10 Useful APIs for your Web Site & App

Web APIs change the way content and services are consumed and manipulated. Web developers can take advantage of 1000s of APIs to add more content or functionality to their site. We’ve compiled a list of 10 most useful APIs you can consider using for your web site or application.

New to APIs? Read our primer – Web APIs: What, Why and How

Google Graph API

When it comes to adding graphs and charts to a web application, most developers resort to PHP libraries, Flash Components or jQuery based solutions. A lot of these components and libraries require some knowledge of configuration. Google Graph API is a simple, free, URL based API that allows you to generate, download and save 9 types of charts. There is nothing to download and install – all you need to do is parse your charting values via a single HTTP request.

Yahoo! PlaceFinder

Yahoo! PlaceFinder is a geocoding Web service that helps developers make their applications location-aware by converting street addresses or place names into geographic coordinates (and vice versa). This allows web site owners to deliver online content to desktop and mobile users based on their physical location, e.g based on the user’s street address, you can show nearby places like stores. PlaceFinder supports building-level address recognition in over 75 countries, and as well as points of interest, airports, cities, and other place names.


JanRain (formely RPX) is an Open-ID sign on service provider. Janrain helps connect your site to the social web through a robust set of APIs and social widget interfaces. It allows your visitors to sign-in to your site with their existing accounts on Facebook, Google, Twitter, Yahoo!, LinkedIn or other networks and then publish their comments, purchases, reviews or other activities from your site to multiple social networks.

Google AJAX Language

With the AJAX Language API, you can translate and detect the language of blocks of text within a webpage using only Javascript. In addition, you can enable transliteration on any textfield or textarea in your web page. The language API is designed to be simple and easy to use to translate and detect languages on the fly when offline translations are not available. Google AJAX Language API currently supports over 50 languages.


Tropo is a powerful yet simple API that adds Voice, SMS, Twitter, and IM support to the programming languages you already know. This will allow you to bring real-time communications to your apps. There are many ways you can use voice or sms in your web application, for example – verify phone number, allow visitors to record a voice message and save it online, etc.

Amazon S3 Storage

Amazon S3 provides a simple web services interface that can be used to store and retrieve any amount of data, at any time, from anywhere on the web. It gives any developer access to the same highly scalable, reliable, secure, fast, inexpensive infrastructure that Amazon uses to run its own global network of web sites. With its API, you can write, read and delete files from your storage. Amazon S3 is a great storage solution for CND networks, backups and archiving.


DISQUS provides an API to enable better commenting on your site. It allows your visitors to choose their identity (Facebook Connect, OpenID, Twitter) when they leave a comment. New comments or reactions from social media network are update in real-time. DISQUS is available as plugins for popular blog platforms like WordPress, Drupal or Blogger.

Google Font API

Google WebFont API uses CSS3’s @font-face to add web fonts to your site. Currently limited only 18 different font-families. Google WebFont API provides by far the easiest implementation for custom typography. All you need to do is simply hotlink to their stylesheet link and then call the font in a CSS style.  The major advantage is that by using StyleSheet served from Google’s CDN, you can save a lot of bandwidth and improve your page load speed.


WebShotsPro is a service for webmasters to include advanced website screenshot technology to their websites. This is pretty useful for links pages like directory or portfolio pages by giving a visual cue for your visitors.

Yahoo BOSS

BOSS (Build your Own Search Service) is Yahoo!’s open search web services platform. The goal of BOSS is simple: to foster innovation in the search industry. Developers, start-ups, and large Internet companies can use BOSS to build and launch web-scale search products that utilize the entire Yahoo! Search index. BOSS gives you access to Yahoo!’s investments in crawling and indexing, ranking and relevancy algorithms, and powerful infrastructure.


  1. Excellent article. Nice to have all this info in one place.You say there are 1000s of such API's available, and that is really no surprise, so how about publishing a similar "Top 100" one day?

  2. Great newsletter; actually your newsletter are the only one that I thoroughly read from the beginning till the end. I currently use Google Font API on my site, but am a little shy about it. Google is notorious to launch plenty of ideas and then suddenly abandon them. What if they dismiss that service all of a sudden?

  3. Mike

    Kewl! Thx. Will definitely see what I can use this for...

  4. Wow I was like a kid in a candy store off to check out a few especially that Boss I never heard of anyway Sites is looking HOT and enjoying the changes :) Thanks

  5. Great list! Although I really dislike Disqus, I'd much rather use ComLuv + some hidden Captcha (like Anti-Captcha or HashCash) than host comments on other site.

  6. Ramachandran

    Very useful Thanks

  7. Thanks everyone for your comments @Simon - Yes, hopefully someday we'll come up with more APIs lists. @Adrea - Glad you enjoy our newsletter. I agree that one of the challenges with APIs is that they can be discontinued anytime by the providers. However Google and the other listed in this article are known authorities and I doubt they'll stop supporting their APIs. @Slave - ComLuv is a great API to engage your visitors in leaving comments on your site. We use it on the HotScripts Blog as well.

  8. As an Internet Content writer, this is the best article I have come across in a very long time. Well done! I will be using a few of your suggestions. Thank you for your time and input.

  9. hey mate awsome post..:) u have any post..how to intergate and work on the api..since am a new to the api concepts

  10. awsome post..:) great sharing. Thx.