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If you are looking to create some nifty projects for your portfolio you can make an exciting web app by using a simple API.

All you need is an API that returns some interesting data. Then you just need to format that data on your web page and you have an impressive piece to add to your portfolio.

Here are 11 simple APIs that you can use in your next project.

1. NYTimes

Requires API key

nytimes API

With the NYTimes API you can Search for articles posted on NYTimes website.

You’ll need to sign up for an account to get an API key but once you have this you can get details about articles. The response from the API gives the URL, a snippet of the article and also URLs for images.

There are code examples on how to use the API included on the site.

2. The Guardian

Requires API key

the guardian api

Similar to the NYTimes API you Get updates on articles from the Guardian.com website.

You can mainly search for articles and it gives you most up to date list of published content with responses.

3. Mailtest.in

No key required

mailtest API

A really simple API to check for valid email addresses.

The API checks a domain has MX records setup correctly. There are various responses the API can give depending on whether the domain’s email are valid.

The API is limited to 120 requests per hour but fine for a bit of light checking.

4. Postcodes.io

No key required

postcodes.io API

Postcodes.io is an API that provides lookups for UK postcodes.

You can use it to find a valid UK postcode and get information such as longitude/latitude of (presumably) the center of that area.

You can also provide the API with longitude/latitude values, a radius and it will return detailed information about all the postcodes that match.

There are also libraries that can be used written in Java/PHP/Ruby/Node/Python/C#/R

5. Barcode Finder

No key required

barcode finder api

With the Barcode Finder API you can lookup products based on their barcode number.

Amazingly quick, free and open platform the API returns information such as product name, description, image, possible price (in USD) and other product details.

6. OMDB API

No key required

 

Alternative database to IMDB (which doesn’t have an API) to find info about films.

7. Gender Guesser

Key required

gender guesser API

This is a really handy way to check whether or not a person is male or female based only on their first name.

I could imagine this would be really useful when creating user accounts and you want to make some specific settings based on someone’ gender.

8. Unsplash API

No key required

unsplash api

Not really much of an API but great if you want to get a high quality random photo. You Can also specify sizes and categories of images returned.

9. Open CNAM

Key required

open cnam api

Whilst it doesn’t give a huge amount of information, the API at OpenCnam can be used to retrieve information on phone numbers. It will give info on the provider / country.

10. Open Weather Map API

Key required

open weather map api

You can use teh Openweathermap API to get inforamtion on upcoming forecasts for pretty much anywhere in the world.

The information returned is pretty comprehensive covering sunrise/sunset times, temperature, humidity etc.

11. Bitly API

Key required

Bitly API

You can use the Bitly API to create shortened URLs directly from your code.

You can use some of the other features of the API to get stats on the links you create e.g. number of clicks.

Conclusion

When looking to expand your portfolio, a simple API can be a good starting point to building a project for your showcase.

There are hundreds of APIs available but some have quite strict rate limits and pricing policies in place. The APIs listed above are all fairly generous in what they offer and most don’t even need a key to use.

Got a favourite API you have used to build an app? Share it with others!