In computing, a binding from a programming language to a library or operating system service is an application programming interface (API) providing glue code to use that library or service in a particular programming language.
Binding generally refers to a mapping of one thing to another. In the context of software libraries, bindings are wrapper libraries that bridge two programming languages so that a library written for one language can be used in another language. Many software libraries are written in system programming languages such as C or C++; in order to use these libraries from another (usually higher-level) language such as Java, Common Lisp, Python or Lua, a binding to the library must be created in that language, possibly requiring the recompilation of the language's code depending on the amount of modification necessary. However, most languages offer an interface to foreign functions, such as Python's and OCaml's ctypes, and Embeddable Common Lisp's cffi and uffi.
For example, Python bindings are used when an already existing C library written for some purpose is to be used from Python. Another example is libsvn, which is written in C and provides an API for accessing Subversion; in order to access Subversion from within Java code, libsvnjavahl can be used, which depends on libsvn being installed and acts as a bridge between the Java programming language and libsvn, thus providing an API that invokes functions from libsvn to do the real work.
Software reuse is a major motivation for creating library bindings, rather than reimplementing the library in several languages. Another is the impossibility of implementing certain algorithms efficiently in high-level languages.
- Application programming interface (API)
- Application Binary Interface (ABI)
- Calling convention
- Common Language Infrastructure – .NET cross-language cross-platform Object Model
- Comparison of application virtual machines
- COM – Microsoft Windows only cross-language Object Model
- CORBA – Common Object Request Broker Architecture, cross language cross platform object model
- DCOM – Distributed COM, extension making COM able to work in networks
- Embedded SQL
- Foreign function interface
- Freedesktop.org D-Bus – open cross language cross platform Object Model
- Name mangling
- SWIG – open-source interfaces bindings generator from many languages to many languages
- Portable object – cross language cross platform Object Model definition
- XPCOM – Mozilla applications cross-platform Component Object Model
- Wrapper function
- "Appendix A. Creating a language binding for cairo". Cairographics.org. Retrieved 2014-04-02.
- "Standards, APIs, Interfaces and Bindings". Acm.org. Retrieved 2014-04-02.
- "15.17. ctypes — A foreign function library for Python". Python v2.7.6 documentation. Docs.python.org. Retrieved 2014-04-02.
- Jason Hickey; Anil Madhavapeddy; Yaron Minsky (2013). "Real Worl OCaml, Chapter 19. Foreign Function Interface". realworldocaml.org. Retrieved 2015-07-19.
- "Introduction - CFFI User Manual". Common-lisp.net. Retrieved 2014-04-02.
- "Subversion JavaHL FAQ". Subclipse.tigris.org. 2013-06-18. Retrieved 2014-04-02.
- JTC1/SC22/WG11 - Binding Techniques, an ISO standard for language bindings
- What is a language binding?
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