APIs play a significant role in our everyday lives without us knowing about them. Today, we will go over the best free APIs you need to know about and show some examples of APIs.
APIs are responsible for many functions and back-end processes outside our field of view. This includes allowing communication between different devices, applications, and even people. There are many free APIs, which you can find at API marketplace options.
APIs enable real-time analytics and feature highly integrated tools, which can execute functions quicker and more efficiently than ever. Some APIs allow us to access geo-blocked content. Others give us information about the weather. Some even let us connect seamlessly with any service using our pre-existing Google accounts and give us email-related functionalities.
Today, we will go over some of the fundamentals of APIs. We will analyze how they work and discuss some of the best examples of APIs we use daily.
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What Are APIs, And How Do They Work?
- API is the software intermediary that has been purpose-built to enable two applications to communicate with one another.
- Every time someone utilizes an application, they use an API.
- APIs have evolved, and what was once simply an explanation for any generic connectivity interface has become full-fledged applications.
Modern APIs even take characteristics that make them extremely valuable and helpful, which was not always the case.
This includes adhering to standards such as HTTP and REST. Because they are much more standardized, they have a much larger level of security and governance.
APIs implement solutions that can are utilized anywhere from command-line tools to cloud-native architectures, enterprise code, and microservices. However, we must review some of their specific functions to grasp how APIs work.
What Are The Functions Of APIs?
An API serves the function of a virtual middleman. The API is responsible for relaying the information from one interface, such as a mobile application, to another.
Each API is purpose-built to connect different parts within a software platform. They make sure that the information relates and ends up in the right location.
The connection points within an API function not only as internal communication channels but also as external tools.
This is why APIS is typically split into internal (Private) APIs and External (Open) APIs.
- The Private API is the one that can only get accessed by the developers as well as the users within a specific organization. It connects internal team processes to enhance the workflow and streamline the collaboration between the teams.
- The Open APIs fill the role of a way through which developers can access and integrate information from one tool to another. They are purpose-built to save developers a lot of time because they allow them to connect their platform with previously existing tools and reduce the requirement for creating new functions. There’s even OpenAI functionality within APIs.
Let’s now move toward some of the best real-world examples of APIs we utilize daily.
What Are The 7 Best Examples Of APIs We Use Daily?
The best way we can truly grasp and better understand how APIs work is by going over some real-world applications. As such, we have listed the seven best examples regarding their utility.
1. The URL Shortener API
Whenever we go online, we see with links that are typically far too long to remember or can be challenging to re-write or share online due to their length. Twitter has a character limit, so expressing your thoughts can be difficult if most characters are the link.
Long links are also considered by many as spam and are less likely to appeal to the person you send them to. One of the most heavily utilized APIs that you will typically encounter online is a URL Shortener. This is because they provide total privacy and ownership of the short URL service. The URL Shortener API found on APILayer allows users to generate thousands of URLs with a powerful API.
2. Weatherstack Weather Information
Weatherstack is available on the APILayer store and allows real-time and historical world weather data to anyone. Users can retrieve instant, accurate weather information for any location in the world. Before going out, many people will typically quickly search about what the weather might be like.
ipstack is essentially an API that will enable users to locate and identify website visitors by their IP address. In other words, it offers leading IP to geolocation APIs and global IP database services worldwide.
By leveraging the power of an API such as this, the users can know where their customers access their website and can, as a direct result, customize the overall user experiences based on their IP.
It also supports IPv4 and IPv6 Data and the API covers over 2 million unique locations in more than 200.000 cities worldwide.
4. The Login Screen
One of the most commonly utilized APIs that almost every internet user has experienced throughout their time connecting to different applications is the “log in with Google, Facebook, Twitter” screen. Whenever you download a new application, the chances are high that it’s connected to a social media use case or requires you to have an account to store your information; it will prompt you to either create a new account, which is a time-consuming process or connect with your pre-existing account at another social media channel.
However, rather than entering into the user’s social media account directly, which would be a breach of privacy, applications have implemented the use of APIs to authenticate the user with each login.
When the app loads, it checks the API and determines if the user has already logged in and through social media platforms. They have to tap on “Log-in with …”, after which a pop-up will appear asking them to confirm that they want to log in using that social profile. Upon confirmation, the API then sends identity information to the application.
5. Paying With E-Wallets Such As PayPal
For this example, we will use PayPal, but this is the case with just about any other e-wallet with this functionality. If you have been shopping on many e-commerce websites, then the chances are high that, at some point in time, you have come across a store that will feature the “Pay with PayPal” option on the checkout screen.
Once a user clicks or taps on the button, the application makes an “order” request to the PayPal API that contains the amount that needs to be paid, alongside other critical information.
The user authenticates themselves, after which the purchase gets confirmed.
6. Booking APIs
If you’ve ever visited a Booking website to book your travel to a specific hotel or destination, the chances are high that you have interacted with an API.
Almost all booking-related websites utilize third-party APIs to get airline and hotel availability from their listed suppliers. These are responsible for confirming the trip with the supplier through which the API got sourced.
7. Google Maps
One of the most popular Maps locations and services on a global scale is Google Maps, as it is available on billions of mobile devices. This application utilizes the Google Maps API to pull customized location data, send directors, and even analyze any type of location data sent.
How Are APIs Are Changing Our Lives and Making Them Easier?
APIs play a significant role in streamlining our experiences when using any kind of technology or gadget and provide us with the information and utilities we need at the point when we need them.
Here, we listed some of the best API provider options available on the API market. There are free APIs and powerful APIs created to fill specific needs.
APIs represent a solution to the needs of our everyday lives.
Any developer who wants to create a specific mobile application or anything else in today’s technology climate will likely integrate APIs within their development process.
To learn more about APIs and how they can assist you with a specific business or development-oriented needs, check out free APIs with APILayer.