Top 10 Awesome APIs for Developers - Reading Time: 5 Mins

Introduction

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As developers, there is always a fine line between choosing to build it yourself and depending on other product or services to get the job done.

I do not have the best gauge on which to choose from. My gut feeling is always to deliver value without building everything from scratch.

If you plan to maintain it yourself. This depends on your use case, team composition, organisation objective that dictates how you select your tech stack.

Well, if you are not required to maintain and build something from scratch. Having external APIs allows you to do more with less. Since their focus makes it easy for you, to integrate their API to your product or service to deliver value for your users or customers.

Email Notification

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One of the first things you would require is having email service. For onboarding, notification, authentication and alerts for all kinds of features that are being used.

Maintaining an email server is not an easy task. Getting it with the ability to send an email. Delivering it successfully while not being in a spam folder. For both marketing and transactional purposes of your users is not an easy feat.

When I was searching for email services by integrating other email APIs. You will encounter these two services namely SendGrid & MailGun.

SendGrid

This is what I used for my email API because of the tutorial by SimpleIsBetterThanComplex. When I am finding ways of integrating email services for my work.

I choose it because of the liberal free plan of 40,000 emails for the first 30 days and the subsequence of 100 emails per day.

MailGun

I heard a lot of great things about Mailgun, by a senior developer I was working with previously told me about it. When he was using it for one of his previous projects.

Overall I had a good impression of them as a strong contender for the mail Saas space due to their developer-friendly roots. If you sign up with them, you get 5,000 free emails per month for 3 months.

Identity Management

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Identity management is a headache, which comes down to building your authentication services or tapping on these services for OAuth or Okta or some other form of authentication like using 2 Factor Authentication (2FA).

To either build it from the ground up or to seek open-source alternatives. To do onboarding, verification, identity management. Which require verification of a user for sensitive tasks.

I had found these two are useful for the task. Especially if you are just a single developer or in a small developer team.

You want it to be hassle-free to get your product or service out there to allow your customers to start using it.

Auth0

I heard about them because they provide a free online website called JWT (JSON Web Token) with an easy tool.

That helps you decipher your JSON Web Token and verify if your JWT matches with your secret key.

Okta

I heard about Okta because of [What Happens If Your JWT Is Stolen?] 21 article by Randell Degges.

Which explains what is JWT and talks about the disadvantage of using it. This deserves a read if you plan to integrate JWT for your API services.

Mapping & Location

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Mapping and Location APIs comes down to multiple use cases and how you would like to present data. For mapping services, it either provides maps or allows you to create custom maps. Which could be rendered through a mapping server.

There are 3 services that I know of that provides these services. Namely, Here. MapBox and Google Maps with their specific audience and accuracy in different geographic regions.

Here

I heard about Here* through **Angelhack a hackathon that was previously conducted in Singapore and multiple countries.

Awhile back when I was foolish that going 2 days and one night without sleep was good for your health and sanity while coding a solution to present it to the judges.

My experience when working with Here API was great. Due to their focus in the documentation. With various use cases in automotive, logistics, public sectors & infrastructure.

MapBox

I stumbled across MapBox because of their contribution to the development of OpenStreetMap.

Which is an online mapping service that is used by tons of government agencies & non-profit organisations for disaster recovery, logistics, disaster response purposes?

I may be wrong some of the maintainers or developers for OpenStreetMap was involved in MapBox as part of commercialising efforts for OpenStreetMap services. Which is the reason if you were to use OpenStreetMap it offers superb compatibility.

What3Words

This is a very mindblowing technology with a simple concept. Which seeks to map locations the whole with just 3 words.

Yes, you heard of me correct it is 3 words to map a specific location instead of relying on the GPS coordinates that differs based upon different standards.

You can provide your location or coordinates with just 3 words that make it easy for any person to remember. From where you park your car or places of interest like a small cafe serving delicious baked goods.

It has been used for business purposes & humanitarian purposes by non-profits and non-government agencies like disaster response and recovery operations like setting up services for victims of a natural disaster.

Special Mentions

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RapidAPI

If you are looking for APIs and you need to consolidate multiple APIs into a place to manage your subscriptions.

RapidAPI is my goto API marketplace when I am looking for APIs to help serve my need without building everything from scratch.

Stripe

I had previously used a few API services to integrate credit card payment for online purchases. Stripe documentation sparks joy with due to it is easy to read & understand.

Which delivers a great experience in consuming, integrating and trying out their various products or services through their APIs.

Twilio

Twilio is another golden standard that is hard to pass off when you talk about API design & development.

They invest heavily in their developer documentation, tutorials and developer outreach. To make integrating their service easy to use for any developer. Who is looking in integrating SMS notifications, 2 Factor Authentication, User onboarding a breeze.

Conclusion

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I hope that these API services will be useful for your development work. To do more with less using mature APIs with great documentations.

That you do not need to build everything from scratch. Where there are tons of APIS to deliver your product or services to your customers.

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