The Top 15 Web APIs For Your Site

Machine-based interaction is a common feature of Web 2.0 sites like Digg, Facebook and Dilicious, and these days it goes well beyond simple web feeds. An application programming interface(API) is what allows programmers to write applications and widgets that interact with services on these sites. The API gives them web-based access to data and functions from such sites. For example using the GoogleMaps API one could pull data and mapping information from Google that enables users of a site to view an embedded map of the location of a business.

Although typically using an API does require some expertise in programming, many of the APIs which are being released by sites are well documented with good examples on how to implement them, WebAPI. This article also details many of the user created scripts which have been generated using the various API’s which will give end users something to play with too.

15 – MediaWiki API

With over 2 million articles Wikipedia is a valuable resource, the Mediawiki API allows access to this content. Sites based on the MediaWiki API include Wikitravel, Wiktionary, and WikiNews.

14 – Upcoming

The Upcoming API allows you to take data from the Yahoo site It’s useful if you want current events information on your site.

Yahoo Upcoming

13 – Audio Scrobbler API

Last FM uses the Audio Scrobbler API to gather information about music you listen to. It is also the source of many various “is currently listening to” plug-ins for various applications.

12 – Ebay API

Ebay’s API is very comprehensive, and supports almost all major web scripting options, including flash and Ajax. It has a sandbox for testing scripts, and offers you sample script blocks which it calls widgets to help you getting started. Visit Widget Blog Ebay for some examples.

11 – Facebook API

Everyone knows about Facebook, it’s a hugely successful social networking site, that my girl friend assures me is very addictive. The site has loads of code samples, application creation guides and libraries for developers to play with. As Facebook is completely driven by user generated content it has a huge market of users just waiting to get their hands on fresh content, so for those that have the skill the Facebook API is a goldmine. Visit Mashable to read 10 awesome things built on the Facebook API.

10 – Feedburner API

As you may already know Feedburner is an RSS feed creation tool. The API gives developers a few toys to play with, the best of which is the Feedflare API which allows you to add new functionality onto Feedburner feeds.

9 – Google Search API

The Google Search API Is a AJAX Search API that lets you put Google Search in your web pages with JavaScript. Google gives you some very useful examples of sample code to use.

8 – Yahoo Search API

You may not believe it , but the Yahoo search API is actually more popular than the Google alternative. You can use it to create a simple spell checking tool or site wide search widget… useful stuff

7 – Windows Live API

The API for Microsoft’s portal contains a whole heap of different APIs for different MS services. Here is some of the applications that have been created using the API,  Windows Live API list, which includes content ranging from Halo 3 user guides to major league baseball videos.

6 – Google Ajax Feed API

With the AJAX Feed API, you can download any public Atom or RSS feed using only JavaScript, and easily mash up feeds with your content, and each other. It is super fast and is the quickest way to display real time RSS content on your site. Dynamic Drive’s gAjax RSS Feeds Displayer is a great example of a script created from this API.

5 – Digg API

Using the Digg API you can access individual stories, comments, or data on particular user activities. For some examples of the Digg API is action check out: 7 awesome things built on the digg API, Who’s digging You and Digg Comment Spy.

Digg API Flickr API

4 – Delicious API

Although the Delicious API is not as complex or comprehensive as most of the other APIs featured, it is so simple, you can see results just by typing a URL into your browser. You can also write data to Delicious such as adding bookmarks or renaming tags. for example:

..would add Pingable as a bookmark in to your delicious account after a username and password challenge.

3 – Google Maps

The Google Maps API is probably the most implemented API on the net. It is used in applications such as Google flight simulator.

2 – Flickr API

The Flickr API gives two way access to the site and some of its features and photos. Tasks that can be completed using the API include creating new sets, editing comments, changing photo notes, as well as pulling existing data from the site. Here is some examples of the Flickr API in action.

1 – <a
href=””>YouTube API

A very popular Number 1, because the YouTube API is both simple, and purely limited only by your imagination. Data which can be pulled from YouTube includes: Video titles, rating, length, tags, url, your favorites, your friend list and the thumbnail location. For an example of the YouTube API in action check out : CoverPop, and you may also want to check out: A YouTube and Google Map Mashup.

Other API resources: GotAPI , API finder, Mashery and a full list of Google APIs.

Digg and flickr icons from: Web 2.0 Services Icons

Some of the content in this article was inspired by “The Top 20 APIs for your site” article in issue 167 of .net magazine.

79 thoughts on “The Top 15 Web APIs For Your Site”

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  6. They describe it as an API, not me. Wiki API. But is it really worth arguing over whether something is a package or an API…the page talked about is software that calls from resources on wiki…API or not… it’s useful. Those site mentioned are developed using the software download. Thanks for stopping by.

  7. You’re somehow implying in the article, that you could access for example the Wikipedia information through some API out there… you can’t. Atleast there’s no such official API provided by Wikimedia. The script you refer to might provide this functionality, but you have to run it yourself.

    Again, Mediawiki is just software. Mediawiki API you refer to allows you to access data at Mediawiki servers. They’re not Wikimedia.

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  12. Sadly, google don’t give api anymore..

    or, am I wrong?? because, I dont really know, how can we use the google api..hehe…

  13. I’ll second the google search and youtube API’s. I have not used any of the others but FeedBurner would be really interesting for grabbing some fresh content now and then with minimal effort. Good post!

  14. I’ve had a couple of weeks and actually started using the Facebook API with great success. With the introduction of facebook pages/groups , it is a great way to promote as well.

  15. Great List, I have been using the Google Maps and a few of the other ones, but this list is great.

    I really want to look into the facebook API but I am less technical than some of my cohearts, so I’m a bit weary.

  16. I’ve used a few of these APIs. I am a bit surprised that Twitter is not there with all the hype around it. Then again perhaps it wasn’t so special back in 2007.

  17. I like the google maps and feedburner and yahoos upcoming api. I know alot of people use the ebay and utube ones on sites also.

    Thanks great list of apis some i did not know about.

  18. I, too, like Google Maps api, especially features photos and names of areas.
    It is very difficult realization has not yet been dealt with in Programming is to understand how it works …

  19. Thanks for the resources. Google maps is the only one I have ever found really useful in the real world.. I will have to try some of the search api’s to see how they work.

  20. Does anyone know if you can tie the Google search API in with your AdSense account? Google AdSense does now allow for you to add their web search tool and you collect a share of the click profit. Yahoo should allow this as well. Why help out Google without getting a slice?

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  22. One thing about these APIs you mentioned is that they add interactivity to one’s site, especially the ones from Google. I use Google Maps API.

  23. I think that this needs to be updated with the Twitter API. Definitely very useful, especially as social sharing becomes the new thing.

  24. I sometimes find that the google ones don’t really add anything to the pages with the advent of the google toolbar. But still, most of the other API’s are brilliant little apps.

  25. Not sure I’m buying into the claim that the Yahoo API is more popular than Google’s. Is there some substantiation to this claim??

    Yahoo is far behind Google just about every aspect and the gap is only widening…

  26. I am ardent fan of the DIGG API and the comment spy. I am reaping great benefits out of it. I am also trying to learn new things using the same. Thanks for creating this list of api’s. Your efforts are highly appreciated.

  27. The mediawiki is highly essential for any website. They can have a glossary or faq from wiki information associated to their site for the benefit of their visitors.

  28. I love ViaMichelin maps and their API, they have excellent Coverage for UK and Ireland with all great Geocoding accuracy and high customisation.

    No respectable business should use a Google API for their store , shop or branch finder or locator as the directions are poor and the map lacks details. So many times Google API cannot recognise small town names or postcodes, when they do the accuracy is bad as Google do not provide Geocoding , Google only provide a basic mapping service tool.

    I will stick with Michelin business mapping and may even try their web service too !

  29. Google Maps is the best for both public and intranet applications. It allows you to embed map widgets in to HTML pages.

  30. Nice article! I didn’t know there were so many different APIs out there. So far, we’ve only used the Google Maps API for different websites. Mostly for your basis route description needs.

    I’ll take a look at the Flickr API for our company. Seeing as we’re based in the Netherlands, the rest of the APIs aren’t that interesting for us. Does anybody know if the Flickr API is easy to install?

  31. I am looking to implement a more robust search function on my site.

    I would like to implement either the Yahoo or Google Search API, but I wonder if the results are limited to only pages that are indexed at any particular moment.

    Does anyone know if this is how these search apis work?

  32. Hi Simon. I really do like the facebook API. They make it so easy using FBML to add like and share buttons to pages. It would actually be great to see a like button on pingable.

  33. The only API I currently use is Google Maps for customers to find my business. I’ve been thinking about Facebook API, but I can’t find a good programmer.

  34. Flikr is another good example and can be installed with minimal knowledge. You can share your images on-the-go with ease and you don’t have to open new browser windows and deal with hassle of manual uploading; APIs are really making life easier and interesting but at times it slows down the loading time of parent websites so better test it before you go live.

  35. i like google, flick and facebook, and i used bing maps for a project. it’s nice because it integrates better with, but google maps is definetly the best

  36. Thanks for compiling this get list of the top 15 APIs. I really enjoy using the google search API the most out of all the rest. I’m looking forward to reading a lot more of your site in the future.

  37. One thing about these APIs you mentioned is that they add interactivity to one’s site, especially the ones from Google. I know a lot of people use the ebay and utube ones on sites also. I am also trying to learn new things using the same. Thanks for creating this list of api’s.

  38. We have a unique API that provides Telephony Data in a restful API format. There are docs on our site and you can request access there as well.

    The API provides telephony data on telephone numbers via a reverse phone append.

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