Harrison Weber is TNW's Features Editor in NYC. Part writer, part designer. Stay in touch: Twitter @harrisonweber, Google+ and Email. Harrison Weber is TNW's Features Editor in NYC. Part writer, part designer. Stay in touch: Twitter @harrisonweber, Google+ and Email.
Nearly a year after launching its incredibly successful Code Year campaign, Codecademy is starting 2013 off in a big way: the startup is teaming up with YouTube, Twilio, Stripe and others to launch API lessons. The popular learn-to-code site is looking to help people “make companies, products, and real-world applications.”
Codecademy has garnered quite a bit of attention for its beginner-friendly lessons, receiving praise from the likes of NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg and the White House. The service has also received criticism for its inability to turn complete novices into entry-level developers. Haters gonna hate.
Tapping into real-world APIs is a major, yet approachable next step for the code-curious, after wrapping your head around variables, that is.
Like nearly all of Codecademy’s lessons, each API owner created their own lessons. At launch you can start working with Twilio, YouTube, NPR, Parse, SoundCloud, Sunlight Foundation, Bit.ly, SendGrid, Stripe (Edit: Stripe coming soon) and Placekitten. Soon, this will be a completely self-service system, where any API owner can submit lessons.
Here what users will be able to build on launch:
- Create applications with simple user login using Parse
- Send text messages and make phone calls with Twilio
- Search for YouTube videos and embed a player on your website
- Find radio show transcripts and your local NPR station
- Embed a SoundCloud widget on your page
- Analyze your state’s Congressional transcripts with Sunlight Foundation
- Shorten links with Bit.ly and analyze clickthroughs
Codecademy says that users will “be able to run their own apps in the interface (with a bunch of restrictions).” Most importantly, users will leave lessons with practical experience in getting an API up and running — the key to building functional apps and participating in hackathons.
Codecademy co-founder Zach Sims tells us “this is definitely just the beginning of what we’ll do with API providers.” This launch could hint at Codecademy’s future monetization strategy, as the startup now has a unique opportunity to build special partnerships with any developer-facing company.
Regardless, this announcement is certainly an impressive way to kick off the new year. Check out the new lessons for yourself and let us know what you think!
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