- The definition of interface is a surface that forms a common boundary between two things or a point of interaction between two components or systems.
An example of interface is someone using the controls on a washing machine to tell the machine how to function.
interface definition by Webster's New World
- a plane forming the common boundary between two parts of matter or space
- a point or means of interaction between two systems, disciplines, groups, etc.
- Comput. a point or means of interaction between two or more systems, components of a computer system, or the system and a user
interface definition by American Heritage Dictionary
- A surface forming a common boundary between adjacent regions, bodies, substances, or phases.
- A point at which independent systems or diverse groups interact: “the interface between crime and politics where much of our reality is to be found” (Jack Kroll).
- Computer Science a. The point of interaction or communication between a computer and any other entity, such as a printer or human operator.b. The layout of an application's graphic or textual controls in conjunction with the way the application responds to user activity: an interface whose icons were hard to remember.
- To join by means of an interface.
- To serve as an interface for.
- To serve as an interface or become interfaced.
- To interact or coordinate smoothly: “Theatergoers were lured out of their seats and interfaced with the scenery” (New York Times).
- inˌter·faˈcial adjective
interface - Computer Definition
- The common physical point, boundary, surface, or plane where two things touch, meet, or come together. The interface between the core and cladding in a glass optical fiber (GOF) is an example of such a physical interface. See also cladding, core, and GOF.
- The device or component that serves to physically and logically interconnect two other devices or systems and that enables their interoperation. Such an interface may comprise a combination of hardware and firmware. A trunk interface that connects a trunk and a switch or router is an example of such an interface. See also hardware and firmware.
- Software that logically interconnects two computers or a computer and another device and allows them to interoperate. Such software generally is characterized as performing a gateway function. A gateway that accomplishes protocol conversion between X.25 and frame relay is an example. See also gateway, protocol, and software.
- Software that enables a user to work with a computer program perhaps in an intuitive way. Examples include a command-line interface and a graphical user interface (GUI). See also program and software.
- Software that enables a computer to work with another program, or with the computer hardware. Such software enables the computer to function as a whole. See also API, hardware, program, and software.
The connection and interaction between hardware, software and the user. Users "talk to" the software. The software "talks to" the hardware and other software. Hardware "talks to" other hardware. All this is interfacing. It has to be designed, developed, tested and redesigned; and with each incarnation, a new specification is born that may become yet one more de facto or regulated standard. Hardware Interfaces Hardware interfaces are the plugs, sockets, cables and electrical signals traveling through them. Examples are USB, FireWire, Ethernet, ATA/IDE, SCSI and PCI. Software/Programming Interfaces Software interfaces (programming interfaces) are the languages, codes and messages that programs use to communicate with each other and to the hardware. Examples are the Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems, SMTP e-mail, IP network protocols and the software drivers that activate the peripheral devices. User Interfaces User interfaces are the keyboards, mice, commands and menus used for communication between you and the computer. Examples are the command lines in DOS and Unix, and the graphical interfaces in Windows, Mac and Linux.
Format & FunctionEvery interface implies a structure. Electrical signals are made up of voltage levels, frequencies and duration. The data passed from one device or program to another has a precise format (header, body, trailer, etc.). Every interface implies a function. At the hardware level, electronic signals activate functions; data are read, written, transmitted, received, checked for error, etc. At the software level, instructions activate the hardware (access methods, data link protocols, etc.). At higher levels, the data transferred or transmitted may itself request functions to be performed (client/server, program to program, etc.).
Language & ProgrammingAn interface is activated by programming language commands. The complexity of the functions and the design of the language determine how difficult it is to program.
User Interface, Protocol, API and ABIThe design of the interaction between the user and the computer is called a "user interface." The rules, formats and functions between components in a communications system or network are called "protocols." The language and message formats between routines within a program or between software components is called an "application programming interface" (API). The specification for an operating system working in a specific machine environment has been known as an "application binary interface" (ABI), but this term is not widely used. All the above interactions are interfaces. Regardless of what they are called, they all create rules that must be precisely followed in a digital world.
interface - Medical Definition
interface - Science Definition
- The point of interaction or communication between a computer and any other entity, such as a printer or human operator.
- The layout of an application's graphic or textual controls in conjunction with the way the application responds to user activity. See more at GUI.