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Re: APIs

From: Ian Jacobs <ij@w3.org>
Date: Thu, 12 Oct 2000 11:52:30 -0400
Message-ID: <39E5DE3E.2FCEDA33@w3.org>
To: "Hansen, Eric" <ehansen@ets.org>
CC: "UA List (E-mail)" <w3c-wai-ua@w3.org>
"Hansen, Eric" wrote:
> 
> I am trying to sort the world of APIs as presented in the document. I find
> it somewhat confusing to sort out the references the "APIs", "standard
> APIs", "standard input APIs", and W3C DOM (which is a kind of standard API,
> both input and output, I suppose).
> 
> Is there any time that we refer to APIs in the document that we DON'T mean
> "standard APIs"? If we _always_ mean "standard APIs" then we should either
> always say that or factor out the word "standard" and then link to a fuller
> explanation in the glossary.

Yes, there is a difference (and that difference was highlighted in
a recent email from Jon). Not every API is a standard API. In checkpoint
1.1 we say "through every input API implemented by the user agent".
Some of these may not be standard APIs for the system.

 - Ian
 
> We have part of a definition of "standard APIs" in checkpoint 5.4:
> 
> "5.4 Provide programmatic read and write access to user agent user interface
> controls using standard APIs (e.g., platform-independent APIs such as the
> W3C DOM, standard APIs for the operating system, and conventions for
> programming languages, plug-ins, virtual machine environments, etc.)
> [Priority 1]
> Note: For example, provide access to information about the user agent's
> current input configuration so that assistive technologies can trigger
> functionalities through keyboard events, mouse events, etc."
> 
> Thus "standard APIs" include: "platform-independent APIs such as the W3C
> DOM, standard APIs for the operating system, and conventions for programming
> languages, plug-ins, virtual machine environments, etc."
> 
> We should probably consolidate the existing definitions for "API" and
> "Standard device APIs" (see below):
> 
> "Application Programming Interface (API)"
> "An application programming interface (API) defines how communication may
> take place between applications."
> 
> "Standard device APIs"
> "Operating systems are designed to be used by default with devices such as
> pointing devices, keyboards, voice input, etc. The operating system (or
> windowing system) provides "standard APIs" for these devices. On desktop
> computers today, the standard input APIs are for the mouse and keyboard. For
> touch screen devices or mobile devices, standard input APIs may include
> stylus, buttons, voice, etc. The graphical display and sound card are
> considered standard ouput devices for a graphical desktop computer
> environment, and each has a standard API."
> 
> I presume that this is basically an editorial issue, but I highlight this
> because if there is the inconsistency that I think might exist, then fixing
> it would slightly change the wording of many checkpoints.
> 
> ===========================
> Eric G. Hansen, Ph.D.
> Development Scientist
> Educational Testing Service
> ETS 12-R
> Princeton, NJ 08541
> 609-734-5615 (Voice)
> E-mail: ehansen@ets.org
> (W) 609-734-5615 (Voice)
> FAX 609-734-1090

-- 
Ian Jacobs (jacobs@w3.org)   http://www.w3.org/People/Jacobs
Tel:                         +1 831 457-2842
Cell:                        +1 917 450-8783
Received on Thursday, 12 October 2000 11:52:33 GMT

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