Telephony Application Programming Interface

What Does Telephony Application Programming Interface Mean?

Telephony Application Programming Interface (TAPI) is a set of standard application programming interfaces developed by Microsoft and Intel and implemented in Microsoft Windows for connecting a computer to telephone services. TAPI allows Microsoft Windows to auto detect and set up communication hardware installed on a personal computer.


Techopedia Explains Telephony Application Programming Interface

The Telephony Application Programming Interface receives requests from different applications and transmits them to appropriate telephony devices like telephones, modems and private branch exchanges. On different Windows versions, different versions of TAPI are available. From a computer applications perspective, TAPI can control different telephony functions that exist between the computer and the device, such as voice calls, data or fax. Basic functionalities such as dialing, answering and call holding along with supplementary functions such as conference and call park as well as other PBX functions are also supported.

Telephony Application Programming Interface is primarily used in controlling telephone system handsets or modems. It is also used to control voice-enabled telephony equipment like voice modems or voice-dedicated hardware. Other possible TAPI applications are interactive voice response systems, call center applications and multicast multimedia IP conferencing.

For application developers, TAPI-enabled applications can be created with the help of most programming languages such as Java, C, C++ or Visual Basic. TAPI helps application programmers in taking advantage of different telephone systems and providing services without completely understanding the inner details of the telephone systems. TAPI provides a high-level interface for call functionalities, and also provides a service provider interface for hardware vendors for generating the driver software.


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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.