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MTE Explains:What is an API?

The word "API" is often used when talking about new apps and operating systems, but it doesn't seem to target the general public. There are people very excited about the appearance of new APIs on different platforms, which might make you curious to know what exactly this thing is. There's no easy way to explain what these things are, but again, that's what we're here for!

ContentsDefine the APIThe API makes your application uniform for othersThe details:how the API worksConclusion

Define the API

MTE Explains:What is an API?

So, let's recap:an API is a list of shortcuts that contain precompiled or predefined functions and structures that make it easier for programmers to do their job. It's either that or a gateway to deeper parts of the operating system that you wouldn't normally be able to reach. For example, video games use APIs that communicate with your graphics card so they can access its memory and processor. If they communicated directly with the graphics card, each game would have its own way of doing it, leading to very large code and much larger games (again, several orders of magnitude larger). P>

Whenever programmers see new APIs in applications and operating systems, that's why they get excited! Each new API means a new functionality that developers can integrate into their applications. Every app, mod, and game you play uses APIs to bring the features you love to use. Even the system running behind a washing machine that communicates with your phone uses APIs to do the job.


Hope this has cleared the waters a bit and that you understand APIs a little better than before! If you still have any API questions, please leave a comment, and I'll be more than happy to help.