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I have read few articles about API. Can't find the reference now.

In some of them, they define API as set of tools, routines and protocols which are helping programmer to build a software with use of pre-programmed methods.

In others they say the same thing, but they also say that API is only when these methods are communicating with some external systems/services.

Which one is right? I just want to know, that if I use library to draw in Java, is that called API because it contains pre-programmed methods or that is just library/component?

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An API stands for "Application Programming Interface". It means any interface between the system, library or device and your development.

So, no. An API is any programmatic interface, whether its a library with exposed C functions or a webserver with exposed REST verbs or anything in between.

  • Facebook has an API, and in my humble opinion, it would be wrong to call it a system, since it isn't simply a server that you're accessing but something far more complicated, much of which is built using libraries and software, not only hardware. – Neil Feb 13 '15 at 10:15

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