Computer Dictionary/Application Program Interface

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(API, or "application programming interface")

The interface (calling conventions) by which an [[Computer Dictionary/application program|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 [[Computer Dictionary/high level language|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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