Building your first API shouldn't be intimidating. At their simplest, APIs take information in, process it, and then return information back to you.

Some APIs are all about information. For example, you can use Yelp's API to search for restaurants or a local business. Others can perform actions too, like Twilio for texting and Venmo for payments. But in every case, data goes in, data is processed, and data comes out.

Get started by reading the Beginners guide to creating a REST API It's a great (language independent) intro.

Next, check out Apiary. Our lead sponsor has some awesome tools that help you design and build your first API. Create a blueprint that defines and documents how your API works, mock it up, and test it from the command line.

We've got lots of other resources too:

Got a suggestion / resource / idea that isn't on this list? Email neal@challengepost.com and we'll add it!

Also, don't forget about browser automation (phantomJS / Selenium) and web scraping (Upton / Beautiful Soup / Kimono / Scrapy). When you want to do an action or access data for which there isn't a public API, they'll come in super handy.