Understanding, consuming, and building APIs and data

Start here

Prerequisite: understand how the Internet works, how apps make and respond to requests, and other essential networks.

APIs, or application programming interfaces, are kind of hard to define. In the context of web development, APIs denote websites that accept requests through HTTP (the same process as when you type a URL into your browser and hit ‘Enter’, only through code), and respond back with JSON containing your requested information. Open APIs in this case means essentially databases that you can access via a programming interface.

To understand the concept behind using APIs to get information from a server, read Thoughtworks’ great post on REST API design and resource modeling.

Here’s a small tutorial I wrote on how to use Ruby to access an API.

Check out Rise of APIs, a cool article talking about the current status of APIs.

Code you’ll need to make API calls



Open data to use

Sites that are API directories

Data Science

Data analysis, graphing, and more.