ARCHIVE / What is an API?

The term API is an initialism for Application Programming Interface and is not treated as an acronym in common usage.  The purpose of an API is to allow for other software programs to access, or interface with, the services provided by a specific software application.   APIs are extremely common and are provided by all sorts of software applications, including operating systems.  APIs are often accessed in the form of software libraries, sometimes referred to as dynamically linked libraries (DLLs) or shared objects (.so).  However, APIs may also be accessed by other means, including various Internet-related technologies.

last updated 2007.10.16

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