Irrelevant. Your original question was with regard to timeline of introduction - not common usage.
Allow me to quote you:

I think the problem might be that 'API' is a relatively new term. I don't recall anyone using that term in the 80s either, regardless of what OS and language they used.


I state the perceived fact that the term was not commonly used back then. That does not need to be discussed, I think we can all agree that the term was not commonly used until the early 90s or so (as I tried to demonstrate with my RISC/CISC analogy). And I think we can also agree that Windows played an important role in popularizing the term, with the Windows API/Win32API nomenclature.

The question I pose is: where does the term originate from, not just timeframe, but also the type of environments where such terms were used before they became more widespread. And obviously I've tried google and wikipedia and such, but I have not been able to find any lead on its origins, because terms like API get so many hits on various modern libraries and such that it is virtually impossible to track down older sources that way.
So yes, sources would be the only way to actually answer my question, and as such they could not be further from 'irrelevant'.
Posted on 2012-10-19 17:13:03 by Scali

FYI: For sources you can start with this RFC ( dated Aug, 1989 and authored by Vincent Cerf ) and work backwards to find the first usage.  I don't have time, nor inclination, to research further.
http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc1109


A quick google search on ietf.org reveals that this is the earliest document on the site with a reference to "Application programming interface" (which you probably already knew... I don't think you picked this one at random).
Since this document dates from 1989, it is not a very good example of the term being much older than the use of Windows API/Win32 API.
Posted on 2012-10-19 17:29:24 by Scali
This is for your benefit, not mine.  I just referenced a document I had on my machine that I used a long while back when writing network monitoring systems.  Any quick Google searches will not reveal any answers without actually knowing what question to ask.

Here is another pointer.  In 1974 IBM created SNA protocol for communications between various server machines.  I don't know how much value you place in a corporate web page but I'm sure if YOU took the TIME you can find the documentation containing references to what you're looking for:
http://publib.boulder.ibm.com/infocenter/zos/basics/index.jsp?topic=/com.ibm.zos.znetwork/znetwork_151.htm

Or how about researching documents from Bell Labs, AT&T, SGI, Xerox, or any other corporation established long before Microsoft and broaden your horizons some...
Posted on 2012-10-19 18:07:17 by p1ranha

This is for your benefit, not mine.  I just referenced a document I had on my machine that I used a long while back when writing network monitoring systems.


Well, you could have spared the trouble, given its date.

Or how about researching documents from Bell Labs, AT&T, SGI, Xerox, or any other corporation established long before Microsoft and broaden your horizons some...


Oh dear, is that anti-Microsoft snobism?
You're talking to the wrong person here. I'm the guy who does Amiga stuff and all that, remember? In fact, I'm currently porting some software rendering routines to GP2X.
Posted on 2012-10-19 18:10:01 by Scali
Your antagonist retorts are unwarranted.  You're talking to the wrong person here.  I've designed and implemented code from mainframes to minis to micros.  My view of the world appears to be much larger than yours.
Posted on 2012-10-19 18:25:48 by p1ranha

Your antagonist retorts are unwarranted.


Antagonist retorts?
You were the aggressor in this thread, as far as I can tell, grilling blackguypeez here:


I don't know. When I first heard it, it was simply 'Windows API'.
Since I'd never heard that term before, I guessed it was perhaps a MS invented term.


And this is exactly the problem with most people who have no experience outside of Microsoft.  They commonly think everything was "invented" by Microsoft when in fact a lot of the terminology and technology existed long before Windows was even a glint in Bill G's eye.  I'm not debating that Windows doesn't have any original ideas - just that Microsoft isn't the source of all technology innovation.


And also being very unhelpful and unfriendly towards me, with short, unwarranted replies such as 'irrelevant'.
It was clear that you were not interested in helping me to search for the origin of the term 'API'. However, instead of your arrogant, snobish replies, you could simply not have answered whatsoever, or just stated in a friendly sense that you were not interested.
Instead I got unfriendly half-baked answers, which led to more questions, which you weren't interested in in the first place.
My advice: either give a proper answer if you're interested, or just ignore a thread altogether, if you don't want to get involved. Replying on a topic that you don't want to discuss... don't do that.


You're talking to the wrong person here.  I've designed and implemented code from mainframes to minis to micros.  My view of the world appears to be much larger than yours.


Your view of the world may be different, but that does not guarantee it is larger.
Not that I care to make a contest out of it. I just find it interesting that you feel the need to stress your superiority so overtly.
Posted on 2012-10-19 18:44:19 by Scali

Antagonist retorts?
You were the aggressor in this thread, as far as I can tell, grilling blackguypeez here:


I don't know. When I first heard it, it was simply 'Windows API'.
Since I'd never heard that term before, I guessed it was perhaps a MS invented term.


And this is exactly the problem with most people who have no experience outside of Microsoft.  They commonly think everything was "invented" by Microsoft when in fact a lot of the terminology and technology existed long before Windows was even a glint in Bill G's eye.  I'm not debating that Windows doesn't have any original ideas - just that Microsoft isn't the source of all technology innovation.



Aggressive?  Grilling?  How about a correction to a common misconception.  What, exactly, do you consider grilling?  Grilling, as commonly understood, implies repeated questioning.  Where do you see me asking any questions?


Neither unhelpful or unfriendly.

You asked a question and received an answer.  I then proceed to point you in a direction most probable to find your answer.  I'm not doing your "homework" for you.

However, instead of your arrogant, snobish replies..


I think it's rather clear who is the aggressor here.  Not once have I attempted to demean or belittle you yet you feel the need to constantly label me.  Inferiority complex much?


Your view of the world may be different, but that does not guarantee it is larger.
Not that I care to make a contest out of it. I just find it interesting that you feel the need to stress your superiority so overtly.


I usually go for subtlety first. :P
Posted on 2012-10-19 19:59:16 by p1ranha
Before you guys get to it... May I propose that "Godwin's Law" have a "Dunning-Kruger Amendment"? :)

Best,
Frank

Posted on 2012-10-19 20:38:30 by fbkotler

Aggressive?


Yes, I find your posts in this topic to have an aggressive nature.

You asked a question and received an answer.  I then proceed to point you in a direction most probable to find your answer.  I'm not doing your "homework" for you.


I never asked you to, your answer just did not help me any further.

I think it's rather clear who is the aggressor here.  Not once have I attempted to demean or belittle you yet you feel the need to constantly label me.  Inferiority complex much?


You have belittled both me and blackguypeaz. I have not belittled you at all. I merely state the fact that you have belittled us, describing it with the terms 'arrogant', 'snobish' and 'aggressive'. That is not belittling.
This is, however:

Have you even written a single assembly program for Linux?
My guess is you haven't because if you had then you wouldn't be spreading these fallacies.


And this is exactly the problem with most people who have no experience outside of Microsoft.  They commonly think everything was "invented" by Microsoft when in fact a lot of the terminology and technology existed long before Windows was even a glint in Bill G's eye.  I'm not debating that Windows doesn't have any original ideas - just that Microsoft isn't the source of all technology innovation.


Or how about researching documents from Bell Labs, AT&T, SGI, Xerox, or any other corporation established long before Microsoft and broaden your horizons some...


Your antagonist retorts are unwarranted.  You're talking to the wrong person here.  I've designed and implemented code from mainframes to minis to micros.  My view of the world appears to be much larger than yours.


Unlike you, I never made any remarks about your level of knowledge or anything, let alone in a comparison to my own. I did not label you as a person, I labeled your statements in this thread. Hence, any use of labels from my side was a consequence of your own actions.


I usually go for subtlety first. :P


Well, I did... but let me go for the non-subtle version:
Here is a debate where two people wonder where the term 'API' comes from, since they have not come across it prior to the 'Windows API' era, so to speak.
Then you come in with some claims that the term is much older than that... Which is possible, I never said it wasn't. I just said that I haven't been able to find any reliable sources for usage of the term prior to 1989 so far (and you could not provide any either).
And based solely on this, you then state: "My view of the world appears to be much larger than yours."

Now see, I would be more willing to just take your word for it, if you weren't trying so hard to belittle everyone here. At this point it seems like a contest to you, and that means that you have an agenda, and I can not just trust everything you say.
Under normal circumstances, people can still remember things wrongly, but still.

But let's take a step back instead... My view of the world may be rather limited, but I have found over the years that each computer system tends to have its own culture and its own jargon. Some things are very specific to a certain culture, so they may have names for concepts that are rarely discussed in others.

The term 'API' is also jargon obviously, and it has to have come from a certain culture. Now, my theory is that the term API was not used in MS-DOS, on Amiga, C64 and such, as far as I am aware in my early computer life, is because of the simple reason that there was no need for it: There was only one API.

The term seems to have entered the mainstream when Microsoft started using it. And the reason why seems to be that they had to make a distinction between the different subsystems. There was MS-DOS, Win16 and Win32 in Windows NT. You can only use one API at a time in an application written for a given subsystem. So now it became important to distinguish between different APIs.

So far you've referred to RFCs and to some IBM networking technology. Now, perhaps that is where it came from. In the culture of networking there would have been multiple types of computer systems in use at the same time, and you would want a common networking API to make them work together. I think it is at least plausible that the term API was used in such environments at an early stage, much earlier than say microcomputers or embedded systems.
So, it may have been a common term in the IBM culture at the time (which would mean you have been at the right place at the right time, as far as the term API goes).
And it is even possible that IBM introduced the term in the Windows world, before Windows NT was Windows NT. Because as we all (should) know, it started out as a common project between IBM and Microsoft, but later split up into OS/2 2.0 and Windows NT.
So perhaps the IBM people were the ones to introduce the term 'Windows API' (together with OS/2 API, MS-DOS API and perhaps some others), in order to distinguish the different subsystems in the project.
Posted on 2012-10-20 05:29:59 by Scali
Actually, I don't think you were "in the right place at the right time" any more than I was:

They're bringing back the C64...

http://www.commodoreusa.net/CUSA_C64.aspx

but now modernized.  This was the computer I first learned to hack on many, MANY :shock: , years ago.
If price is reasonable I might just have to buy one for the halibut.  Any other old-timers with me?  :D


Apparently you learnt on C64 (so you could not have started before 1982).
I too am a child of the C64 generation, although my first computer was actually a ZX81 (and my first encounter with BASIC and programming), and the C64 was my second computer.
So we both started out on home computers in the early 80s.
That is not the vibe I got from you in this thread though...
Posted on 2012-10-20 07:56:35 by Scali

Before you guys get to it... May I propose that "Godwin's Law" have a "Dunning-Kruger Amendment"? :)

Best,
Frank


How about a Jenny From The Block? :)
Posted on 2012-10-20 08:32:55 by Scali

How about a Jenny From The Block? :)


I'm not familiar with that.  Care to enlighten me?
Posted on 2012-10-20 09:24:23 by p1ranha

Apparently you learnt on C64 (so you could not have started before 1982).
I too am a child of the C64 generation, although my first computer was actually a ZX81 (and my first encounter with BASIC and programming), and the C64 was my second computer.
So we both started out on home computers in the early 80s.
That is not the vibe I got from you in this thread though...

Specifically, before the C64, my first home computer was an Atari 800.  I have worked on a variety of different hardware architectures since then but I never stated that I did so back in the 70's.  I assume that you are aware of the fact that mainframe's and mini's are still in use by corporations to this day.  I did not imply that I worked on the original models although I see how you could have mistakenly made that connection.
Posted on 2012-10-20 10:16:50 by p1ranha

Specifically, before the C64, my first home computer was an Atari 800.  I have worked on a variety of different hardware architectures since then but I never stated that I did so back in the 70's.


Well, you seemed to imply that you were talking from personal experience about the use of the term API etc, especially given your remarks about your view of the world and all that.
But apparently that is not the case. Since you started on home computers in the 80s, just as myself, you probably did not encounter the term API before the early 90s either (I suppose it's a fair assumption that like myself, it took you a while to develop as a serious programmer, learn things like C/C++ etc before you'd get into a position where you could work with mainframes and all that).


I assume that you are aware of the fact that mainframe's and mini's are still in use by corporations to this day.


Yes, but I think you'll agree with me that the relevance of that is near-zero. In the early 90s, we had things like linux and FreeBSD, so everyone could run a full *nix environment on their 386/486 which was at least as powerful as those mainframes and mini's from the 70s.
So whether you used an 'actual AT&T system', or just a later derivative on common x86 hardware does not really make that much of a difference. At least, not in terms of software development. You're still using pretty much the same API's, concepts, etc. Same culture, same folklore, same jargon.

Dwelling on the oldskool boxes somewhat... My next-door neighbour had an Atari like that. In fact, he had an Atari VCS (the original with wooden 'dash', not the later 2600), which was one of my earliest experiences with computer games and graphics. And then he got the home computer. I think it was the 800XL, but it could also have been a 600XL, they look very similar.
But he later got a C64, just like us, and many other friends of his. The C64 was the computer to have if you wanted to swap games and such.

And on my ZX81, it was actually handbuilt by my father (the circuit designs and roms were published in magazines back in the day, a truly open system). I still have it, took some pictures recently:

Posted on 2012-10-20 12:10:54 by Scali
I have a series one Atari, wooden dash, for sale.
With the relevant game cartridges (some very rare).

I offered them to a local museum but I was turned down.
Posted on 2012-10-23 05:23:05 by Homer