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Get authorization keys

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Almost every API has a method in place to authenticate requests. You usually have to provide an API key in your requests to get a response. Although we’ll dive into authentication and authorization later, we need to get some API keys now in order to make requests to the weather API.

Why requests need authorization

Requiring authorization allows API publishers to do the following:

  • License access to the API
  • Rate limit the number of requests
  • Control availability of certain features within the API, and more

In order to run the code samples in this course, you will need to use your own API keys, since these keys are usually treated like passwords and not given out or published openly on a web page.

If you want to borrow my API keys, you can access them here. I sometimes find that workshop participants get hung up in trying to acquire simple API keys, so I’d like to remove that roadblock from you if you’re running into issues.

Get an OpenWeatherMap API key

To get an authorization key to use the OpenWeatherMap API:

  1. On https://openweathermap.org/, click Sign Up in the top nav bar and create an account.
  2. After you sign up, sign in and find your default API key from the developer dashboard. It’s under the API Keys tab.
  3. Copy the key into a place you can easily find it.

Get the Aeris Weather API secret and ID

Now for contrast, let’s get the keys for the Aeris Weather API. The Aeris Weather API requires both a secret and ID to make requests.

  1. Go to http://www.aerisweather.com and click Sign Up in the upper-right corner.
  2. Under Developer, click TRY FOR FREE. (The free version limits the number of requests per day and per minute you can make.)
  3. Enter a username, email, and password, and then click SIGN UP FOR FREE to create an Aeris account. Then sign in.
  4. After you sign up for an account, click Account in the upper-right corner.

  5. Click Apps (on the second navigation row, to the right of “Usage”), and then click New Application.

    Aeris account

  6. In the Add a New Application dialog box, enter the following:
    • Application Name: My biking app (or something)
    • Application Namespace: localhost
  7. Click Save App.

After your app registers, you should see an ID, secret, and namespace for the app. Copy this information into a place you can easily access, since you’ll need it to make requests.

Keep in mind how users authorize calls with an API — this is something you usually cover in API documentation. Later in the course we will dive into authorization methods in more detail.

Text editor tips

When you’re working with code, you use a text editor (to work in plain text) instead of a rich text editor (which would provide a WYSIWYG interface). Many developers use different text editors. Here are a few choices:

These editors provide features that let you better manage the text. Choose the one you want. (Personally, I use Sublime Text when I’m working with code samples, and Atom when I’m working with Jekyll projects.) Avoid using TextEdit since it adds some formatting behind the scenes that can corrupt your content.

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Keep current with the latest trends in technical communication by subscribing to the I'd Rather Be Writing newsletter. 4,500+ subscribers