Glossary

API (Application programming interface)

In computer programming, an application programming interface (API) is a set of subroutine definitions, protocols, and tools for building application software. In general terms, it’s a set of clearly defined methods of communication between various software components. A good API makes it easier to develop a computer program by providing all the building blocks, which are then put together by the programmer. An API may be for a web-based system, operating systemdatabase systemcomputer hardware, or software library. An API specification can take many forms, but often includes specifications for routinesdata structuresobject classesvariables, or remote calls. POSIX, Microsoft Windows API, the C++ Standard Template Library, and Java APIs are examples of different forms of APIs. Documentation for the API is usually provided to facilitate usage. The status of APIs in intellectual property law is controversial.


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