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Define: API - Application Program Interface

An application programming interface allows access to the features and data in an application. APIs are typically accessed over a network through a programming language, but other interfaces can expose and consume APIs. The API's entry points define method signatures that we do not own or control, and we only influence how these methods behave by sending specific parameters at certain times. This is why it is essential to lock down the inputs through rigorous testing. We don't want our clients' software applications calling any old API with whatever arguments they see fit!

When you think about an API, what immediately comes to mind? Google Maps, perhaps? If you've used any software featuring location-based services (LBS), then there's a good chance that you've already interacted with Google Maps.

Do you want to learn more about the different SDKs available?

Geolance is a free web platform that lets you find and compare all major software development kits. We've been helping developers make their apps faster, easier to use, and more secure for over ten years.

Geolance has been working with developers for over 20 years to create some of the most popular tools available on the market today. Our team has worked on NodeJS, ReactJS, AngularJS 2+, Node 12+, MongoDB 3+, and many more! So no matter what kind of application you want to make—we've got your back!

Using APIs in Mobile Applications: A More Important Role

Today, many citizens rely on mobile devices to complete various tasks and projects throughout their days. Due to this increase in use, we've tasked ourselves with finding new and innovative ways to deliver information and services that our clients require. Productivity and convenience are two of the most significant factors in answering these needs. As more of our resources become portable, we make our users' demands for instantaneous results. This is where APIs come into play. They allow users the opportunity to receive more targeted information than ever before because it can be delivered straight from the source rather than through a third-party service provider.

Using APIs in Web-based Applications: The Simplest Example

You have specific pages on your website that need to display data, but the data is too voluminous or sensitive to be stored locally. So rather than creating a new service, you decide it's more efficient to use an existing API (e.g., Google Maps) and pull down information as needed.

Let's say you own an eCommerce store, and users must input their home address during checkout for shipping rates to be quoted accurately. If there are 100,000 items available for purchase, then the user would have to spend considerable time wading through options while trying to determine which one they want (if any). Whereas if these 100,000 items were tagged with their prices and availability, the user would only have to search for a particular price point or within a specific range. This helps them make more informed decisions about purchases, resulting in more money for your business!

The Benefits of APIs: What You Need To Know

So you've decided that integrating an API into your existing products is a good idea, but what does this mean? If done right, the benefits can be abundant and include: More targeted data leads to increased conversions. Less overhead means reducing our costs and passing these savings down to our clients. In addition, we're able to tap into third-party resources and use them as though they're our own (thus, less time spent building something from scratch).

API Business Models

Freemium APIs provide a basic level of access with limited features. This is often called the "freemium" model because it's free to use until your needs exceed what is offered. At this point, you'll need to purchase an enhanced package to receive the desired results. Open APIs are typically published by third-party vendors and can include any number of products or services. They're entirely open to anyone who wants access, thus making them perfect for app development purposes. Public APIs - Public APIs are owned by businesses who want their data out there but may not want anyone taking advantage of it. Therefore, they're free to use but only under strict terms and conditions that must be adhered to at all times. Private APIs - Finally, remote APIs are precisely what they sound like: private! As you might have guessed, these are the most restrictive of the bunch because only a select few will ever get access to them.

Things You Need To Know About APIs To Use Them Effectively

To take full advantage of your API resources, you should understand several things before making any final decisions about their implementation: High Availability means increased conversions. Not having enough time is not an excuse for not doing something correctly. Skilled developers demand higher wages. We keep our clients happy by offering competitive rates. If you've got questions or comments about APIs, let us know using the form at the bottom of this page.

SDK vs API

SDK is an abbreviation of Software Development Kit, which will provide software developers with tools to build apps on top of another company's services.

For example, when Facebook decided to open its social networking platform to third-party developers, it initially had a private API that limited its use to approved companies. However, this did not meet the requirements of many startups and small businesses who wanted access to popular APIs like Facebook Login to make their applications more engaging for users.

As a result, Facebook created SDKs for Android and iOS that allowed anyone interested in using them to get past these hurdles without going through any lengthy processes or waiting for approval. This helped promote faster development times while also increasing the potential reach of any app using Facebook's login system.

Way SSL work

Secure Socket Layer is the standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a browser—typically HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure). The SSL protocol uses a public key to encrypt data that's transferred over the web, which provides three main benefits: Authentication ensures that your users are always talking to the correct server Data exchanged remains completely confidential Any actions were taken by users will be attributed to them and no one else.

OAuth definition

OAuth is an open standard for access delegation, which lets users approve third-party requests to access specific information on their accounts. This means that your app can send data to different places and receive it in return.

OAuth definition

After successfully implementing OAuth 1.0a, the spec was updated with even more features in OAuth 2.0—the latest version available today. When using this authorization process, your application must redirect all HTTP traffic to a URL owned by or associated with the service provider (in this case, Facebook). Once it finishes authenticating you and validating any parameters sent with the request, the user will be asked if they want to grant your app access to their account.

JSON definition

JSON stands for JavaScript Object Notation, and it's a widely used standard format that provides a simple way of transmitting data in the form of text strings (e.g., {"name": "Google"}). While it may seem like overkill for such a basic concept, this open-standard format is supported by pretty much any program or programming environment that deals with data, making it highly versatile and helpful in many different situations.

The OAuth Process

To authenticate users through OAuth, you'll need to create an application on Facebook and get an access token from it. This might sound complicated at first, but the actual process only consists of four key steps: Your application sends a request to Facebook asking for permission. Once approved, your credentials are checked against a list of apps you've created. Finally, your app obtains an access token. A token is a string of random numbers and letters representing your app's permissions on Facebook—it can be stored locally or sent with each user request, so it doesn't have to be shipped again.

Hashing

When sensitive data such as passwords, PINs, credit card numbers, etc., are stored in databases, they must remain encrypted at all times. This way, if someone unauthorized does manage to obtain access to this information, they won't use it without having the appropriate decryption key. However, most conventional encryption methods aren't suitable for this task due to their relatively slow speeds, making it easy for hackers to guess the key by trying thousands of possibilities.

Hashing is a more efficient alternative that produces a unique string of characters known as a hash value, which can store passwords and verify that they haven't been tampered with. Instead of using an encryption key, hashing algorithms generate the hash value by running data through several mathematical functions until it produces a uniform output. No one except the owner will ever know what the original plaintext was—no matter how many times you run it through the algorithm. It's also impossible to mathematically derive data from its hash without going over every possible input.

JSON Web Token

JSON web token (JWT) is an open standard (RFC 7519) that defines a compact and self-contained way for securely transmitting information between parties as a JSON object. This information can be verified and trusted because it is digitally signed. JWTs can be signed using a secret (with the HMAC algorithm) or a public/private key pair using RSA SHA-256.

SSL definition

SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer, responsible for establishing secure connections since its inception in 1995. At first, you might think of this as just another protocol that encrypts traffic between your browser and servers on the Internet. Still, it's a lot more than that since it also verifies the identity of those servers, so there is no chance of a man-in-the-middle attack. An extended version known as TLS (Transport Layer Security) works similarly, but it hasn't been as widely adopted by web servers and browsers yet.

ASP.NET Core

ASP.NET Core is a free, open-source Web framework from Microsoft that lets you build modern cloud-based connected Internet applications for Windows Linux. It macOS using .NET Core 2.0 or higher on the server-side and any preferred language on the client-side such as JavaScript/TypeScript, C# or F# on your platform of choice—be it Windows, Linux or macOS. It's completely modular, lightweight, and designed to provide maximum performance with minimal resource consumption.

It's also developed from the ground up to deliver a consistent development experience for those working on Microsoft-based projects and those who prefer open-source technologies such as Linux or macOS. The goal is to ensure that you can use your preferred toolset and development environment to build ASP.NET Core web apps without worrying about compatibility issues, incompatibilities, or performance bottlenecks—regardless of platform.

IoT definition

IoT stands for the Internet of Things, a network of internet-enabled devices that collect and exchange data using embedded sensors and real-time communication over the cloud. It includes everyday objects such as smartphones, coffee makers, doors, air conditioners, etc., and more advanced ones such as wearable devices, smartwatches, smart TVs, drones, self-driving cars, and more.

Web Server

A web server is a software that enables other computers to access files over the World Wide Web. It's also the host of your website that accepts requests from clients such as browsers and responds by serving up those web pages and any other media content requested by those clients so it can be displayed on their screens. The process doesn't have much in common with traditional servers since they don't require you to pre-install an entire operating computer system or run separate software for each client that needs to connect to them. Instead, all the necessary resources are provided entirely by your browser alone.

The HTTP protocol is used for communication between the browser and the web server and between the web server and any other servers that might be required to provide you with your requested content. It also specifies how data is formatted and transmitted to be interpreted correctly by both ends of the connection.

HTTPS

HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure, an encrypted version of HTTP—the primary protocol used on the Internet since its creation in 1991. This ensures that all data passed between a user's computer and a website is unreadable not only by anyone else who might be listening in on their network traffic but also by the site itself or any possible intermediaries such as ISPs (Internet Service Providers) who might try to tamper with messages to and from that site.

When you access a website via HTTPS, your browser first establishes a secure connection with the webserver it's trying to connect to and then verifies that the site is who it claims to be by checking its digital certificate for any signs of tampering or other problems. Should everything check out okay, the data sent between both ends of the connection is encrypted using an encryption cipher such as AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) or Triple DES so all parties involved can read only what they should be able to—nothing more and nothing less.

A Brief Introduction To HTTP/2 Server Push

HTTP/2 server push allows a web server to preemptively send resources required to render a given page directly into your local cache before you even need them. It also ensures that those resources are served using HTTP/2, which is why they're sometimes referred to as preload resources —since the server loads them up and stores them in your browser cache before you can even ask for them.

More precisely, an HTTP/2 connection requires a client and a server—two of those exist on each device with an internet connection: one of these enables you to connect to other computers on the web; the other allows you to download any of its files or run any server-side processes required by websites hosted on it. This is where things get complicated since both parts can only talk using completely different rules depending on their nature—browsers speak HTTP while the webserver speaks the more advanced HTTP/2.

The problem is that not all modern browsers support HTTP/2 yet, so you might be forced to use older and less efficient ciphers such as SPDY or even plain old HTTP/1.1—which means no server push and a high risk of both your site and any other resource required by it becoming inaccessible for those users until they've fully loaded. Fortunately, there's a simple solution available that involves using what's known as preload headers —a particular type of response header that lets you request one or more resources to be transferred ahead of time so they can be stored in your browser cache before you need them.

Reasons to use SDKs

An SDK (Software Development Kit) is a group of libraries and tools that provide you with everything you need to develop and deploy applications written in the programming language that it's known for—in this case, those would be apps built using JavaScript.

There are many different types of SDKs available for all kinds of different purposes—some work only as command-line tools or as web APIs accessible via your browser; others can be installed as packages on your OS (Operating System), such as node-WebKit —which provides bindings allowing you to quickly build cross-platform desktop programs by writing code libraries in HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript.

The main thing they have in common is that these sets of prebuilt software components come complete with everything required for you to not only run your app on any device but also quickly deploy it to the web—all you need is a hosting solution compatible with the specific SDK that you're using.

Reasons to use JSDK

JSDK (JavaScript Development Kit) provides JavaScript developers with everything they need to build and release their apps without worrying about compatibility issues or browser quirks. It's also completely free, open-source, specific platform-independent, works everywhere JavaScript does and is supported by some of the largest companies in the world.

Using JSDK is pretty straightforward. All you have to do is download one of its precompiled packages for your OS, extract it wherever you want on your computer, then access its main file from within your favourite text editor. From there, you can read the documentation provided on its Github repository, then start coding in HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, etc., saving each file with a .html extension under a folder called src.

Once you've finished your app and tested it using any browser compatible with JSDK—the complete list of which is available here —all you have to do is run the SDK's primary executable from within that folder (or wherever else you created it) to build your project into both minified and optimized versions ready for deployment. This can be done either by command line or via GUI (Graphical User Interface)—don't forget to change the filename(s) if necessary before hitting Build since they must be prefixed with the text "build."

This will automatically create a folder called release along with all your files inside it—including index.html if you didn't change its filename (or used the React Native Web App Starter template). That's where everything is compiled into and includes compiled JavaScript, SCSS (Sass), and image assets ready for hosting anywhere since they don't rely on anything else other than JSDK itself to work properly.

SDKs and APIs for app development

Now that you know how to use SDKs, here are some of the most popular—and valuable—SDKs currently available for JavaScript developers: React Native —allows you to build native iOS and Android apps using pure JavaScript. You write your code in JSX, an XML -like language created by the same people who developed React, then compile it before running either on a simulator or an actual device with a pre-installed version of Node.js. If you're familiar with React for the web, this will feel very intuitive since everything is the same except for some little bits here and there! For more information about using React Native specifically, please refer to its official documentation.

Vue.js —a progressive open-source JavaScript framework for building user interfaces. It's very intuitive and straightforward to use, extremely lightweight, completely modular, works on the web as well as in mobile apps with native-like performance, is SEO -friendly supports Server-Side Rendering (no more crawlers getting lost with infinite loops), and boasts an extensive community of users like React Native—all great reasons why you should consider using this SDK for your next project!

For more about Vue.js specifically, please refer to its official documentation.

Node.js —a prevalent cross-platform environment for running server-side JavaScript code outside the browser. Of course, it can do much more than that, too, since it also provides command-line tools to develop and deploy apps that can run on any OS and perform specific functions and work with various databases such as MongoDB MySQL etc.

React Native Web App Starter —a free collection of resources for developing web apps using React with or without JSDK. It includes scripts and configuration files (for Gulp), a starter template (with HTML5, CSS3, JSX, ES6 + syntax support, and React Router) along with all the necessary tools (CodeKit, LiveReload, SauceLabs integration, etc.) required for developing the project; then compiling it into a distributable format (zip/tgz/tar).

React Native app in progress on a physical device.

Crosswalk —a project that aims to bridge the gap between UC and older Android device versions still in use by manufacturers, thus allowing developers to create apps using HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript while still taking advantage of all the latest goodies offered by current-generation devices. While it's not an ideal solution for performance-intensive severe apps (those requiring native APIs), it can be great for many purposes, such as making sure your app is compatible with most Android versions out there or giving the impression that they're running natively without having to support them all at once!

PhoneGap —an open-source distribution of Cord (formerly known as Phonegap), enables you to write native mobile apps using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. It works by packaging your app into a binary format that can be installed on various platforms, including iOS, Android, Blackberry 10 & Playbook, Tizen, WebOS, SailFish, Windows Phone 8 (though it requires Visual Studio 2010 or 2012 Professional or higher), and FireOS. Of course, you won't get access to all the features offered by the platform since some APIs are not implemented in Javascript (or aren't part of their core functionality), and Cordova will emulate them. However, it's still possible for your apps to take advantage of some stuff, such as notifications on specific devices!

PhoneGap app running inside Firefox on a physical device.

React —a JavaScript library for building user interfaces by Facebook and Instagram. It's available as open-source software used and licensed under the Apache license version 2 (thus allowing developers to use it in their projects). With React, you can build reusable UI components (known as "components") that manage their state independently; furthermore, each component can be defined within a single page or across multiple ones depending on how they'll communicate with each other.

React Native Web App Starter - If your app is meant only for the web, then this starter template is probably what you're looking for! It includes everything mentioned before except crosswalk, scripts/config files (for Gulp), and an HTML5 starter template.

Define: SDK

a term often used interchangeably with web "API" even though it strictly refers to the set of protocols, tools, and procedures intended for building software. In this case, we're talking about the Android SDK—a free development kit that allows you to build apps for Android OS! It contains all the binaries required for developing (the Java Development Kit plus various command-line tools), deploying, and debugging them along with extensive documentation, samples, etc.; but most importantly—the Android Runtime itself.

Android Runtime is running inside VMWare on a physical device.

Xamarin —an IDE (also known as Xamarin Studio) allows developers to create hybrid mobile apps using C# language instead of Java or Kotlin, thus providing better performance than Java-based solutions (like Cordova or React Native) and the ability to use the same language across platforms.

Xamarin app running inside VMWare on a physical device.

Titanium —a mobile SDK that enables building native mobile apps using web technologies such as HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript by compiling them into high-performance binaries targeting all major mobile platforms! While it does not provide access to "native" APIs as Xamarin does, it's much faster than other hybrid solutions (since they're essentially emulating native code samples in Javascript). The downside is that you need to learn their proprietary programming language known as "Titanium."

Ti app running inside VMWare on a physical device.

Proton Native —a React-based SDK that allows building cross-platform mobile apps using Javascript; in fact, it's similar in its goals to React Native (which is what Proton Native uses under the hood). The difference between them is that while React Native implements all of Android and iOS (25+ APIs), Proton focuses mainly on Android—providing access to 13 high-level native APIs! In addition, it also includes support for some web standards such as Service Workers (for offline caching) and Web Push (for push notifications).

Proton app running inside VMWare on a physical device.

ReactXP is a JavaScript library similar to React but intended to build XAML apps for the Universal Windows Platform (i.e. UWP) and cross-platform mobile apps using Cordova or Electron. It can be used as a replacement for WPF, but unlike Xamarin, it doesn't require learning a new language.

ReactXP app running inside VMWare on a physical device.

Appcelerator Titanium —an SDK very similar to Titanium that allows building native mobile apps using web technologies such as HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, etc.; this time by compiling them into high-performance binaries targeting all major mobile platforms! As with Titanium—you'll need to learn their proprietary "Titanium" programming language; however, unlike React Native—they offer more APIs than just Android & iOS (with the only major missing one being Service Workers).

Titanium app running inside VMWare on a physical device.

HTML5 & CSS3 —web standards that can develop cross-platform mobile apps for all platforms! All you need is an IDE that supports them and an appropriate emulator/simulator. However, since there are no binaries available for these platforms—testing your code will require manually deploying it to the desired hardware platform every time you want to try it out.

Web app running inside VMWare on a physical device.

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