Application programming interfaces, better known as APIs, allow you to do an amazing amount of things with the data provided by some of the biggest names on the Web. And thanks to these handy pieces of code, you are able to track your packages as a shipper moves them across the country, or you can see where someone’s latest Tweet is coming from on a real-time map.
When you couple these 12 powerful APIs with the likes of the tools we listed in 10 Web Apps To Build The Next Big Thing Without Writing Any Code, you could end up building the next big mashup that everyone wants to use. So what’s stopping you from trying your hand at being a Web superstar?
Bing Maps: Formerly Microsoft Virtual Earth, Bing Maps is a nice alternative for those who don’t want to create yet another mashup using Google Maps. Microsoft offers up three different APIs to use with Bing Maps that allow you to do a whole host of things such as choosing how the data is displayed, deciding if you want 3D, using geospatial attributes and more.
Google Maps: Easily one of the most popular APIs in the world, the Google Maps tool allows you to do just about everything a user can do on the standard Google Maps site. You can add Google AdSense to help monetize your mashup, cater to mobile customers and a whole lot more. Basically, if you can think of it, this API can handle it.
Yahoo Maps: The Yahoo Maps API offers numerous options for you to manipulate the data in just about any way you can imagine. The actual maps are provided in Flash, Ajax and Map Images. You can then use their other APIs to add resources from Yahoo! Local listings, Traffic and Weather reports, Upcoming events and Flickr Photos.
Amazon eCommerce: If the Amazon Affiliate Program doesn’t pack enough punch for you, the king of all ecommerce sites also offers an API to allow you to roll out your own tools. The Amazon API utilizes REST and SOAP, and allows you to call up product data, build searches and make sure your affiliate ID gets included in all referrals.
eBay: The eBay API offers you a unique opportunity in that you can earn commission on items you advertise on your site from the auction house. This means you can even earn some money from showing your own items that are up for auction. The API uses the SOAP and REST protocols, and delivers results in XML. If your app passes their testing software, you can get listed in the official directory and will qualify for 1.5 million calls a day.
Shopping.com: The Shopping.com API allows you to integrate all of the items indexed in their shopping search engine into your site in a way that best suits your needs.
Social Media APIs
Delicious.com: The Delicious API is still under development, and according to their web site you should be warned that they can aggressively shut down older versions as they move forward. With the Delicious API you can build apps that will let you add or delete bookmarks, retrieve data for specific dates, grab tags and much more.
Flickr: The Flickr API allows you to build apps that will retrieve public photos, videos, favorites, friends, group pools, discussions and more from the site. You can also use it to build tools that will upload photos and videos. The Flickr API supports many protocols including REST, SOAP and XML-RPC.
Twitter: It’s difficult to imagine that the Twitter API hasn’t had just about everything imaginable done to it already, but what’s the harm in trying your own hand at it? Data can be retrieved in XML, JSON, RSS and Atom formats to deliver information about users, tweets, friends, followers, favorites and more.
YouTube: YouTube offers up multiple APIs that allow you to do a number of different functions. The data API allows you to incorporate YouTube functions into your site such as uploading, performing searches, creating playlists and more. There are two different player APIs that allows you to choose the normal player, or one that gives you a completely customized player. The last one is widget-based and will allow you to add small YouTube tools anywhere you choose on your site.
Bing: The new API from Microsoft’s Bing service offers the use of the JSON, XML and SOAP protocols, and will allow you to call on results for the Web, Images, InstantAnswer, Phonebook, RelatedSearch, Spell and more.
Google AJAX Search: The Google AJAX Search API allows you to add Web Search, Local Search, Video and Blog Search to your site. If your site is a message board, the API will allow your users to copy search results easily into their messages.