What is an API?
An application programming interface (API) is a protocol intended to be used as an interface by software components to communicate with each other. It’s basically a set of programming instructions and standards for accessing a Web-based software application or Web tool. A software company (like Amazon, Google etc) releases its API to the public so that other software developers can design products that are powered by its service. For a more extended explanation on API, read this excellent article from howstuffworks.com.
Interact with an API using JSON
How do I do this?
Let’s show how we can do this by using Twittes API. The first thing you have to do, is to find an URL to call the API. The next step is to import the modules that we need.
import json import urllib2 # open the url and the screen name # (The screen name is the screen name of the user for whom to return results for) url = "http://api.twitter.com/1/statuses/user_timeline.json?screen_name=python" # this takes a python object and dumps it to a string which is a JSON # representation of that object data = json.load(urllib2.urlopen(url)) # print the result print data
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