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Friday, September 14th, 2007 by | Filed Under: Computer Terms

Sam from TN asks:

There are some programming gurus at my job and they keep mentioning “API” – what does it stand for? Are they calling me something nasty? 

Hey, Sam – no, they’re not being mean. API actually stands for “application program interface”.

The API is basically a set of routines, protocols and tools that are used in the building process of software applications. All of the components within the API are sort of like building blocks that eventually lead up to the finished product. They also help the programmer a great deal, because with those blocks, they are able to develop the program much faster. Once it’s their turn to work with the software, they can use the API as a guide to piece all the blocks together and create the program the way it needs to be.

APIs also come in handy within operating systems. Most operating systems (including Windows) provide an API just for the programmers. That way, they are able to write the programs so that they’re consistent with the specific operating system. Now, while it may seem like an API is meant just for programmers, they are also good for you, the user. The API adds a guarantee that the software you use from day to day will always work with the operating system your PC has. Everything will contain similar interfaces and it will all fit perfectly together, without any trouble at all.

That’s good to know, don’t you think? 

~ Erin

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