APIs, or application programming interfaces, are what connect different apps and enable them to interact with one another safely and securely.
A multitude of modern software services are reliant on external APIs to provide some of their core functions, and while some APIs come at a premium, others are free to use and thus offer opportunities for homebrew experimentation.
If you are interested in seeing what you can achieve with APIs, here are a handful of entertaining options to get you started and help you learn more about what they can be used to achieve.
Everyone loves a bad pun, and with the entertainingly named ‘icanhazdadjoke’ API which links to the site of the same name, a huge archive of silly gags is put at your fingertips.
The official documentation for this API goes into detail about how to make calls from it, as well as explaining that no authentication is required to use it, which is a nice touch.
The only request from the creators is that third parties set their own, unique User-Agent header so that calls made to the app can be tracked and usage monitored appropriately, presumably to prevent anyone from spamming it too hard.
In addition, when you have implemented icanhazdadjoke or another of the following options, it is sensible to test these APIs with any of these tools. That way you will know how successful your tinkering has been, and also give you pointers about what improvements you can make.
Evil Insult Generator
The name says it all, really. This is a website built around conjuring up random rude phrases designed to insult and irritate.
With the API, you can make use of this main feature for your own projects, or more likely have a mess around with it to get to grips with how APIs can be leveraged and manipulated.
It even offers insults in different languages, which is something you can specify when using the API as well. Again, this is not an entirely practical use of the technology, but that’s not the point here. If your purpose is to learn and progress as an API implementer, then Evil Insult Generator is another appealing, uncomplicated starting point.
The Bored API
Looking for a way to spice up your social life and overcome periods of tedium? Then check out The Bored API, which is another unfussily named and entirely free gateway, this time to recommendations of activities you can try out.
You can choose different variables, such as the number of participants and the price of the activity. It will then spit out a suggestion, such as hosting a movie marathon.
This gives you more choice and control than either of the aforementioned APIs, so it is a good next step as you build your skills and get more familiar with harnessing the potential APIs provide.
The world of Pokemon is vast and growing with each new release, so it’s nice that there’s a free API out there that lets you drawdown data on all of the adorable pocket monsters you could ever want.
PokeAPI is not just for finding info on the little critters themselves, but also other aspects of the hugely successful game series. And again, with impressively detailed documentation, it ensures that you can use it effectively in no time at all.
More than 60 million calls are handled by this successful, free API each month, and it is also supported by a large community, so you can get answers to questions and help using it in a jiffy.
Kanye Rest API
Global superstar Kanye West is known for coming out with all sorts of pearls of wisdom, whether during interviews or via social media. It should be no surprise that his fans have put together a database containing all of his choicest sayings, and you can use the Kanye Rest API to access these quotes.
So as you can see, there are lots of free APIs which are welcome as learning tools, even if their practical applications are limited. Many more APIs are out there waiting to be discovered, so learn the ropes and then dig deeper to get the most out of this tech.