Open Application Program Interface

What Does Open Application Program Interface Mean?

An open application programming interface (open API) is commonly defined as an API that uses a common or universal language or structure to promote more universal access. In general, an API allows developers to use a specific software product in various ways, for example, fitting it into third-party projects.


Techopedia Explains Open Application Program Interface

An open API is different from an open-source software product. The reason that IT experts describe an API as “open” is that it is openly shared and open to public use. One example is the APIs of Facebook and other social media sites that are freely shared in order to entice developers and other users to integrate social media functionality into their software products. Facebook and other platforms have a lot of success with offering these open APIs, allowing their platforms to be embedded in all sorts of projects.

Some IT experts also define open API as one that is made with a specific protocol that allows it to be more accessible to other developers. An example of such an API is the Representational State Transfer (REST) architecture model, as well as the Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP).


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Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.