10 APIs Every Developer Must Know In 2021
The internet has become a confluence of different technologies, thanks to a plethora of development tools found in every nook and corner of the internet world.
If you are a developer, then the chances of you not hearing about APIs are very slim. After all, APIs have become a buzzword in the ‘development world’ due to their ability to bring different utilities to your platter. Without APIs, it would have become impossible to address multiple needs in a single application.
In this post, we will quickly understand what is an API and follow it up with 10 APIs every developer should know today.
Table of Contents
- What is an API?
- Google Maps API
- Google Maps Geocoding API
- IBM Watson
- Yandex Translate API
- Microsoft Cognitive Services
- Payment Request API
- Amazon S3 API
What is an API?
API or Application Programming Interface is a software intermediary that enables applications to communicate with each other. In other words, API acts as a messenger that delivers your request to the provider (from whom you are requesting the resources) and gives back the response.
Imagine, you are at a restaurant placing an order with the waiter. He/She takes the order to the kitchen where your food is made. Once the food is prepared, the waiter serves it to you. Now replace the kitchen with the application that is providing the resource and the waiter with the API. You can connect the dots.
As you can see here, the waiter is the intermediary who facilitates the back and forth communication between you and the kitchen. Similarly, the API facilitates interaction between two or more applications.
Developers usually use APIs to add new features to their applications or websites that would take much longer to develop from scratch.
Tech giants such as Google, Facebook, Dropbox, Paypal, and many other individual enterprises have built public APIs to communicate their services with other applications. This is heaven-sent for developers as it helps them build their applications without any hassles.
Now that we have understood what an API is and how it is useful, let us look into the top 10 APIs that every developer must include in his/her arsenal.
Google Maps API
There is no other API that is more popular in the list than this publicly available API from Google Maps. The maps you often find in different applications are added with the aid of this API. This API has become the de facto standard for embedding location maps and is necessary to be included in your developer’s toolkit.
The basic use of this map is plotting places with local search results with the help of vivid markers or points. A more advanced feature is achieved through an amalgamation of the frontend code and the maps API, where when you click on a search, the place to be searched will be highlighted in the maps.
Google Maps Geocoding API
The Geocoding API is often used alongside Google Maps. It accepts an address or city name to plot the place on the map based on real-time geographic coordinates(latitudes and longitudes). The Geocoding API is used if your application requires parcel-level lookups, be it a hotel application or GPS tracker.
If you are looking for Oauth authentication for your application, then you do not need to reinvent the wheel. OAuth is basically a third-party authentication framework that offers secure access to your application. Stormpath makes registration easier with its inbuilt support for social logins. Stormpath currently supports Facebook, Google, Linkedin, and Github logins. Apart from this, it is also used for ‘forgot password’ flows.
Best known for its stronghold in the AI domain, IBM artificial intelligence services are also available as APIs. It provides public APIs for cloud applications to build a model to automate processes, make accurate predictions, interact with users and augment expertise. From Natural Language Conversion(NLP) to data analytics, this API has helped developers in managing various AI-related processes.
With FullContact, you will find a trove of information from a single mail address. In other words, FullContact provides information about the person behind the email address. From one piece of data, you can have a plethora of information such as the location, gender, and social network accounts of the email holder. FullContact service is especially handy in sales and marketing, where you can use it as a business card reader to know the ins and outs of your customers. It will help in building lasting relationships.
Yandex translate API
Yandex translate API supports more than 90 languages and helps in the translation of separate words or lengthy forums. From reading short summaries to technical documentation, this API is widely used by newbies as well as pro developers.
Microsoft Cognitive Services
If you are planning to build your application around AI, it is handy to use an API like Cognitive Services that embeds the AI functionality. This is one of the go-to APIs for developers looking to build image recognition applications, as it provides advanced image cognitive services that allow you to recognize any image from the internet.
Payment Request API
If you are building an e-commerce website or any application that requires transaction of funds, then the Payment Request API can help incorporate this functionality without any hassles. It makes the payment process smooth and secure so that the user does not face any issues while checking out and shopping on your website.
Amazon S3 API
In businesses, people always look for storage and hosting solutions so that they can scale their businesses to a whole new level. With Amazon S3 API, you leave the cloud storage to the API endpoints, allowing third-party users to upload files and images to your bucket. API requests to Amazon S3 can be authenticated or be anonymous. Authenticated access would require credentials that AWS would use to authenticate requests.
This is definitely one of the developers’ favorites. This telecommunications company offers a well-documented API for voice and text processing. Through it, you can send and receive phone calls, SMS text messages, and MMS pictures. You can even build models that form the basis for your applications with Twilio or even add two-factor authentication for reliable security.
The above-discussed APIs help you supercharge your application with different functionalities. With repetitive problems being taken care of, you can focus only on the part you are meant to take care of. To have a head start at using these APIs, dive into their documentation, know more about HTTPS requests, API keys and you will be ready for your next project that requires any of their integration.