RapidAPI Hub – The Next Generation API Platform

Mon Aug 01 2022

9 min read

We often have to write more than one program to perform different tasks. The client-server model is the best example if we talk about it in terms of the Web. Both the client and server are programs that can be written in different programming languages. Although they perform separate tasks, they have to communicate in the end.

All this communication takes place via APIs.

APIs let two programs written in the same or different programming languages talk to each other. It has multiple types, for instance, Web APIs, Public APIs, Private APIs, Composite APIs, etc., and multiple architectures, for instance, RESTful, GraphQL, SOAP, etc.

We can use public APIs in our web applications to add features without coding them from scratch. The most common example will be using the Stripe API to integrate payment services into our application.

These public APIs are available all over the internet; finding the right one can take too long. This is where RapidAPI Hub comes into the picture. In this piece, let’s look at RapidAPI Hub and how it is genuinely a next-generation API platform.

What is RapidAPI Hub?

Have you ever wondered if we can find all the APIs in one place? We will not have to go through hours of research to find the right API. RapidAPI Hub addresses this problem. It is home to over 35000+ APIs from different API providers. Google uses it to offer its official product API to consumers. The same is true for Microsoft.

Millions of developers use RapidAPI Hub daily to find and connect to thousands of APIs. RapidAPI Hub processes billions of API calls monthly, thus, making it the world’s largest Hub for APIs.

What does RapidAPI Hub offer?

Other than providing thousands of public APIs, RapidAPI Hub offers developers some great features around APIs that can help them during their product development workflow. Without any further ado, let’s look at some of these features.

API Support

RapidAPI Hub supports multiple API types like REST, GraphQL, Kafka, SOAP, and RapidQL. What it means is that RapidAPI Hub houses APIs of these types.

With REST API, you get multiple API endpoints and can use them to build flexible, scalable, and fast applications.

GraphQL APIs aggregate multiple data sources into one API. Whereas Kafka APIs are used to handle and process data streams and ingest/move large amounts of data quickly.

You can use SOAP APIs for transactions that involve multiple API calls. RapidQL is used to fetch, combine, and aggregate data from multiple APIs and databases in a single call.

API Security

One thing we can not compromise on is the security of our application. If we are using public APIs, we need to ensure they are secure. Otherwise, our application’s integrity can be compromised.

All the APIs on RapidAPI Hub need an authentication key to consume them in our application. On top of this, RapidAPI provides the API providers access to security features that provide solutions to 10 OWASP security risks.

RapidAPI Hub provides a deep search feature that is not limited to API name. You can use the search bar to search across API names, descriptions, and API provider usernames. If you have searched by API provider name, you will see all the APIs they have published.

You can also search by keywords. For instance, if you need an API that provides user location information, you can find it by searching for geolocation in the search bar. RapidAPI Hub will show you all the APIs that are related to the search information.

API Collection

Since there are thousands of APIs on RapidAPI Hub, it was only plausible to categorize them accordingly. Therefore, whenever someone adds a new API on RapidAPI Hub, they have to select a category for their API from the existing 46 categories.

These custom pages for APIs are available on RapidAPI Hub. You can select a category, and all the APIs that fall under it will be shown on the screen.

API Playground To Test APIs

Every API on RapidAPI Hub comes with an API playground to test it. An API playground is a user interface that lets a person subscribe to an API, select an endpoint, and then click on the Test Endpoint button to make an API call inside the browser. You can also set query parameters and the request body inside this playground.

Once you make a request and it is successful, you will see the response right there in the playground. This feature is super handy because you can see the response before integrating the API into your project.

Generate Code Snippets To Call APIs

One of the best features of RapidAPI Hub is that it lets you generate code snippets to call your selected API in 19 different languages. On top of this, you can also generate code snippets in different packages of each language.

These snippets are available on the API playground. You can select the language and the package from the dropdown menu. Once selected, the RapidAPI Hub will automatically generate the snippet, and then you can click the Copy Code button to copy it to your clipboard.

API Analysis

If you randomly use an API from the internet, you will not know whether it is reliable. With RapidAPI Hub, each API comes with three statistics, i.e., popularity, latency, and service level.

The popularity stats rate out of 10 (the higher the best). The latency of an API should be as low as possible, whereas the service level is a percentage that represents how quickly any downtime was addressed.

Discussion Forum

Each API that is published on RapidAPI Hub comes with a discussion forum. Your API users can use it to discuss your API in general or its endpoints, response, etc. It is a great way to interact with your API users without needing to set up a chat yourself.

Freemium Model

RapidAPI Hub lets you offer freemium plans to your API users. They can subscribe to your API and use it for free for a specific limit.

The freemium model is similar to the trial period you get after downloading software. The good part is it does not expire after a few days. For instance, if the hard limit is 1000 every month and you know your API calls will not exceed it, you can use the API for free.

How to use APIs from RapidAPI Hub?

Let’s take a quick look at how we can use APIs from RapidAPI Hub.

→ STEP #1

If you are new to the website, the first thing you would have to do is sign up on RapidAPI Hub. For this, you can click here, or you can head over to RapidAPI Hub and click on the Sign Up button at the top right corner.

You can either create a new account or sign up using your Google, GitHub, or Facebook account. I am going to use my GitHub account to sign up.

→ STEP #2

Once you are signed up, you will see a welcome message from RapidAPI Hub.

Here you have categories in the left sidebar, a search box at the top, and some recommended APIs. Let’s search for weather in the search box.

→ STEP #3

You will see a lot of different APIs as a search result. Let’s select the Open Weather Map API for this example. Now click on Subscribe to Test.

Once clicked, it will take you to another page. Here you would have to select a usage plan. Let’s choose the basic plan that is also free. After this, go back to the Endpoints page.

→ STEP #4

This page is divided into three sections: The leftmost part shows different endpoints, the middle one is where you can set options related to the API, and the right part is where you can see different code examples of how to use the API.

If you scroll down in the middle, you will see an option called X-RapidAPI-Key. It is the API key that you would need to use any API from RapidAPI Hub. Make sure that you do not unintentionally expose it to anyone.

Now select the endpoint you need from the left sidebar and the language you are using for your application from the right sidebar. Once selected, you will see the code you need to write to use the API. I am going to use the (JavaScript) fetch option.

Copy this code and paste it into your application, and that’s it. You have successfully integrated the Open Weather Map API from RapidAPI Hub Hub into your application.

Wrap Up

There you have it, folks! RapidAPI Hub is truly a next-generation API platform that has everything you need to find a good API. It is secure, full of useful features, lets you test APIs inside the browser, and more.

Before I wrap this piece up, I suggest you look at the most recent products we have launched, RapidAPI Client and Studio.

RapidAPI Client is a VS Code extension that lets you test and debug APIs right inside your code editor. Whereas RapidAPI Studio is an all-in-one platform to build, consume, and govern APIs. We have written pieces for each of these products that you can find below.