Application Programming Interface

(redirected from Application program interfaces)

Application Programming Interface

This article is provided by FOLDOC - Free Online Dictionary of Computing (


(Application Programming Interface) A language and message format used by an application program to communicate with the operating system or some other control program such as a database management system (DBMS) or communications protocol. APIs are implemented by writing function calls in the program, which provide the linkage to the required subroutine for execution. Thus, an API implies that a driver or program module is available in the computer to perform the operation or that software must be linked into the existing program to perform the tasks.

Plenty of API Programming Is Done
Understanding APIs is a major part of what a programmer does. Except for writing the business logic that performs the actual data processing, all the rest of the programming is writing the code to communicate with the operating system.

APIs can be daunting, especially the calls to the user interface to display the menus, buttons and windows on screen. There are more than a thousand API calls in a major operating system such as Windows, macOS or Linux. However, although APIs have counterparts in each OS to invoke identical operations, the actual syntax and coding may vary significantly between platforms. See integrated development environment, function and interface.

APIs Become Obsolete
Operating system vendors upgrade their capabilities all the time with new functions in the latest version. However, after many years, in order to streamline their software, vendors discontinue support for older routines. The old APIs no longer work when run in the newer version of the OS, which means the app fails to operate.

Business organizations can put off installing the latest OS for a while to keep their existing apps running. However, commercial developers may have little choice because they need to be compatible with the OS versions in use. In addition, they might be denied access to the vendor's online store if their apps are not current.

Copyright © 1981-2019 by The Computer Language Company Inc. All Rights reserved. THIS DEFINITION IS FOR PERSONAL USE ONLY. All other reproduction is strictly prohibited without permission from the publisher.
References in periodicals archive ?
San Francisco-based Nexmo provides application program interfaces for text messaging and voice communications, allowing developers and enterprises to embed contextual, programmable communications into mobile apps, websites and business systems, creating better customer engagement and integrated workflows.
It supports a wide choice of network cameras and encoders, and the open platform includes application program interfaces for integration with third-party systems.
It also provides an accelerated introduction to the Java language and its key application program interfaces (APIs).
Central Site Director, version 2.1, is an enterprise WLAN management, control and integration platform that includes Web services framework- and XML-based application program interfaces. By allowing different applications or systems to communicate with the platform, IT managers can leverage existing systems and applications to administer changes to wireless LAN policies for bandwidth and security management, lf certain thresholds on the network are met, for example, the platform can automatically disable a user account on the wireless LAN or change bandwidth-prioritization policies.
By leveraging Hitachi Data Systems' HiCommand Application Program Interfaces (APIs), TrueSAN will extend the advanced management capabilities of its Cloudbreak software to the Freedom Storage Lightning 9900 series and Thunder 9200, as well as additional third-party storage systems supported by the HiCommand software.
There are multiple exchange possibilities, including transactions, Application Program Interfaces (APIs), web automation, database portals, catalogs, workflow documents, or messages.
In addition, these tools provide application program interfaces (APIs) that allow users broad access to high- speed input and output functions.
The iForce Ready Centers build solutions on Sun Servers running the Solaris Operating Environment and use Sun's SunConnect architecture based on the principle of open system application program interfaces (APIs).

Full browser ?