The Windows API is an interface used by developers when creating Windows applications. For developers to add capabilities to their Windows applications, they need a platform to interact with the Windows operating system. This is where the API comes in.
Software developers get access to several powerful routines when building Windows applications, one of the Windows API routines. The Windows API comes with a set of libraries filled with routines providing an interface to the Windows operating system.
Therefore, the Windows API can be defined as the interface between the applications and the Windows operating system. Developers can, in turn, use these set of routines to get statistics about the operating system and manipulate the performance of an application. These statistics may include things such as memory status and allocation.
Windows API Functionality
Even though the Windows API might sound complicated, it is an API just like any other and works similarly. If you would like to learn how to use an API, RapidAPI has a complete guide with a step by step procedure on how to do so.
The Windows API functionality is categorized into:
1. User Interface
The Windows API user interface comes with the functionality used to manage the Windows operating system and some of its controls, such as scrollbars, buttons, and getting the keyboard and mouse input.
2. Base Services
Base services provide developers with access to devices, file systems, threads and processes, error handling, Windows registry, and other fundamental resources that come with the Windows operating system.
3. Graphics Device Interface
Windows application developers depend on the graphics device interface when looking for the functionality that outputs graphical content to printers, monitors, and any other output devices connected to the Windows operating system.
4. Windows Shell
The Windows API comes with components that allow applications to access the Windows operating system shell’s functionality. These applications can also enhance and change the shell’s functionality to meet their requirements.
5. Common Control Library
Sometimes, the Windows operating system’s applications require access to advanced controls that come with the operating system. The advanced controls include tabs, progress bars, status bars, and toolbars, among others. The common control library provides this access.
6. Network Services
Some Windows applications cannot perform without networking services. For instance, some games should be connected to the internet for them to work. These applications use the Windows network services to gain access to the operating system’s networking capabilities.
7. Common Dialog Box Library
Windows applications require the capability to save and open files and change appearance such as font and color, among other things. They use the common dialog box library to get this capability. For example, when using Adobe Premiere Pro to edit a video, you might want to save your project to continue at a later date. This would not be possible without the common dialog box library.
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The Windows API’s basic function is to facilitate communication between an application and the Windows operating system. However, different Windows applications also need to communicate and share data between themselves. In such an instance, the Windows API is not used. In its place, Windows came with several technologies that work with the Windows API. These technologies include the DDE (Dynamic Data Exchange), the COM (Component Object Model), and the OLE (Object Linking and Embedding).
Finally, the Windows API can be described as dynamic software. This is because its functions change every time a new service pack is released, such as releasing a new Windows API with a foldable functionality or even when a new Windows operating system version is released. It is also important to note that the Windows API’s desktop and server versions have major differences.
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