James Wallis
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5 APIs to use in your next project

Being a developer is great - you can build almost anything you want! Sometimes, however, it's difficult to decide what to build next as there are so many different project ideas out there. To help you find your next project, I've come up with a list of APIs that you can play with and provided potential project ideas.

Dev.to

Using Dev.to's own API you could create your own personal editor that can create and publish new posts as well as edit old ones. While creating this app you'd have to build a markdown editor and a system to publish your articles to Dev.to.

Additionally, you could use the Dev.to API to dynamically display your articles on your own personal website. In fact, I recently rewrote my website to use Dev.to as a CMS to make the blog and portfolio sections easier to manage.

Unsplash

Unsplash is a website that hosts "beautiful, free images and photos that you can download and use for any project". Its API can be used to fetch photos from Unsplash.

The Unsplash API could be used to make an application with a background that changes to a random image at different times during the day. For example, you could build your own Chrome new tab page that has a beautiful changing background and contains links that you find useful. Bonus points if the background reflects the time of day e.g. light during the day and darker at night.

Spotify API

The Spotify API is one I've used in the past to create a home automation dashboard that shows what song I'm currently playing and has controls to play, pause, skip tracks and set the volume (in addition to other functionality). In addition to these features, Spotify also has APIs that:

  • Provide audio analysis to learn about a tracks danceability, energy, valence, and more
  • Control playback and can use the Web SDK to play full tracks
  • Customize and display a user's recommendations
  • Search for tracks in a user's region or anywhere
  • For others and further app ideas check the discover page.

Hue

If you have any products from the Phillips Hue family, it's likely that they can be controlled using the Hue API. The official app can become a bit busy when you have multiple devices, so you could build an app that can control Hue bulbs around the house, changing their colour and brightness. You could also go back to basics and build a command-line app to control your lights!

Slack

Using the Slack API you can build tools that integrate directly with Slack. The Slack API can be used to build a chatbot that can carry out various functions such as setting reminders, checking the weather or communicating with other APIs I've introduced above - for example, a chatbot that can control your Hue lights.

Bonus - A Dashboard to rule them all

If you're looking for a larger project to take on, you could combine all the APIs I've listed above to create a dashboard that can:

  • Display your total views/reactions using the Dev.to API
  • Have a beautiful background using the Unsplash API
  • Control your currently playing track and volume level through the Spotify API.
  • Display the state of lights around your house and control them using the Hue API.
  • Integrate the Slack API to make a chatbot that can directly control the whole dashboard!

Final words

These are just a few services that have APIs that you can use to build your next project. Hopefully, this article has given you that little bit of inspiration you needed to develop your next app!

Used any of these APIs before or have any to suggest? Pop them in the comments.

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