Public and private organizations around the world are opening doors to their data, and to data geeks like me, this is a very good thing. Data that was once locked within inaccessible corporate databases, flat files. or perhaps even spreadsheets on a researcher’s computer, are now often available for public consumption via standardized APIs. Commercial APIs and public open data initiatives are spreading fast and are adding value to applications and analytical projects alike.
I live in the Paris region, and one of my favorite free examples of this is Open Data Paris. Do you want to know where to find an available Vélib’ bicycle share, in real time? Or would you like to locate a drinking fountain or a public toilet? Want to know which sites are used for film shoots? Or get a list of all of the remarkable trees in Paris parks and streets? It’s all there, from the prosaic to the exotic, in JSON format via a RESTful API web service.
The Power of APIs
Now, though I’m a geek I’ll grant you that there are more convenient ways of finding a public toilet than consulting a RESTful API – even in Paris. However, there are many hidden treasures within this data that can help us to better understand and analyze the environment around us. The Paris Open Data Portal is just one example of how many public entities around the world are sharing data with their citizens. Here at Denodo, through our Denodo Coronavirus Data Portal, we demonstrated that publicly available data can be a springboard for important new insights and initiatives.
But first, you need to be able to read that RESTful API.
Integrating Data with APIs: The Easy Way
Most developers could sit down and write some code to do this, of course, but not everyone is a developer, and most people would like to skip right ahead to the interesting part: exploring the data itself. Luckily, the Denodo Platform not only makes this simple, but also makes it easy to go one step beyond and start combining that data with data from other sources.
One of the advantages of using the Denodo Platform to integrate RESTful APIs is that, as a modeling starting point, it maintains the rich format in which the data is returned from the web service, even if the format is complex, with hierarchical lists and structures. The format can then be visually transformed in the Denodo Platform’s full web-accessible Design Studio, which lets you target the exact data you need.
In the short video below, I’ll show you how you can quickly connect to – and work with – data from a public RESTful API. I’ll be demonstrating this in the enterprise version of the Denodo Platform, but the same functionality is available in our free version, Denodo Express. Hopefully, once you see how easy it is to use, you’ll be inspired to try it out for yourself and discover how API data can quickly add value to your data projects.
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- API Data Access Made Easy: Connecting Web Services with the Denodo Platform - October 14, 2021