Application Programming Interface (API)

What is an Application Programming Interface (API)?

API is an acronym for Application Programming Interface.

An API is a software interface, offering a way for computer software to communicate with other computer software.

A document or standard that describes how to build or use such a connection or interface is called an API specification.

A computer system that meets this standard is said to implement or expose an API.

The term API may refer either to the specification or to the implementation.

Whereas a "user interface" connects a computer to a person, an application programming interface connects computers or pieces of software to each other. It is not intended to be used directly by a person (the end user) other than by a computer programmer who is incorporating it into their software.

An API is often made up of different parts which act as tools or services that are available to the programmer. A program or a programmer that uses one of these parts is said to "call" that portion of the API.

The calls that make up the API are sometimes also known as subroutines, methods, requests, or endpoints.

An API specification defines these calls, meaning that it explains how to use or implement them.

One purpose of APIs is to hide the internal details of how a system works, exposing only those parts a programmer will find useful and keeping them consistent even if the internal details later change.

An API may be custom-built for a particular pair of systems, or it may be a shared standard allowing interoperability among many systems.

The term API is often used to refer to web application APIs, which allow communication between computers that are joined by the internet.

Our MIDAS API allows developers to interface directly with our web based scheduling software, MIDAS, from their own websites and applications.

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