Using API’s In Excel; Why?, How?, etc?

Excel function tutorials, Excel webservices

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It is very possible that you have heard about an API at some point in the past. Others might be asking what in the world I’m talking about. An API is an IT term that is basically a protocol that makes it easier to interact with different sets of data. Most big companies such as Google, Twitter, Facebook, Amazon, etc all have their own API’s. Why? There are many reasons but let’s focus on the one I’m most interested in. They want to make their data more easily accessible by outside applications.

For example, seeing data about the weather, search results or twitter updates is all possible through the web. What if you’d like or need to access that info from some other type of program? Obviously, they will not just let you connect to their database and start making queries. Instead, they build a protocol or interface that makes it possible to extract the data. The main benefits are the saved time, the (fairly) easy use, etc. The downsides is that in most cases, heavy use will end up costing you money or being regulated at some point. Twitter is one of the more used API’s in the world and used to be free and unlimited but in recent months, Twitter has decided to charge for those that use over 100,000 queries per day or more (I believe that was the criteria). It’s not something I worry about at this point but it’s certainly worth considering:)

So today, following an example given by Microsoft, I signed up for the Wunderground API, which is free at:

http://www.wunderground.com/weather/api/

Once I had signed up and received my key, I’m all set to start using the webservices function in Excel 2013 to make “better” web queries!

Unfortunately, when I tried, I ended up getting an error in my response so I will need to do further research. I’ll certainly keep you posted as I do intend to have this fixed soon:)

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