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Service Provider Interface (SPI) is an API intended to be implemented or extended by a third party. It can be used to enable framework extension and replaceable components.
From Java official documentation: "A service is a well-known set of interfaces and (usually abstract) classes. A service provider is a specific implementation of a service. The classes in a provider typically implement the interfaces and subclass the classes defined in the service itself. Service providers can be installed in an implementation of the Java platform in the form of extensions, that is, jar files placed into any of the usual extension directories. Providers can also be made available by adding them to the application's class path or by some other platform-specific means."
The concept can be easily extended to any other platform using the corresponding tools.
In the Java Runtime Environment, SPIs are used in JDBC, JCE, JNDI, JAXP, JBI, Java Sound, and Java Image I/O.
See also