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application program interface (API)

API examples in the developer community

Operating systems and middleware tools expose their features through collections of APIs usually called “toolkits,” and two different sets of tools that support the same API specifications are interchangeable to programmers, which is the basis for compatibility and interoperability claims. Microsoft’s .NET API specifications are the basis for an open source Linux equivalent middleware package now supported by Microsoft, for example.

The internet is currently the primary driver for APIs, and companies like Facebook, Google and Yahoo publish APIs to encourage developers to build on their capabilities. These APIs have given us everything from new internet features that browse the sites of other services, to mobile device apps that offer easy access to web resources.

New features, such as content delivery, augmented reality and novel applications of wearable technology, are created in large part though these APIs.

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