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Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) have completely overhauled how we use mobile and web applications by permitting interactions among programs. Today’s technologies are using APIs as the key integration point, and you’ll definitely find an API for anything. If it is not there yet, be sure that there is somebody somewhere developing it. But before we progress further, let’s try and understand the concept of APIs.
What is an API, and What is Used For?
API simply stands for Application Programming Interface, which refers to the protocols, routines, and utilities that work behind the scenes to facilitate communication between web and mobile applications. APIs allow developers to skip some steps when building software programs, thereby speeding up the development process. They are the building blocks that ensure that developers don’t reinvent the wheel every time they want to create simple functionalities.
Now that we know what APIs are and their use, where do you find them. The first idea that comes to mind is to conduct a Google search. While this is one way to find APIs, it is more time-consuming.
To simplify the API search process, various websites have aggregated APIs and grouped them into industry categories. Today, there are several API marketplaces, API directories and list sites on the internet where developers and programmers can find APIs to integrate into their software programs.
But, what is the difference between an API marketplace and API Directory?
An API marketplace is like other online marketplaces that you know such as Amazon and Alibaba, where you can list an item for sale or purchase something from other people. An API marketplace is a place where you can submit your APIs or consume those that are already on the list. Here you will find other things such as code snippets, API testing, standardized documentation and more.
On the other hand, an API directory refers to a repository where developers can find information about newly released APIs. However, unlike an API marketplace where developers can submit their APIs, use listed APIs, and monitor them, an API directory only allows programmers to discover new APIs and nothing more.
Best Websites To Find/Discover APIs
RapidAPI is the largest API marketplace in the world with over 10,000 APIs and 1,000,000 active developers. State-of-the-art APIs are aggregated into categories on this website based on their industry of use. Additionally, the site has API documentation and profiles that display specific endpoints unique to the service. Developers are given the liberty to test APIs and embed them on their applications to monitor their utility.
For each API, you can view:
- See Code Snippets (in any language)
- Test Endpoints right in the browser
- View API Documentation
- See Response Body (often in JSON format)
You can also publish your own API and begin monetizing it on the platform.
ProgrammableWeb is a robust API repository that features the world’s most extensive, hand-curated directory of APIs estimated to be around 17,000. A brainchild of Mulesoft, this website also comes with tons of API-related news, press releases, tutorials, reviews, and articles. The site employs a robust tagging system, which enables you to search APIs in a more specific way based on your industry. An in-depth description of its functionalities accompanies every API profile. Atop the APIs, you will also find developers tools such as code samples, libraries, SDKs and frameworks.
3. Public APIs
With an excellently curated list of cutting-edge APIs, Public-APIs is your one-stop-shop for APIs and any related information. The platform boasts over 40 niche categories of APIs collected from all around the web. It features top-notch tools and utilities that can help you implement Geolocation services, Machine Learning, Identity Verification, and other data-intensive cloud solutions.
4. API List
Launched in 2017, API List has risen to become one of the most reliable API resources on the web. This platform features an expansive list of APIs, including over 800 free APIs. The platform boasts several industry categories, which feature in-depth information about every API. The site also features some valuable resources that can help users learn more about APIs.
5. API For That
Another excellent site where you can find a hand-curated directory is API For That. The platform boasts about 20 industry categories, which feature over 400 API profiles. Besides, every API on this repository features a link to a provider homepage, some standard documentation, and a brief description of it. The platform accepts APIs from all software developers, and this is why you always find trendy APIs on this site.
Unlike other hand-curated resources, APIs.guru is a computer-readable repository for REST APIs that are public. By accepting publicly sourced API specifications, the site converts them into a standard format, which allows for an automatic update when new specs are introduced. This platform enables you to view public API specification in YAML or JSON format. It also features a top-notch API to help you access the directory systematically.
With Google APIs becoming a force to be reckoned with in the API economy, the Google APIs Discovery Service has become a crucial resource to help developers find Google APIs. The service enables you to browse Google APIs via a JSON-based API that displays them in machine-readable metadata. The explorer also features an interactive online tool that is visible to the human eye.
Do you agree with our list? Which websites or apps do you think is the best place to discover APIs?