interface

  

Definition

Common boundary where direct contact between two different cultures, devices, entities, environments, systems, etc., occurs, and where energy, information, and/or material is exchanged. An electrical outlet or a telephone jack a common example of device interface. In technical contexts, interface requirements are governed by standard conventions called protocols which could be so complex that the interface itself is considered a separate device or system. In the context of computers, three common interface types are: (1) Hardware interface, consisting of cables, connectors, and ports that link devices such as keyboards, mice, printers, storage drives, etc., to the computer; (2) Software interface, consisting of commands, codes, and messages (called application program Interface) that enable different programs to communicate with each other and the operating system; and (3) User interface, consisting of command line, menus, prompts, dialog boxes, icons, wizards, etc., that enable a user and a computer to communicate with each other.

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