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Java API?

Posted on 2004-03-22
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What does API stand for?
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Question by:aedean
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by:Moroni24
ID: 10652108
application programming interface
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by:aedean
ID: 10652186
Could anyone expand on this.
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by:aedean
ID: 10652190
Increasing Points to 250.
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Moroni24 earned 256 total points
ID: 10652208
From http://wombat.doc.ic.ac.uk/foldoc/foldoc.cgi?query=api

Application Program Interface
<programming> (API, or "application programming interface") The interface (calling conventions) by which an application program accesses operating system and other services. An API is defined at source code level and provides a level of abstraction between the application and the kernel (or other privileged utilities) to ensure the portability of the code.

An API can also provide an interface between a high level language and lower level utilities and services which were written without consideration for the calling conventions supported by compiled languages. In this case, the API's main task may be the translation of parameter lists from one format to another and the interpretation of call-by-value and call-by-reference arguments in one or both directions.


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by:krakatoa
krakatoa earned 248 total points
ID: 10652372
The API simply, is the application's set of exposed methods and objects which a programmer can manipulate.
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by:Webstorm
Webstorm earned 248 total points
ID: 10656759
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by:rosshind
rosshind earned 248 total points
ID: 10659151
This is to do with program abstraction or hiding.

It might sound odd at first that a program can be improved by hiding its internal working from the user of that program, but its true.

An API provides an interface to a  potentially complex program using a set of simple methods, the complexity of the internal workings of the mehtod is hidden making them easy to use.  This is the essence af all APIs - the hiding of complexity you dont need to know.

If you are unsure about this concept, consider a DVD player.  It has a play button, a stop button, fast forward and rewind.  Easy right?  Well you can consider that your API.  Without it, you would need a degree in electronic engineering in order for you to be able to directly manipulate the electronic components and the lazer inside youyr machine.

By hiding the complexity of a DVD player and providing an easy to use interface, the DVD player becomes usable - thats what an API should do (but with a computer program instead of a DVD player)..
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