Understand Software Technologies – APIs

In this blog I will be discussing and giving examples of what an API is, I will be showing examples of how graphic APIs are used and how they can have an impact on game and app creation using appropriate use of subject terminology.

An API stands for Application Programming Interface, and it is the interface implemented by an application which allows other applications to communicate with each other. It is a set of commands, functions and protocols which programmers can use when building software that is specific for the operating system. [i]

In API the most important word that you should pay attention to is Interface. An Interface is a common boundary between 2 separate systems. It is the means or the medium via which these 2 systems can communicate.

API is needed for communication. Copy and Pasting things to and from Microsoft word and google chrome is a prime example of how the APIs communicate between each other and one another. There can a piece of text in one application, and if you are wanting to type the exact same thing into another app, without API communication there is no way that you could copy and paste it into another application.

API communication is not only used of apps such as Microsoft Word and Google Chrome, but also social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook. These are classed as API communication because you are and can be communicating with friends and other people around the world.


An API is a software to software interface, not a user interface. With APIs applications are also able to talk to each other without any knowledge or intervention. If you but concert tickets online and you enter your credit card information, the concert ticket website will use an API to send your credit card information to a remote application that will verify whether your information in correct or not. Once the payment for the tickets has been confirmed, the remote application will send a response back to the concert ticket website saying that it is ok to the issue the ticket to the customer.


An API resembles Software as a Service (SaaS), this is since software developers do not have to start from scratch every time they write a program. Instead of building once core application that will try to do everything, the same application can contract out certain responsibilities to remote software that does it better.


Java/Java SE API’s, A Java API is a collection of prewritten packages, classes and interfaces with their respective methods, fields and constructors for the Java enable environment, Similar to a user interface which can facilitate the interaction between humans and computers, Java APIs serve as a software program interface facilitating interaction.

In Java, most basic programming tasks are performed by the API’s classes and packages, which are helpful in minimising the number of lines written within pieces of code. These come as part of the Java Development Kit (JDK) and comprise of three basic components, as follows:

  • Java compiler
  • Java Virtual Machine (JVM)
  • Java Application Programming Interface (API)




[i] http://www.techterms.com/definition/api


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