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Application Programming Interface (API)

Definition - What does Application Programming Interface (API) mean?

An application programming interface (API) is a software program that facilitates interaction with other software programs.

An API allows a programmer to interact with an application using a collection of callable functions. The goal of an API is to allow programmers to write programs that will not cease to function if the underlying system is upgraded.

Techopedia explains Application Programming Interface (API)

Think of an API as the set the interface that sets out the rules dealing with a software component. When properly designed, the underlying software can be continually upgraded without breaking other software that depends on it.

An API can be general or specific. The full set of a general API is bundled in the libraries of a programming language. With a specific API a specific term is meant to deal with a specific problem.

An API is language dependent or independent:

  • Language Dependent: This means it is only available by using the syntax and elements of a particular language, making it more convenient to use.
  • Language Independent: This means the API is written to be called from several programming languages.

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