Codecademy, the web-based startup whose founders aim to teach anyone online how to code and program, launched a new set of courses this week that they hope will help users learn to build applications that can interact with APIs.
APIs, or application programming interfaces, are, uh, interfaces that help software talk to each other. Whether you realize it or not, many of the things you do on the web use APIs, but now with Codecademy, users will not just have the opportunity to learn how to program their own code that can work with APIs, but they can use lessons that actually produce useful results such as building a news feed based on NPR’s top stories or creating lists of YouTube’s top videos.
“APIs let you connect your app to the world. You can write code that can do almost anything — like read tweets, make phone calls, and track clicks on your site’s links,” reads the course description for the API classes at Codecademy. The course description suggests that users who participate in the free course will learn how to pull in outside data, send messages, and how to make more powerful applications.
The first API courses from Codecademy will teach users how to make the following applications:
- A Ruby-based tool for sending text messages and making phone calls with Twilio.
- A Ruby-based tool for sending and managing emails with SendGrid.
- A Python-based tool for retrieving text, audio, and photos from stories published by NPR.
- A Python-based tool for analyzing government transcripts published by the Sunlight Foundation.
- A Python-based link shortener powered by Bit.ly.
- A Python-based app to get placeholder kittens from Placekitten.
- An app that allows you to accept credit cards on the web with Stripe.
In addition to the API courses that already exist, Codecademy is soliciting other APIs from potential partners who could provide courses for users to interact with their services on the site.