All posts tagged ‘Programming’

File Under: Glossary

Routine

Routines are instructions written in programming code interpreted to perform a particular task in the course of the program’s operation.

Several routines make up modules. A routine can also be referred to as a procedure, function or subroutine.

File Under: Glossary

Hexadecimal

The hexadecimal (base 16) number system used for Web-page design consists of 16 unique symbols:0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, A, B, C, D, E, and F.

For example, the decimal number 15 is equal to the hexadecimal number F. In HTML, an RGB color can be designated by
RRGGBB
with the first two numerals representing the amount of red, the second two the amount of green, and the last two the amount of blue. If you wanted your background to be red, you could write the code for a body background color as
<body bgcolor="#FF0000">
Black is the absence of all color and white is the presence of all color, so in hexadecimal, black is at the bottom of the system (no red, green, or blue:
#000000
and white is at the top (the maximum amount of red, green, and blue:
#FFFFFF
File Under: Glossary

API

The application program interface (API) is a set of building blocks for programmers.

APIs are made up of routines, protocols, and tools. Most operating environments provide an API so that programmers can write applications consistent with that environment. For example, developing software using the Windows API ensures that your user interface will be consistent with other Windows applications, making it easier for users to learn your new programs.

Use on the Web

Web APIs provide simple ways to interact with websites. Using an API, you can extract public data from sites like del.icio.us, Flickr and Digg to create mashups, reuse data or just about anything else you can imagine.

APIs are also useful for extracting your own private data from a web service so that you can back it up elsewhere or display it on another site.

When talking about APIs you’ll here the following terms quite a bit.

Common Web API Related Terms

  • Web service/API — These terms are largely interchangeable and simple refer to the ways you can interact with the data on your favorite websites.
  • Method — A method is just one aspect of an API; you might also see methods refered to a functions. For instance, if you’re interacting with Flickr, you might want to get your public photos. To do so you would use the get_user_photos method.
  • Response — The information returned by the API method that you’ve called.
  • REST — Short for Representational State Transfer. REST treats data as a web document that lives at a specific URL. REST APIs use standard HTTP requests such as GET, PUT, HEAD, DELETE and POST to interact with data.
  • XML-RPC — This older API scheme formats method calls and responses as XML documents which are sent over HTTP.
  • SOAP — Simple Object Access Protocol. A W3C standard for passing messages across the network. SOAP is the successor to XML-RPC. It’s complexity has led many to disparage SOAP and with more APIs leaning toward REST, SOAP’s future is uncertain.
  • Ajax — Asynchronous JavaScript and XML. Technically it has nothing to do with APIs, however many sites using APIs send their queries out using Ajax which is partially responsible for the popularity of JSON.
  • JSON — JavaScript Object Notation. JSON’s main advantage is that it is easy to convert from JSON to nearly any other programming language. JSON uses key-value pairs and arrays, something common to PHP, Python, Perl, Ruby and most other languages. The portability of JSON has made it an increasingly popular choice for sites developing APIs.


Popular Web APIs

File Under: Glossary

Operator


An expression tells JavaScript what to do with the data it gets, and within each expression are operators and operands. Operands are the data or data types the expression gets, and operators are the shorthand characters that tell the expression what to do with the operand. JavaScript has arithmetic (+,-,*,/), assignment (=), bitwise (&, |), comparison (>, <,), logical (&, ||, !), special (., []), and string (+) operators. Operators are a feature of many programming and scripting languages. At first there were a relatively limited menu of operators to use in JavaScript, but version 1.2 allowed for the support of regular expressions and a group of operators large enough to compare to other scripting languages.

File Under: Glossary

Event

Events are user interactions with their computer, such as a mouse click or key press.

In the good ol’ days, computers handled user interactions as input of batched data. The user fed a hunk of data in, the computer did something to that data, then produced the results. With the advent of interactive devices like the GUI interface, computers could display answers to computations onscreen. The input for these interactions are events caused by the user, which could be keystrokes, button clicks, or the position of the mouse pointer. (see Event Handler).