A typical definition of an open application programming interface (open API) is an API that uses a common or universal language or structure to enable more general access. An API is a communication intermediate that sends data between two applications in a format that each application can understand. This enables owners to provide third parties access to a portion of the product's functionality while keeping the remainder of the app secure. As a marketer or content developer, this is an excellent opportunity to gain access to major product systems and experiment with new functionality.
An open API is a lot different from open-source software. The reason why some APIs are referred to as “open” is that they are openly shared for public use. Facebook and other social media sites can be used as an example here as they are freely shared to entice developers to integrate social media functionality in their software. This method is a great way to promote these social media platforms and these platforms end up getting embedded in all kinds of projects.
What makes a good open API?
One thing that you need to be cognizant of is finding a good quality API. And because open APIs are free of cost they can sometimes lack when it comes to quality. That’s why we suggest you keep these factors in mind while looking for a good open API:
Documentation is one of the first and most important things you should notice about an API. When you’re working with an API, no matter if it’s open or paid, if it doesn’t have proper documentation then it’ll make you wish you weren’t. The finest APIs, even free APIs, carefully write their API documentation and keep it up to date. That’s why we suggest you always at least skim the documentation before choosing any API.
API Security is one of the main concerns that people face while working with open APIs. Always make sure the API offers at least basic authorization and authentication methods before you sign up. Ideally, you'll be granted a free key to use while performing API requests, which prevents hostile actors from intercepting and manipulating your data.
Using “simple” as a term to describe an API can depend from situation to situation. However, what an API should aspire to achieve is simple enough that anyone is able to understand it. A good open API should always structure its resources logically and clearly for easily accessible requests.
One of the biggest deterrents that can push people away from your app and hurt the overall user experience is a slow API. That’s why it becomes essential that an API may place lower limits on the number of requests allowed within a specific time frame, but it should never compromise when it comes to the performance of the API just because the API is open and public.
Top 10 APIs
To help you with your research for an API that meets all the criteria mentioned above, we’ve rounded up a list of the top 10 open APIs that can be used for your development or management projects.
1. HubSpot API
HubSpot provides APIs that allow you to build custom solutions like sales, marketing, service, and website strategies for your business. You'll be able to combine your HubSpot account with other tools and add further features to the already formidable marketing software. For Free and Starter accounts, there are 100 requests per second and 250,000 requests per day.
2. Yahoo Developer API
Yahoo Developer API gives you access to Yahoo marketing data that you may use to manage your campaigns. Using this well-documented method, you may tailor your applications to display only the data you require. For authenticating and accessing protected data, Yahoo APIs employ the OAuth protocol.
3. Common Crawl
Crawling tools are useful since they can obtain info on the internet while remaining anonymous. This makes vast amounts of data available for any team to analyze and evaluate. However, very few can do it as well as Common Crawl, an API service that creates and maintains a data repository before making it available to anybody.
4. Google APIs
The Google APIs Explorer is a tool that can be found on most REST API reference documentation pages that allows you to experiment with Google API calls without having to write code. It provides a wide range of open APIs that enable working with Google's many products easier. Via a specialized API, you can connect to many Google services such as Blogged, AMP, AdSense, Maps, and more. However, because the APIs Explorer works with real data, use caution while attempting to create, alter, or delete data.
5. WordPress API
WordPress APIs are a collection of APIs that can be used to enhance the functionality of WordPress. Each one delves into the functions and applications of a specific collection of features. Together, they make up the WordPress API, which is the plugin/theme/add-on interface that the entire WordPress project has established.
6. Sejda PDF API
You may combine Sejda's PDF tools with your website and fill out PDF forms online using the Sejda PDF API for website integration. It also allows you to automate contact with others (such as vendors) by providing signed papers or PDF forms that they must complete. Your consumers will be able to quickly copy your PDF templates.
7. Telegram API
Telegram offers two kinds of APIs i.e., Bot API and TDLib. The Bot API makes it simple to construct programs that interact with Telegram conversations. You can create your own Telegram clients using the Telegram API and TDLib. Telegram offers both APIs free of cost. Telegram Widgets can also be added to your website.
8. Square API
Square API is more than just a payment gateway. It allows you to personalize the payment gateway itself, rather than merely allowing customers to send you payments. Your mobile app, website, and even your physical point-of-sale system gateway can be created using Square API. This enhances the checkout procedure and the overall customer experience. However, you must note that although Square API is free, it does charge a processing fee for all transactions.
9. Facebook API
Facebook provides a library of APIs and other developer resources to read and write data from Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp. These APIs can be used to help you read and write social media posts and take care of your social marketing activities.
10. Shutterstock API
The Shutterstock API provides you with access to Shutterstock’s library. Having this access allows you to search, preview, license, view information, and download media that can be used to extract royalty-free images, video clips, music tracks, etc. Use all this data to improve the aesthetics of your website and express what your brand stands for with high-quality media.
One should note, that although these APIs are open for public use, they do come with their own set of issues. There are some limitations to open APIs compared to other types of APIs (premium services) because the proprietary company needs to maintain a level of safety and management with the tool. API management guarantees that the application is always at its best, ensuring that all users get the same benefits. Because of the security risks, publishing an open API may appear paradoxical. It can, however, be an excellent technique for encouraging innovation and making your product more marketable.