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- Introduction to web APIs
- First up, we'll start by looking at APIs from a high level — what are they, how do they work, how do you use them in your code, and how are they structured? We'll also take a look at what the different main classes of APIs are, and what kind of uses they have.
- Manipulating documents
- When writing web pages and apps, one of the most common things you'll want to do is manipulate web documents in some way. This is usually done by using the Document Object Model (DOM), a set of APIs for controlling HTML and styling information that makes heavy use of the
Documentobject. In this article we'll look at how to use the DOM in detail, along with some other interesting APIs that can alter your environment in interesting ways.
- Fetching data from the server
- Another very common task in modern websites and applications is retrieving individual data items from the server to update sections of a webpage without having to load an entire new page. This seemingly small detail has had a huge impact on the performance and behaviour of sites, so in this article we''ll explain the concept, and look at technologies that make it possible, such as
XMLHttpRequestand the Fetch API.
- Third party APIs
- The APIs we've covered so far are built into the browser, but not all APIs are. Many large websites and services such as Google Maps, Twitter, Facebook, PayPal, etc. provide APIs allowing developers to make use of their data (e.g. displaying your twitter stream on your blog) or services (e.g. displaying custom Google Maps on your site, or using Facebook login to log in your users). This article looks at the difference between browser APIs and 3rd party APIs, and shows some typical uses of the latter.
- Drawing graphics
- The browser contains some very powerful graphics programming tools, from the Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) language, to APIs for drawing on HTML
<canvas>elements, (see The Canvas API and WebGL). Ths article provides an introduction to canvas, and further resources to allow you to learn more.
- Video and audio APIs
- HTML5 comes with elements for embedding rich media in documents —
<audio>— which in turn come with their own APIs for controlling playback, seeking, etc. This article shows you how to do common tasks such as creating custom playback controls.
- Device APIs
- Modern web-browsing devices have many features that are useful for web apps to take advantage of, for example accessing the device's location data so you plot your position on a map, or telling the user that a useful update is available via system notifications or vibration hardware. This article looks at what is available, and goes through a few common use cases.
- Client-side storage APIs
- Most modern web browsers come with the ability to store structured data on the client-side, which is very useful if you want to create an app that will save its state between page loads, and perhaps even work when the device is offline. This article looks at the available options.