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API plays a very important role in the life of a developer, be it front end or backend. APIs allow you to transfer the data between two completely different platforms. As a beginner, you should know that you can not keep everything on the server-side right? You’ll have to use a client-side solution as well to make your application more interactive and improve its performance and this is just a gist. If you look at any mobile application, there’s an API involved in it. If you have used one-click signups like Google Sign In, Facebook sign, this was also possible through the API only.
You might believe it, but about 80% of data transfer on the Internet happens through APIs only. There’s another reason as well why API is the most preferred method because it is much secured than the normal data transfer. It gives much flexibility to the developers with whom they want to share the data in a much secure manner.
Most of the APIs return data in JSON, which can be understood by most of the programming languages and server-side languages too have libraries to parse the JSON data. It doesn’t matter if you’re creating a mobile, desktop, or web app, the API has to be there to transfer the data between the server and your app.
Let’s say you’re working on an e-commerce application. Now for a better user experience, you want to include Facebook, Google login. You’ll need their API here. For making an online payment on your application, you’ll need to integrate a third-party payment API. For tracking orders, you’ll need the API of the courier service. So, you see being a developer you can’t escape from APIs.
We have covered a lot about the APIs and their benefits so let us focus on the APIs that you should know as a beginner:
The best part of social media is they have exposed their APIs so that developers can access their functionalities and integrate them into their applications. Social media APIs are the most commonly used APIs. This category of API is mostly used for registering the user, login, and fetching the user details like email, name, password, DOB, etc.
Facebook is the most popular social networking platform that allows users to send messages, post pictures, etc. It has over 2.45 billion active users per month. Their API is very easy to use and the documentation is also very helpful with code examples in Python, PHP, Java, and cURL for each API endpoint.
Mainly the Facebook API is used for login and registration of a user but you can also use it for some other purpose as well like fetching the marketing data (Facebook Marketing API), getting data for your app, etc. One of the best parts of this API is that it allows you to create chatbots that you can integrate on your web or mobile app.
The API is available in two forms:
You can go for anyone since the documentation of Facebook is always there to help you with code snippets.
Twitter is another one of the most popular social networking platforms and is called a microblogging website. With about 330 million active users per month, the Twitter API becomes one of the most important API to integrate into your application. You can do a lot with Twitter API similar to Facebook, it is also used for social login. The API is not available to everyone though, you’ll have to fill out a form and request access from the Twitter team.
You can say that Twitter is a more sophisticated form of the Facebook API. It allows you to create bots as well but they can not be deployed outside of the Twitter ecosystem. The API is very easy to use and the documentation provides code snippets as well to help you out.
One of the unique features of Twitter API is that it comes with Embed Generator which allows you to Tweet, timeline, or a button to your web application. You can also check out this tutorial on how to integrate the Twitter API using Python.
Slack is the most popular business communication tool. The API of this tool is very comprehensive and allows you to achieve a lot of functionalities on the Slack platform. This API is famous for creating bots on Slack which can do almost anything you want to do through code.
Companies have created their bots like there’s a JIRA bot which you can use to create tasks/tickets on the JIRA application, there’s a GitLab bot that will let you create branches, etc. You see, there are a lot of companies using their bot functionality to integrate their features.
The Slack API is officially available in two forms:
If you’re using the internet then you must have an email right? Google Login API is the most popular choice among developers to integrate social login or one-click login in their applications. To get access to any Google data associated with a user you can use this API and pass the scope.
The basic scope of Google API returns ID, name, image, and email. Many users use Google login so that they don’t have to verify their email manually as most of the applications need a valid email for security purposes.
Businesses can’t sustain without cash inflow, right? In this era of COVID-19, we have to maintain social distancing, use masks and due to all of this, online payment has become more popular than before.
People are shifting to online shopping and at the same time more and more businesses are accepting payment online. Even if you go to a local store, you’ll find that they’re accepting online payment. This was all possible through these fintech APIs.
Fintech APIs are responsible for making online payments or you can say transfer money to any part of the world in a secured way.
PayPal is the most popular digital payment service and is available in 203 countries. So it covers almost all the countries and allows people to transfer money across the globe. It provides a P2P (person to person) transferring system where it directly transfers the money from the sender to the receiver.
The PayPal API provides a sandbox environment so that you can test if the payment system works fine or not by using some dummy credentials. The API is very useful for beginners as it is one of the most requested APIs by the client and the developers will also learn how the payment system works.
The PayPal API comes in two forms:
Stripe is another popular payment processing platform and many people call it a “full-stack payment processor”. This means it serves as a third party payment processor as well as a payment gateway. It handles about 135 currencies and is being used by companies like Uber, Lyft, Pinterest, etc.
Stripe also claims that about 80% of all credit card payments happen through Stripe only. Businesses use this payment method as a primary method and PayPal as a secondary method. So it’s a lot more in demand than PayPal API.
The documentation is very neatly written and has code snippets as well. The Stripe API comes in two forms:
Paytm is the most popular digital payment platform in India which accepts payment from Paytm wallet, UPI, credit card, debit card, and net banking. This payment system is very popular amongst small and mid-sized businesses for accepting local payments.
It accepts payment from Credit Card, Debit Card, Paytm Wallet, UPI, and Internet Banking. Paytm is an acronym from “Pay Through Mobile” and it started as a mobile application. Most of the Indian brands accept payment through Paytm.
The Paytm API is available in two forms:
CCAvenue is another leading payment gateway authorized by the Indian Government. One of the major advantages of using this API is that it accepts payment from the major wallet as well like Paytm, PhonePay, Google Pay, etc. Another advantage for businesses to use this that it can also accept international payment.
Every business needs a storage solution for their services and this became very easy after the introduction of cloud storage. These APIs connect local systems to cloud-based systems and allow users to edit, delete, read, or create a new file.
AWS is a cloud solution from Amazon and is the most popular choice of businesses as well as developers. The API support is very good and you can do almost anything from creating EC2 instances to performing CRUD in AWS S3. It also provides a billing API so that you can track your expenses.
AWS offers a lot of services like Lambda which is their serverless technology, EC2 is a computable machine, S3 for static file hosting, etc. AWS itself is a completely different niche that you can explore as a developer.
Google Cloud is the Google equivalent AWS. It is a set of cloud computing services that Google uses internally for its products as well. It provides services like cloud computing, storage, networking services, BigData, etc. Being used and maintained by Google, it has never faced any downtime in years.
Dropbox is a cloud storage solution and is being used by mostly non-techy people. So adding this API to your skill can be very beneficial because you can create a lot of bots as well as applications around this API only. You can use this API to create a Slack bot or even provide online storage using this API with user log in.
Similar to Dropbox, OneDrive is another cloud storage solution from Microsoft. This API should also be on your bucket list as this service is being used by a lot of people and one of the best parts is that it is fully compatible with Microsoft Teams which is a competitor of Slack. So you can even create an OneDrive Bot with this API.
There are a lot of situations where you’ll have to use weather forecast API. For example, you want to create weather widgets for mobile phones, you’ll be using Weather API. These API not only help in weather widgets but can also help you in some other situations.
OpenWeatherMap API is simple and free to use weather API. It allows you to access about 200,000 cities and updates every hour. It also allows you to get historical weather data for the last 30 days. You can also collect the weather forecast data for the next 4 days.
Developed by a company based in the UK which specializes in SAAS products like CurrencyLayer. The API primarily focuses on mobile and web applications. WeatherStack API returns a lot of data like current time, country, city, coordinates, state, weather information like wind speed, humidity, temperature, and even weather icon that you can display on your application
Apart from real-time weather information, you can also get historical as well as forecast data. The API is being used by some of the big players like Microsoft, Deloitte, etc.
Weatherbit API is another great API to fetch real-time weather data. This is a bit different as it collects data from different weather stations and other sources. Then they use ML and AI to forecast the weather data. It allows 500 requests per day with about 95% uptime, so the API is very responsive.
AccuWeather API is a very popular weather API that supports about 200 languages. The API is very popular amongst the popular weather widgets for mobile. The free version of this API allows you to make 50 calls per day and the paid version allows you to get minute-by-minute weather data.
There are a lot of applications and websites based on sports API. It supports the live score of games, match details, etc.
This is an open project started in 2015 and provides a set of soccer data with live scores. It provides the details of previous matches as well. The API returns data in JSON and also allows you to manage the data for each match data they have.
The API provides the data for all the NBA games with historical as well as real-time data. The API returns the data for all the teams, players, game score and details, team standings, and statistics. The documentation is available on RapidAPI and comes with code snippets as well.
This is an official API from ESPN and is one of the most popular API that returns the live as well as historical data for different games. It holds the data for games like cricket, football, and the NBA. The API returns the schedule, players, games, calendar, photos, medals, scores, teams, and standings. The API also comes with a Python module which you can use in place of REST API.
In this article, we have covered most of the APIs that you should try to cover and integrate when you’re learning about APIs.The API is a very big niche and requires a lot of practice and when you’re integrating the API, you also have to keep an eye on the API updates. Sometimes many of the endpoints become obsolete and your application can break as well if your API is heavily dependent on the API. There is a lot of APIs available on the internet which you should learn about but these are just the starting point which can help you at the initial stage of your career.