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Glossary: Application Programming Interface (API)

Most professional network, or Internet cameras have what is called an Application Programming Interface (or API) embedded within their built-in web servers. This feature allows other devices or software to communicate with and control the camera directly through its local or Internet IP address, usually through actions performed by sending commands (or url strings) directly to the camera through its API.

Many, but not all, IP cameras have extensive feature sets which can be controlled in this way, but in its simplest form most cameras allow the retrieval of snapshots or live video directly from the camera using the API.

The API is a smart way of extending camera functionality to other applications such as CCTV or IP video recording software, web applications or mobile clients.

The API is different from the Software Development Kit (SDK) in that the SDK will communicate with the camera on a lower level and may require language-specific, or platform-specific coding.

Published on July 4th, 2008 by Kevin Bowyer

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