PortAudio V19 adds a huge advance over previous versions with a feature called Blocking I/O. Although it may have lower performance that the callback method described earlier in this tutorial, blocking I/O is easier to understand and is, in some cases, more compatible with third party systems than the callback method. Most people starting audio programming also find Blocking I/O easier to learn.
Blocking I/O works in much the same way as the callback method except that instead of providing a function to provide (or consume) audio data, you must feed data to (or consume data from) PortAudio at regular intervals, usually inside a loop. The example below, excepted from patest_read_write_wire.c, shows how to open the default device, and pass data from its input to its output for a set period of time. Note that we use the default high latency values to help avoid underruns since we are usually reading and writing audio data from a relatively low priority thread, and there is usually extra buffering required to make blocking I/O work.
Note that not all API's implement Blocking I/O at this point, so for maximum portability or performance, you'll still want to use callbacks.