What is an Application Program Interface

December 25, 2006 / Industry News Web Hosting

API is an abbreviation of Application Program Interface, also referred to as Application Programming Interface. API is a set of routines, protocols, and tools for building software applications.

It is a specific method prescribed by a computer operating system or by an application program according to which a programmer writing an application program can make requests of the operating system or another application. A good API makes it easier to develop a program by providing all the building blocks, a programmer puts those blocks together.

An API implies that some program module is available in the computer to perform the operation or that it must be linked into the existing program to perform the tasks. Most operating environments, such as MS-Windows, provide an API so that programmers can write applications consistent with the operating environment.

Although APIs are designed for programmers, they are good for users as well because they guarantee that all programs using a common API will have similar interfaces. This makes it easier for users to learn new programs.

An API can be contrasted with a graphical user interface(GUI) or a command interface (both are direct user interfaces) as interfaces to an operating system or a program.

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