Using APIs for new app ideas

For most applications that provide dynamic content, using an API is critical. It’s the engine of the engaging experience in a data based app. APIs can also be a powerful muse when you’re looking for a new idea for an app. Take a look at the two items below to start exploring the vast world of APIs and spark your imagination.

My recommendation is to go to Mashery first, create your developer account and get the API keys to the ones you want to use. Next, go to theRightAPI and start playing with the API, see the results you get from different queries. Then once you pick an API, you can use the output in theRightAPI to help create your object classes (for example, if you’re getting json results, you can use tools like Json To Csharp to generate your classes).

Jumpstart your app: Microsoft has posted an awesome series of Starter Kits for both Windows Phone and Windows 8. You can use these to quickly get your idea up and running.

Mashery

Mashery is a service that will let you maintain a single login and use it across many different APIs. This prevents the hassle of having to create separate accounts for all the different APIs you want to explore.  Simply create an account with Mashery and then start exploring the list of APIs (see screenshot).  If you want to a get a key from one of the choices, go to the API website and sign in with your Mashery profile (most sites automatically detect your Mashery info).

MasheryApis

The Right API

The Right API is a great tool to help you both discover and work with APIs. Here is a quote from them: “theRightAPI helps by allowing you to define any API scenario to see exactly how it behaves now and at any point in the future.” It is super simple to use, (see this screenshot below). This is a great site that will save you a lot of time off your debugging, you’ll know exactly what is being returned to your app when the API is called.

EdmundsRightApi

Conculsion

If you’re looking to make a new app or spice up an existing one, adding data from an API can be a wonderful bonus for your users. Remember that with power comes responsibility, keep in consideration that API calls take time and use data. you want to strike that perfect balance between performance and quality.

Happy coding!

Lance

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3 thoughts on “Using APIs for new app ideas

  1. Pingback: Using APIs for new app ideas

  2. Pingback: Weekly Digest for Developers: Feb 16 - Feb 23, 2014 | Super Dev Resources

  3. As far as I understand, Mashery login only works for the APIs hosted with Mashery – which is a relatively small number of APIs, because besides Mashery there are also 3Scale, Apigee, WSO2 and a few smaller solutions for API management (disclaimer, I work for the team doing the hosted version of WSO2: http://cloud.wso2.com).

    Also, from, API discovery perspective, check out ProgrammableWeb and APIs.io.

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