requiring learning, has a more consistent environment as it is solely focused on Java development.

Comparison Chart

Full Form

Software Development Kit
Java Development Kit


Develop applications for specific platforms
Develop Java applications


Tools, libraries, APIs, documentation
Java compiler, JVM, Java libraries, tools for Java


Broad, for various platforms
Specific to Java development

Typical Use Case

Mobile, desktop, web development
Java-based software development

SDK and JDK Definitions


A set of software tools for building applications.
The Android SDK provides essential tools for developing Android apps.


Tools for Java application development, debugging, and documentation.
Developers use JDK tools for efficient Java programming and debugging.


Designed for application development on a specific platform.
They downloaded the iOS SDK for their mobile app project.


A toolkit for developing Java applications.
He installed the JDK to start coding in Java.


Tools for integrating with external services and APIs.
The SDK made it simple to integrate with third-party APIs.


A tool for converting Java source code into bytecode.
The JDK's javac compiler was used to build the application.


A collection of pre-written code and utilities for software development.
The SDK included libraries that made UI development easier.


Part of JDK that includes tools for executing Java programs.
The JDK includes a JRE for testing Java applications.


Manuals and guides for software development.
The SDK came with comprehensive documentation for new developers.


A set of standard Java classes and interfaces.
The JDK provides a rich set of Java libraries for various functionalities.


Do SDKs come with integrated development environments (IDEs)?

Some SDKs may include or integrate with IDEs, but not all do.

What is an SDK used for?

An SDK is used for developing applications on specific platforms or frameworks.

What programming languages does the JDK support?

The JDK primarily supports Java programming language.

Are SDKs free to use?

Many SDKs are free, but some may have licensing fees, especially for commercial use.

Is JDK necessary for running Java applications?

JDK is necessary for developing Java applications, but running them typically requires only a Java Runtime Environment (JRE).

Can I develop Android apps with the JDK?

While the JDK is a part of Android app development, you also need the Android SDK specifically for Android apps.

Is JDK compatible with all operating systems?

JDK is available for major operating systems like Windows, macOS, and Linux.

Can SDKs be platform-independent?

Some SDKs are platform-independent, but most are designed for specific platforms.

Can you use SDKs for both frontend and backend development?

Yes, some SDKs are suitable for both frontend and backend development.

Can I use multiple SDKs in a single project?

Yes, developers often use multiple SDKs in a single project for various functionalities.

What's the difference between JDK and Java SE?

Java SE (Standard Edition) includes JDK as a part of it, along with other components for Java development.

Is it possible to create an SDK?

Yes, organizations or individuals can create their own SDKs to facilitate the development of applications that integrate with their services or products.

How often do SDKs get updated?

SDKs are updated regularly, depending on the platform and developer community needs.

Can SDKs be specific to a certain type of application?

Yes, SDKs can be specific to particular types of applications, like mobile apps, games, or cloud services.

Does JDK include a graphical user interface?

JDK itself does not include a GUI; it's a set of tools and libraries for development.

Do I need JDK for web development?

JDK is required if you are developing web applications in Java.

Are there any prerequisites for using an SDK?

Prerequisites vary depending on the SDK but often include knowledge of specific programming languages and development environments.

Are there different versions of JDK?

Yes, there are multiple versions of JDK, each with different features and support.

Do I need to update JDK regularly?

It's recommended to update JDK regularly to access new features, performance improvements, and security patches.

Do SDKs always include APIs?

Most SDKs include APIs, but it's not a strict requirement.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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