Web Service Application Programming Interface (API) is an interface implemented by a software program to enable interaction with other software, similar to the way a user interface facilitates interaction between humans and computers.
The API (Application Programming Interface) has been an essential component for creating applications that hook into or utilize web apps such as Facebook and Flickr. The practice of publishing APIs has allowed web communities to create an open architecture for sharing content and data between communities and applications.
In this way, content that is created in one place can be dynamically posted or updated in multiple locations on the web. Sharing live comments made on Twitter to a Facebook account, for example, is enabled by Twitter and Facebook’s APIs. With it, developers have been able to create some amazing mashups and tools. Some of the most helpful applications on the web wouldn’t be possible without APIs. Here are my pick of the best 10 on the web…
1. Google Maps API
2. Flickr API
Flickr is an image and video hosting website, web services suite, and online community. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of mashups that rely on the Flickr API to add a little bit of visual appeal. With 3-5 million new photos uploaded to the site daily and recently passing the 4 billionth photos, it’s no wonder that developers are excited to use it. It’s a simple call-and-response-based API, but with extensive tailored support for your chosen language. It communicates using REST, XML-RPC or Soap and gets your data back in XML, JSON or PHP. One of this API’s great strengths is the number of third-party developer tools and libraries. For more information on Flickr’s API visit the Official Flickr API documentation page, which offers a ton of information about using the API and links to third-party API kits.
3. Facebook Platform / Facebook Connect
Facebook is the king of the social media network. The site is driven by user contributions, offering coders a rare platform that hooks you directly into an eager audience. Facebook’s bespoke mark-up language – PHP and FBML are use for coding their Apps. With over 350,000 active applications on the Facebook Platform and Facebook Connect, that easily makes Facebook’s platform and Connect API among the hottest development platforms on the web today. More information on this can be found at the Facebook Developers site, one of the most complete and well-made and maintained developer sites on the web.
4. Twitter API
Twitter is a community with one question: “What are you doing now?” The API lets you take that data in XML format and combine it with your own code or other API’s predictably; geographic mapping applications top the list, showing the location of group members. The place to start, of course, is the Official API Wiki, which Twitter has packed with documentation, guides, tutorials, known issues, and FAQs for dealing with the Twitter API and OAuth
5. eBay API
eBay’s API is more powerful than ever, and offers plenty of functionality for creating powerful and interesting applications. Normally, users buy and sell items using the eBay online interface, interacting with eBay directly. But with the eBay API, you communicate directly with the eBay database. Of the services in our countdown, eBay’s API is the best-supported. It’s the most comprehensive and complex of the bunch. After registering, you’re able to generate a set of authentication keys for the API’s sandbox to build and test sample applications.