API explained for laymen

An API is short for Application Programming Interface. it is very similar to  A user interface except that it is specifically for other applications to interact with the systems.
Examples of application interfaces are SOA (REST and SOAP) interfaces that are widely used currently to connect to other systems via the internet.  Older forms of API used COM, DCOM, ORB, CORBA and many more, These are beyond the scope of this section. They are simply ways for an external application, with permission, to connect and do things as thought t were a user. It generally allows input and retrieval of data also as part of that interaction.

Generally speaking, in order to use an API, you need to get permission, meet security requirements such as certificates and then write some code that follows the correct format.

The “Explained series” is planned to build into a trustworthy collection of explanations and commentaries that can be trusted to tell the story straight without any bias and attempt to make the subjects accessible to the layman. The latter is not always easy as some of these terms refer to genuinely complex subject matter, while others are simply too vague to pin down (there’s another word for that).
If you want an answer on something and you can’t find it easily, please use the comments section to just ask and I will appreciate not having to research the next topic.

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