An API (Application Programming Interface) allows you to send and receive data from a remote server, like querying a database. The response will then be delivered back to your own application in a standardized format. This is very helpful when you're building an app or pulling metrics for reporting, because it means you can focus on presenting information in a unique or useful manner, rather than developing the underlying data set. For example, most weather apps get their weather forecast data from a weather API, rather than building weather stations themselves.
Of course, the fastest way to understand how APIs work is to try them out. While most APIs require access via API keys (which are similar to passwords), or have complex methods of authentication and authorization, there are also quite a few APIs with no requirements at all. This is especially useful for beginners, as it means you can start exploring different APIs right away. It is also useful for web developers looking to access a sample data set for testing.
Big List of Free Open APIs
The APIs below can be accessed using any method:
- your web browser
- cURL for the command line
- API clients like Swagger and Postman
- Mixed Analytics' own API Connector for Google Sheets