6

I know this is probably a dumb question, but there's a bunch of documentation and I don't know what to do with this stuff. How do you use the API?

9

Do you mean to say how do I use this stuff?

You can find the documentation here or there is a "Getting started" section on the right of this page.

For example if you want to see a list of users you could send a web request to https://api.stackexchange.com/2.3/users and parse then JSON response.

Now if you want to find out details about a particular user, let's say your details https://stackoverflow.com/users/566610/jared.

Do you see the number 566610 that's the ID. Every question, answer, comment, or user has an ID.

So, here you need to send your web request to https://api.stackexchange.com/2.3/users/566610.

Your JSON response:

{
  "total": 1,
  "page": 1,
  "pagesize": 30,
  "users": [
    {
      "user_id": 566610,
      "user_type": "registered",
      "creation_date": 1294388578,
      "display_name": "Jared",
      "reputation": 28,
      "email_hash": "e51f7fdd3c09fc9246278abf89f1881e",
      "age": 19,
      "last_access_date": 1294538702,
      "website_url": "http://wphax.com",
      "location": "Wisconsin, US",
      "about_me": "<p>Freelance WordPress Expert</p>\n",
      "question_count": 2,
      "answer_count": 2,
      "view_count": 1,
      "up_vote_count": 0,
      "down_vote_count": 0,
      "association_id": "d0249d62-3c97-4b50-9df1-8c7f377846f6",
      "user_questions_url": "/users/566610/questions",
      "user_answers_url": "/users/566610/answers",
      "user_favorites_url": "/users/566610/favorites",
      "user_tags_url": "/users/566610/tags",
      "user_badges_url": "/users/566610/badges",
      "user_timeline_url": "/users/566610/timeline",
      "user_mentioned_url": "/users/566610/mentioned",
      "user_comments_url": "/users/566610/comments",
      "user_reputation_url": "/users/566610/reputation",
      "badge_counts": {
        "gold": 0,
        "silver": 0,
        "bronze": 4
      }
    }
  ]
}

Take one more example. Let's assume we want to find out list of questions for this you should send your web request to https://api.stackexchange.com/2.3/questions.

And if you want questions related to a particular tag for example WordPress.

Your URL will be https://api.stackexchange.com/2.3/questions?tagged=wordpress.

And once you have finished with your application, you can register an API key.

Read How API Keys Work for more details.


Edit :

You can use StackAPI - stackapi.com - Stack API Explorer which is an interactive way to explore the API of the Stack family of sites.

Edit 1 :

You can find list of libraries here.

9
  • That does help out a lot, for understanding what it is, but what I want to know I guess is how I send these web requests. How do I do that?
    – Jared
    Jan 9 '11 at 12:57
  • @Jared Which programming language are you going to work on? Morever it is language specific, as the name says it is used to send a request to a url.
    – Searock
    Jan 9 '11 at 13:15
  • Well, I'm a website developer, so HTML/CSS, PHP, jQuery, ect.? Maybe I'm not sure exactly what this API is for.. :P
    – Jared
    Jan 9 '11 at 13:45
  • @Jared Hmm, have you heard about facebook or twitter api? Similarly using this api you can access data of stackoverflow and corresponding site's users,questions,answers from your desktop application or from your website. You can either use AJAX or PHP (it's up to you).
    – Searock
    Jan 9 '11 at 16:27
  • @Jared For example iStack for iPad
    – Searock
    Jan 9 '11 at 16:30
  • @Jared StackMobile.com
    – Searock
    Jan 9 '11 at 16:35
  • 1
    @Jared If you are not comfortable with the api you can use a library
    – Searock
    Jan 9 '11 at 16:44
  • Thanks, that is exactly what I needed. I feel a little more comfortable doing what I already know. :) Now if I created a website similar to this and used one of those libraries, it will only take data from stack overflow, will users on my site be able to ask questions from my site?
    – Jared
    Jan 10 '11 at 6:17
  • @Jared will users on my site be able to ask questions from my site? It's not possible with the current version (1.0). I guess they may introduce these features in the next version.
    – Searock
    Jan 10 '11 at 7:17

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