What is a RESTful API and why should I learn more about it?
REST is a type of software architecture that was designed to ensure interoperability between different Internet computer systems. Basically the idea is that services that comply with REST architecture can more easily communicate with one another.
REST does not enforce any rule regarding how it should be implemented at lower level, it just put high level design guidelines and leave you to think of your own implementation. What we do have is the definition of architectural constraints which make any web service – a true RESTful API.
The goal of REST is to increase performance, scalability, simplicity, modifiability, visibility, portability, and reliability. This is achieved through following REST principles such as a client–server architecture, statelessness, cacheability, use of a layered system, support for code on demand, and using a uniform interface.
The focus is to make sure that the REST architectural style emphasises the scalability of interactions between components, uniform interfaces, independent deployment of components, and the creation of a layered architecture to facilitate caching components to reduce user-perceived latency, enforce security, and encapsulate legacy systems.
What is an API?
According to Wikipedia, “An application programming interface is a connection between computers or between computer programs. It is a type of software interface, offering a service to other pieces of software. A document or standard that describes how to build or use such a connection or interface is called an API specification”.
Imagine you arrive at the mall and you would like to order a burger. The kitchen is the part of the “system” that will prepare your order. What is missing is a link to communicate your order to the kitchen and deliver your food back as fast as possible. That’s where the person taking the order comes in, here representing by the API . The person taking the orders is the messenger – or API – that takes your request or order and tells the kitchen – the system – what to do. The person taking the order can only accept orders for items listed in the menu, and the menu in this case is the document or standard that describes what and how you can make your requests; Both you and the person making the orders know very well the menu structure and contents, meaning both server and client can communicate. Then the person takes your order, deliver it to the kitchen that prepares and send the response back to you; in this case, it is the food!
Is there a real-life client-server API example?
Yes, lets take a more is a real-life client-server API example. Lets say you want to build your our web, desktop or mobile application to search and present information about commercial flights. Just like the restaurant, you have a variety of options to choose from, including different airline companies, cities and airports, departure and return dates, as well as other variables. In order search and present this information, your application should interact with the airline’s servers to access their database.
The airline companies would never allow you to directly access their databases and instead they provide a secure and structured gateway for you to put your requests and retrieve the information needed, the APIs. Each airline company may have a different API, which means you may need to implement and test different interfaces in order to retrieve the information from each one of them.
Now imagine you want your application to escalate worldwide, how many airlines companies would you have to connect to? how many API structure to study, implement, test and comply with regular changes? There are companies providing APIs to put togheter information from several airline companies worldwide in one single API structure, making it easier for you to build client applications with a single implementation.
In this article we will cover APILayer solutions https://apilayer.com , an unparalleled suite of productivity-boosting Web APIs & cloud-based micro-service applications for developers and companies of any size.
Here are 20 different powerful APIs to easily add all sorts of functionality to your apps with no code (or very low code).
1. How can I build a real-time flight status app?
Whether it’s building booking platforms, visualizing and monitoring global flights or creating popular flight tracking applications, wouldn’t it be nice to have a Free, Simple REST API for Live Flight tracker & airport timetable data?!
AviationStack API (https://aviationStack.com/) offers instant access to live extensive set of aviation data, including real-time flight status, historical flights, schedules, airline routes, airports, aircrafts from 250+ countries and 13.000+ airlines from all around the world. This is possible to be done for free (up to first 500 calls/month; no credit card required) and much more is available at very affordable prices and scalable to the use you make with no upfront commitments.
AviationStack offers several API endpoints to choose from:
· Real-Time Flights: Look up flights in real-time
· Historical Flights: Look up historical flights
· Airline Routes: Look up airline routes
· Airports: Look up global airports
· Airlines: Look up global airlines
· Airplanes: Look up airplanes/aircrafts
· Aircraft Types: Look up aircraft types
· Aviation Taxes: Look up aviation taxes
· Cities: Look up global cities
· Countries: Look up countries
2. How can I build a real-time weather app?
Would you like to enhance your application with Real-Time & Historical World Weather Data information? Wouldn’t it be nice to have a API to retrieve instant, accurate weather information for any location in the world in lightweight JSON format? More importantly, do you want to do all that with the smallest possible amount of code and yet keep it easy to understand and completely maintainable?
WeatherStack API (https://weatherstack.com) offers instant access to current weather data for millions of global locations, powered by rock-solid data sources and refreshed in real-time. This is possible to be done for free (up to first 250 calls/month; no credit card required) and much more is available at very affordable prices and scalable to the use you make with no upfront commitments. The data comes from some of the largest weather stations and weather data providers in the world, all of which are closely monitored for consistency and data accuracy around the clock.
WeatherStack offers several API endpoints to choose from:
- Current Weather: Get current weather data.
- Historical Weather: Get historical weather data.
- Historical Time-Series: Get historical time-series weather data.
- Weather Forecast: Get weather forecast for up to 14 days.
- Location Lookup: Look up one or multiple locations.
3. What do I need to do to build a real-time news app?
Would you like to enhance your application with news data from thousands of international news publishers and blogs, updated as often as every single minute? Wouldnt it be nice to have a Free, Simple REST API for Live News & Blog Articles?!
MediaStack API (https://mediaStack.com) offers instant access to live news data feeds, discover trends & headlines, monitor brands and access breaking news events around the world. This is possible to be done for free (up to first 500 calls/month; no credit card required) and much more is available at very affordable prices and scalable to the use you make with no upfront commitments. Every minute, the mediastack API interface is automatically collecting news articles from 7,500+ global news sources and blogs worldwide, parsing it and converting it into a standardized programmatic format for the purpose of ease of use. In order to ensure the highest possible level of accuracy and data consistency, each of the sources used is monitored closely and around the clock for technical or content anomalies. Additional news sources are added continously as they become available.
MediaStack offers two API endpoints to choose from:
· News Data: Get live & historical news data.
· News Sources: Get a list of news sources.
4. Learn how to build a real-time search engine results page app
A search engine results page, or SERP, is the page you see after entering a query into Google, Yahoo, or any other search engine. In addition to organic search results, search engine results pages (SERPs) usually include paid search and pay-per-click (PPC) ads and more. Wouldnt it be nice to have a free, lightweight and easy-to-use SERP API built to offer a way of scraping Google SERP data in real-time and at scale?!
SerpStack (https://SerpStack.com) offers two API endpoints to choose from:
· Search: Get SERP data for your search query
· Locations: Search locations supported by the API
5. How can I capture real-time super-accurate geocoding in my app?
Would you like to enhance your application with accurate forwardand reverse batch geocoding? Wouldnt it be nice to have a free, lightweight and easy-to-use geocoding REST API to geocode any global address or set of coordinates in real-time?!
PositionStack API (https://PositionStack.com) offers instant access to live geocoding for global places and coordinates around the world. This is possible to be done for free (up to first 25,000 calls/month; no credit card required) and much more is available at very affordable prices and scalable to the use you make with no upfront commitments. The PositionStack API covers 2+ billion addresses sourced from multiple, highly reliable sources, such as Nominatim, GeoNames, Pelias and OpenStreetMap. Updates to our dataset are made multiple times per day and smart filters and algorithms ensure the highest possible level of consistency across API requests and accuracy in geo data responses.
PositionStack offers two API endpoints to choose from:
· Forward Geocoding: Geocoding by free-text place name or address.
· Reverse Geocoding: Geocoding by coordinates or IP address.
6. What is the quickest and easiest way to build a real-time IP to geolocation app?
Wouldn’t it be nice to know where your customers access your website from and customize user experiences based on IP?! ipstack offers a powerful, real-time IP to geolocation API capable of looking up accurate location data and assessing security threats originating from risky IP addresses. Results are delivered within milliseconds in JSON or XML format. Using the ipstack API you will be able to locate website visitors at first glance and adjust your user experience and application accordingly.
ipstack API (https://IpStack.com) has years of partnership with large ISPs ensure accurate and consistent data any day of the year and covers over 2 million unique locations in more than 200.000 cities around the world.
ipStack offers three API endpoints to choose from:
· Standard Lookup: Look up the data behind an IP address.
· Bulk Lookup: Look up the data behind multiple IP addresses at once.
· Requester Lookup: Look up the data behind the IP address your API request is coming from.
7. How can I automatically scrape the contents of websites in my apps?
scrapeStack offers a single endpoint to scrape whatever webpage you want. For a complete and detailed information on endpoint and its parameters make sure you refer to ScrapeStack Quickstart guide (https://scrapeStack.com/quickstart)
8. What’s the most efficient and easiest way to include currency rates and perform currency conversions in my app?
Wouldn’t it be nice to have real-time and historical currency information for your business and be able to instantly retrieve up-to-date exchange rate data for more than 168 world currencies? The currencylayer API is capable of delivering accurate exchange rate with data updates ranging from every 60 minutes down to stunning 60 seconds.
currencylayer (https://Currencylayer.com) offers two API endpoints to choose from:
· live endpoint: request the most recent exchange rate data
· historical endpoint: request historical rates for a specific day
· convert endpoint: convert any amount from one currency to another using real-time exchange rates
· timeframe endpoint: request exchange rates for a specific period of time
· change endpoint: request any currency’s change parameters (margin and percentage), optionally between two specified dates
9. Is it possible to perform real-time language detection in an app?
Wouldn’t it be nice to enhance your app with automate language detection support for 173 languages? The Languagelayer is a simple and powerful REST API built to efficiently match text of any length to its corresponding language, cross-referencing single words, expressions and grammatical constructions, as well as taking into account any existing accents, dialects and other linguistic deviations.
languageLayer (https://LanguageLayer.com) offers one API endpoints to choose from:
· Detect: Will return information regarding the language of the query passed as parameter
10. How to build a real-time stock market app?
Wouldn’t it be nice to have Stock Data Real-Time, Intraday & Historical Market information for your business and be able to instantly retrieve up-to-date data for any ticker down to the minute, request intraday quotes or search 30+ years of accurate historical market data? The stockmarket API is capable of delivering accurate data for 170,000+ worldwide stock tickers, from more than 50 countries, as well as 750+ market indices, information about timezones, currencies, collected from 70 global exchanges, including Nasdaq, NYSE, and more.
marketStack (https://MarketStack.com) offers several API endpoints to choose from:
· End-of-Day Data: Get daily stock market data.
· Intraday Data: Get intraday and real-time market data.
· Tickers: Get information about stock ticker symbols.
· Exchanges: Get infotmation about all supported exchanges.
· Currencies: Get information about all supported currencies.
· Timezones: Get information about all supported timezones.
Other AIPLayer solutions include:
11. What is the CoinLayer API and how can I use it to get cryto currency exchange rates in real-time?
Go here – https://coinlayer.com CoinLayer performs real-time Crypto Currency Exchange Rates via a JSON Rest API. It claims to be a trusted resource for accurate crypto market data, covering 25 exchanges and more than 385 coins.
12. How does the Fixer API add foreign exchange rates to my app?
https://fixer.io – Foreign exchange rates and currency conversion JSON API; Fixer is a simple and lightweight API for
current and historical foreign exchange (forex) rates.
13. What does the VATLayer API do for VAT number validation in my app?
Find it at https://vatlayer.com It’s a free, instant VAT Number validation & EU VAT Rates API
14. How can I find out information about a specific country with the CountryLayer API?
Go here https://countrylayer.com for a “reliable real-time country data API for your business”; Retrieve instant, accurate information for any country in the world in lightweight JSON format.
15. How can I validate email addresses in my app?
How does MailboxLayer work and what does it do? Found at https://mailboxlayer.com it’s an email validation & verification JSON API for developers. It uses a simple REST API measuring email deliverability & quality
16. How can I look up and validate world-wide phone numbers?
Use https://numverify.com for global phone number validation & lookup no matter where in the world the phone number claims to come from. It uses a really simple real-time JSON API and supports 232 countries!
17. How can I EASILY take powerful screenshots in any of my apps?
You can use the ScreenshotLayer API found at https://screenshotlayer.com to capture highly customizable snapshots of any website; Powerful Screenshot API for any application
18. How do I create PDFs from URLS, websites and HTML files?
PDFLayer is the number one tool to create highly customizable PDFs from URLs & HTML. You can find it at https://pdflayer.com It creates high quality HTML to PDF conversions using a simple API.
19. How do I use UserStack to detect the user’s browser type and lots of other related device and OS information?
Go to https://userstack.com and you will able to detect any browser, device & OS in real-time; Instant. It also provides a secure User-Agent String lookup JSON API.
20. How do I add reverse Ip lookup and get the user’s real location in my apps?
IpApi can do this. Go to https://ipapi.com. It is a real-time Geolocation & Reverse IP Lookup REST API
How can I use REST APIs without writing any code?
No code (or very low code) is required to integrate REST functionality in your apps. REST Debugger is the Embarcadero free solution for exploring, understanding, and integrating RESTful web services with Delphi and C++Builder app and can be downloaded from this link.
The Embarcadero REST Debugger empowers developers to explore, test, and ultimately understand how a RESTful web service works. Dive right into REST data with filterable JSON blobs, streamlined OAuth 1.0/2.0 authentication, and configurable request/resource parameters.
Once you perform validation tests using the REST debugger tool you can directly copy and paste REST components from the REST Debugger into the RAD Studio, Delphi or C++Builder IDE. This enables configuration and consumption of REST services in Delphi or C++Builder apps with just a few clicks!
Check out this really great video below available at Embarcadero’s channel on Youtube showing more information about REST and REST Debugger.