There are a growing number of APIs available today. If you are only looking on ProgrammableWeb for APIs, you are missing out on a wealth of interesting resources. Googling for APIs is still one of the best ways to find new APIs, but there are many other tricks you can use to discover new and interesting resources on a regular basis. In our experience, most API providers are good at doing what they do, and are very bad at marketing and getting exposure, so you have to get pretty good at digging to find the gems, and go beyond what is available on the first page of Google.
When it comes to looking for APIs we use a handful of different platforms, in conjunction with some different search techniques, to help us uncover interesting API resources. Here are a few of the ways we get the job done:
- Google Search
- Using our custom vocabulary we have pages setup that help use quickly search for APIs using Google, auto-building search URLs, and quickly browsing the top 10 results for anything interesting.
- Google Alerts
- Using our custom vocabulary we also setup Google Alerts that help us surface new APIs that emerge when we aren't paying attention. It is easy to process emails, and turn them into automated searches that harvest URLs, and look for other signs of API life.
- Github Search
- Using the web or API interface we search using our own custom vocabulary of words, phrases, and patterns, including the obvious ones like "product API", but also looking for Swagger, API Blueprint, and other common API description formats help surface a lot of interesting APIs.
- Github Topics
- Beyond Github search, you can easily use GitHub topics to uncover interesting APIs, and tooling. This approach relies on API providers to appropriately tag their solutions, but is something that is becoming increasingly common.
- Press Releases
- You can find a growing number of APIs via press releases, with many new companies announcing their API-driven solutions via top PR channels.
- Stack Overflow
- Using the Stack Exchange API you can find a lot of APIs being discussed, with some of them being the common ones, but you also get a regular stream of new discoveries.
- Similar to Stack Overflow, Reddit provides a wealth of new API signals with people announcing APIs, and discussing what is possible, as well as just asking qustions about how to do something or which APIs might solve their problem.
- Using the Twitter API you can also search for APIs and find interesting discussions about APIs via the social network.
- Web Scraping
- With just a single URL harvested from a blog, news article, or social channel you can begin harvesting pages looking for signs of APIs hidden behind the surface.
- Mobile Applications
- It is pretty simple to download mobile applications, proxy them using Charles Proxy, and begin reverse engineering API infrastructure, demonstrating that mobile is still a major driver of new API development.
These are just some of the most common ways in which you can find APIs. Obviously it takes work to sort through the noise, and find the APIs that actually provide value, but it shows the opportunity that exists for uncovering API-driven resources that are available. Without any major API search engine, it still takes work to find, rank, and make sense of the best APIs emerging across the landscape. Something we are doing on a regular basis, and publishing to the Streamdata.io API Gallery
which runs on GitHub, and can be forked by anyone wishing to put APIs to work in their infrastructure.
You can either use the approaches listed above to find APIs, or you can just wait until we find the APIs for you. We have servers working day and night discovering new and interesting APIs, then profiling and ranking them to understand what they do, and which of them offer the most value. Right now you can browse APIs in the Streamdata.io API Gallery, but we are working on a search, as well as other early notification systems that help you learn about new APIs as they are identified, as well as when they get profiled and added to the gallery. Keeping you in tune with the latest finds when it comes to data, content, and algorithms being exposed using APIs.