7 Free APIs That Nobody Is Talking About

Create unique and interesting apps using these APIs

Anurag Kanoria
Nov 23, 2020 · 6 min read
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Photo by Tachina Lee on Unsplash

Nothing excites me more than finding an out of the ordinary API.

Many times we just want to focus on the frontend but also need interesting, dynamic data to display.

This is where public APIs come into play. API is an acronym for Application Programming Interface.

The core benefit of using it is that it allows one program to interact with other programs.

Using public APIs allows you to focus on the frontend and things that matter without worrying so much about the database and the backend.

Below are 7 less-talked about public and free APIs.

How many times have you tried to insult your best friend? Now you have got a helping hand!

As the API name suggests, the goal is to offer some of the evilest insults.

You can create an app centered around this API or combine this API with other excellent APIs provided below like implementing the generated insults in meme templates.

The API is extremely simple to use. You just need to visit a URL and you get the desired JSON output without even signing up for a key.

Sample output of the API is provided below:

{
"number":"117",
"language":"en",
"insult":"Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.",
"created":"2020-11-22 23:00:15",
"shown":"45712",
"createdby":"",
"active":"1",
"comment":"http:\/\/www.mirror.co.uk\/news\/weird-news\/worlds-20-most-bizarre-insults-7171396"
}

You get the other properties as well such as the time it was created, the language, any comment as well as the views.

TMDb is a famous API, but do you know there are other API that provides insights from specific shows and movies?

Below are some of the APIs you can use to develop apps featuring your favorite show:

  1. Breaking Bad API
  2. API of Ice And Fire
  3. Harry Potter API
  4. YouTube API (for embedding YouTube functionalities)
  5. The Lord of the Rings API

Like the API above, you can get started with some of the APIs without even signing up for a key.

Not only this, using non-copyright images, you can truly create a great fan app for your beloved shows.

Below is a sample output from the Breaking Bad API which you can get here.

It doesn’t require a key however has a rate limit of 10,000 requests per day.

{
[
{
"quote_id":1,
"quote":"I am not in danger, Skyler. I am the danger!",
"author":"Walter White",
"series":"Breaking Bad"
},
{
"quote_id":2,
"quote":"Stay out of my territory.",
"author":"Walter White",
"series":"Breaking Bad"
},
{
"quote_id":3,
"quote":"IFT",
"author":"Skyler White",
"series":"Breaking Bad"
}
.....
]
}

It returns a JSON containing an array of objects with quotes, the author of the quotes, and an ID.

You can mix these dedicated APIs with YouTube API to create an ultimate app for the fans of these shows.

Mapbox provides precise location information and fully-fledged tools to developers.

You get instant access to dynamic, live-updating maps which you can even further customize!

If you have a project geared towards location and maps, this is a must-know API.

However, it is worth mentioning that you have to sign up for free to get a unique access token.

Using this token you can use the amazing services offered by this API.

Not only this, you can use Mapbox with libraries such as the Leaflet.js library and create beautiful, mobile-friendly maps.

I have discussed this and much more in my recent article covering the basics of Mapbox and Leaflet.js.

NASA provides a fabulous updated database of space-related information.

Using this API, one can create mesmerizing and educational apps and websites.

You get access to various different kinds of data from the Astronomy Picture of the Day all the way to the pictures captured by the Mars Rover.

You can browse the entire list here.

You can also retrieve NASA’s patents, software, and technology spinoff descriptions which you can use to build a patent portfolio.

This API is really diverse and offers a wide variety of data. You can even access the NASA Image and Video library using it.

Below is a sample query of the pictures captured by Curiosity on Mars.

{
"photos":[
{
"id":102693,
"sol":1000,
"camera":{
"id":20,
"name":"FHAZ",
"rover_id":5,
"full_name":"Front Hazard Avoidance Camera"
},
"img_src":"http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl-raw-images/proj/msl/redops/ods/surface/sol/01000/opgs/edr/fcam/FLB_486265257EDR_F0481570FHAZ00323M_.JPG",
"earth_date":"2015-05-30",
"rover":{
"id":5,
"name":"Curiosity",
"landing_date":"2012-08-06",
"launch_date":"2011-11-26",
"status":"active"
}
},
.....
]
}
Source: GIPHY

We all love using and creating GIFs but did you know you can incorporate the GIFs in your next app for free using GIPHY?

GIPHY is the largest GIF and sticker library in the world right now and using their official API you can leverage the vast collection to produce unique apps for free.

Using the search endpoints, users can get the most relevant GIFs based on their query.

You also get access to analytics and other tools which will enable you to create a personalized user experience.

The most used feature, however, for me was the translate endpoint which converts words and phrases to the perfect GIF or Sticker. You can specify the weirdness level on a scale of 0–10.

Note that you have to provide proper attribution by displaying “Powered By GIPHY” wherever the API is utilized.

Below is a sample output of this API:

{data: GIF Object[]pagination: Pagination Objectmeta: Meta Object}

As the name suggests, this API provides you with a thoughtful quotes collection.

You can use these quotes to show on the landing page of your website or on the splash screen of your app to produce a rich user experience.

You also get the ability to create and manage users and sessions via this API. However, there exists a rate limit of 30 requests in a 20-second interval per session.

This API also has endpoints to filter, vote, list, update, and delete quotes.

Below is the output for the Quote of the Day endpoint.

{
"qotd_date":"2020-11-23T00:00:00.000+00:00",
"quote":{
"id":29463,
"dialogue":false,
"private":false,
"tags":[
"great"
],
"url":"https://favqs.com/quotes/walt-whitman/29463-the-great-cit-",
"favorites_count":1,
"upvotes_count":2,
"downvotes_count":0,
"author":"Walt Whitman",
"author_permalink":"walt-whitman",
"body":"The great city is that which has the greatest man or woman: if it be a few ragged huts, it is still the greatest city in the whole world."
}
}

Edamam generously provides access to a database of over 700,000 food items and 1.7 million+ nutritionally analyzed recipes.

This API is great if you want to showcase your frontend skills as you can add high-quality pictures of food alongside the recipe of that food provided by this API.

The free plan can’t be used commercially however it provides a comprehensive set of features such as Natural Language Processing support and 200 recipes per month.

You can find the full details regarding different plans offered here.

The users can simply type the ingredients and get the nutritional analysis which can help them eat smarter and better.

You can check this cool feature here in the demo of this API.

They have other APIs as well which can be used in conjunction with the rest to create a one-stop food app.

They have added a new diet filter specifically geared towards the ongoing pandemic which leverages scientific publications about nutrients and foods to enhance immunity.

APIs are vital tools in the success of any app.

Using third-party, public API allows developers to focus on things that matter while conveniently adding robust functionality to their app through these APIs.

However, using the same API as everybody else not only creates unnecessary competition but also doesn’t provide any real value.

Leveraging unique and flexible APIs can lead to the creation of some incredibly beautiful projects that you can showcase in your professional portfolio.

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