Sunday, September 26, 2021

A Dozen Microsoft APIs for Web Developers

IntroductionIntroduction

In a previous slideshow, you were presented with a number of APIs that provide access to features of Microsoft Bing and the search functionality that Bing provides. In this slideshow, I’ll expand up on that list of APIs and present you with a dozen more APIs that Microsoft provides.

The benefit of using an APIs is that it reduces the amount of code you need to create on your web pages. APIs provide access to coded functionality. In the case of the Microsoft APIs, this functionality ranges from access to information and knowledge all the way to access to various tools and programs that Microsoft has created. The APIs include several cognitive services as well. Each of the following slides highlights one of twelve APIs from Microsoft that you might find useful. Note that these along with the Bing APIs mentioned earlier are only part of the APIs you can access from your web pages!

Face API1. Face API

The Microsoft Face API provides a slew of functionality that can be useful. The most basic part of the Face API is that it can detect faces within an image or video. You can use this information to recognize people. For example, you could capture an image of a person using your web page and use the Face API to identify a person in order to provide various access to areas of your site. You can also use the Face API to compare two images in order to determine if they are of the same person.

Emotion API2. Emotion API

A part of the Face API allows you to go one step further and identify emotions as a part of the faceAttributes value. By analyzing a face within a video or picture, you can determine not only the intensity of an emotion, but also whether they are neutral, angry, contempt, disgusted, fearful, happy, sad, or surprised.

If you apply this check to live images, you can get a basic idea of how people are reacting to your web site and adjust your actions accordingly! Of course, facial expressions on their own can be misleading. For example, a person might not actually be angry even though they appear angry.

3. Custom Speech Service3. Custom Speech Service

Microsoft’s Cognitive Services offers several features to allow you to handle speech in your Web pages, along with apps. Custom Speech Services allow you to deal with barriers to speech recognition, such as handling background noise, speaking styles, and vocabulary issues.

4. Speaker Recognition API4. Speaker Recognition API

One of the speech services that can be tapped into with the Microsoft APIs is the Speaker Recognition API. This API allows you to identify people based on audio from that person.

You can see the Speaker Recognition API in action on the following page:
https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/services/cognitive-services/speaker-recognition/

5. Text Analytics API5. Text Analytics API

The Text Analytics API allows you to pull information from text. You can detect sentiment, key phrases, and entities simply by analyzing text that is provided to you. For example, applying this API to comments on your site, you can determine key phrases, and other information that can then be used to dynamically create links and prompts for the user. You can use the sentiment feature to determine if the comment is positive or negative.

To see Text Analytics in action, go to: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/services/cognitive-services/text-analytics/

6. Translator Speech API6. Translator Speech API

The Translator Speech API is a real-time, end-to-end solution for adding speech translation to applications and services. This API can be used for your web, mobile, and desktop applications to translate from one language to another. It currently supports dozens of languages including Arabic, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, English, French, German, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.

7. Translator Text API7. Translator Text API

In addition to speech translation, there are also APIs for doing text translation. The Microsoft Translator Text API will let you translate text to and from over 60 different languages. This API can be used to help identify different languages and thus help provided localized versions of your site or application to the user.

You can find more information on the Translator Text API at https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/services/cognitive-services/translator-text-api/

8. Computer Vision API8. Computer Vision API

Using the Computer Vision API, you gain the ability to analyze images. From the API, you can get information on the objects within a picture. This can be used to identify people as well as parts of an image. In addition to being able to identify objects, the API can also provide tags that describe the image. With all of the data provided, you also receive a confidence level. This allows you to determine how accurate the data is.

In the slide picture, you can see that three people were identified, each with their own accuracy levels ranging from 59.4% to 72.7%. You can also see that there is a 99% confidence level that the image is outdoors. You can learn more about this API and test your own image at: http://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/services/cognitive-services/computer-vision/

9. Office 365 API / Microsoft Graph9. Office 365 API / Microsoft Graph

The Microsoft Office 365 API allowed your websites, services, and apps to access features of OneNote, Outlook, Excel, OneDrive, Teams, and other Office tools. This has been replaced with Microsoft Graph, which is a unified API for accessing the same Office 365 features as well as enterprise mobility, security and Windows services.

Microsoft Graph provides numerous features and services. You can get an overview of these at: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/graph/overview-major-services

10. LinkedIn REST API10. LinkedIn REST API

LinkedIn became a part of Microsoft in 2016. As such, the LinkedIn REST API is now a part of Microsoft’s API list as well. With the LinkedIn REST API, you gain access integrating with LinkedIn to do things such as enhance application sign-in experience, surfacing course data, tapping into LinkedIn data, finding candidate data, and more.

11. Recommendations API11. Recommendations API

If you can understand the users that come to your site or use your apps, then you have a better chance to retain them or turn them into customers. The Microsoft Recommendations API is a recommendations solution that helps you to better predict what will happen based on historical transaction data and information from your catalog. This API requires a bit of setup including training models. The result, however, is the ability to provide personalized recommendations on your site. The most obvious type of personal recommendation is the standard “Customers who bought this product, also liked these other products.

12. Cognitive Services APIs12. Cognitive Services APIs

The Microsoft Cognitive Services APIs are ones that help you build apps or websites that are more intelligent. The key, however, is that the APIs don’t require you to have direct AI or data science skills and knowledge, but rather let you lean on the APIs to do the heavy lifting. All the APIs in this slideshow fall under the Cognitive Services along with many others.

In general, the APIs fall into five categories; Vision, Speech, Language, Search, and Decision. More importantly, you can gain access to the APIs by signing up for a free trial using your email address and a Microsoft account (which you can easily create). To get started, you can go to the Welcome page for Cognitive Services at: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/cognitive-services/welcome

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