An application programming interface (API) is, basically, a method for a computer (person, script etc.) to interact with another computer. APIs allow programmers to access data that is held in another system, and to sometimes do stuff with that data. As a simple example, Google allows access to their search results via their search API, and with it you can build a custom search tool; see here for an example.

ProgrammableWeb: Mashups and the Web as Platform (#)

ProgrammableWeb is an excellent source for staying on top of APIs and Mashups. The site lists over 350 APIs and 1500 Mashups at the time of posting.

It has a mashup and API faq, the API Dashboard and Mashup Listings for people looking for inspiration.

The site also has a blog and forums, so if you are looking at digging into APIs and building some form of mashup, ProgrammableWeb is a pretty safe place to start.

Using Wikipedia and the Yahoo API to give structure to flat lists (#)

Here's an excellent original use of how to use an API to add some meaning to and clean up some data, or, as the authors put it adding value to your own data by using external information.

Starting with some very simple information (names), the developers where able to create a relation map between the names by using the Yahoo search API along with Wikipedia and the Yahoo Terms Suggestion tool.

Very cool work, and a short read worth checking out.

Application Programming Interfaces Tutorials (#)

Four tutorials for using various APIs. Three of the examples show you how to build a site search using the APIs from Yahoo!, Google and MSN, while the fourth example shows you how to use the Yahoo! term extraction tool and the Tagyu API to retrieve tag suggestions for content that you pass to it.

33 Google API Applications - GenericGeek.Com (#)

Links to 33 apps built on Google's APIs by Philipp Lenssen of Google Blogoscoped.

ASP 101 - Using the Google APIs to Spell Check (#)

An ASP implementaion of using the google APIs to spell check.

Check out the Resource categories for older content

The latest from my personal website,
Mike Papageorge.com

SiteUptime Web Site Monitoring Service

Sitepoint's web devlopment books have helped me out on many occasions both for finding a quick solution to a problem but also to level out my knowlegde in weaker areas (JavaScript, I'm looking at you!). I am recommending the following titles from my bookshelf:

The Principles Of Successful Freelancing

I started freelancing by diving in head first and getting on with it. Many years and a lot of experience later I was still able to take away some gems from this book, and there are plenty I wish I had thought of beforehand. If you are new to freelancing and have a lot of questions (or maybe don't know what questions to ask!) do yourself a favor and at least check out the sample chapters.

The Art & Science Of JavaScript

The author line-up for this book says it all. 7 excellent developers show you how to get your JavaScript coding up to speed with 7 chapters of great theory, code and examples. Metaprogramming with JavaScript (chapter 5 from Dan Webb) really helped me iron out some things I was missing about JavaScript. That said each chapter really helped me to develop my JavaScript skills beyond simple Ajax calls and html insertion with libs like JQuery.

The PHP Anthology: 101 Essential Tips, Tricks & Hacks

Like the other books listed here, this provides a great reference for the PHP developer looking to have the right answers from the right people at their fingertips. I tend to pull this off the shelf when I need to delve into new territory and usually find a workable solution to keep development moving. This only needs to happen once and you recoup the price of the book in time saved from having to develop the solution or find the right pattern for getting the job done..