There is no tutorial for the API, nor is there likely to be one -- at least officially. There is a "Hello World" introduction.
To use the current API (version 2.1), you really only need to know/do:
- How to make an HTTP
GET request, in the language of your choice. There are also various user-supplied libraries in .net, PHP, Python, etc. to help with this.
- How to parse the JSON results.
- Monitor the results to make sure you haven't busted your quota or received a
For the next step, It's highly recommended that:
- You get an API key.
- You learn and use Custom Filters to streamline operation and save resources and bandwidth.
- You know how to page through results.
Optionally, for sensitive data or write operations, you need to:
- Know how to authenticate in the language and/or library of your choice.
- Make an HTTP
POST to write data.
Beware that you currently cannot duplicate much of the functionality of Stack Overflow, using the API. The (public) API is mostly read-only, and none of the Review or Moderation operations are supported.
Update: Many new write/post methods were added with API version 2.2.
See the API Change Log.