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Introduction to Github APIs

Github APIs are a way to interact with Github. Here, we will learn about some basic things we can do with Github APIs.

Introduction to Github APIs

What are APIs

API stands for Application Program Interfaces, which developers use to access web tools or information on the cloud. It allows different cross-platform applications to talk to each other. One of the common examples of it is Google Speech to Text API used when you talk to Google Assistant.

What is Github APIs

Github APIs( or Github ReST APIs) are the APIs that you can use to interact with GitHub. They allow you to create and manage repositories, branches, issues, pull requests, and many more. For fetching publicly available information (like public repositories, user profiles, etc.), you can call the API. For other actions, you need to provide an authenticated token.

Basic Github APIs Examples

The base URL for GitHub APIs is:- https://api.github.com/

Accessing Public Information

Fetching user information with its username

Request type: GET API endpoint: /users/{username}

Example :- curl https://api.github.com/users/devkapilbansal


As you can see, API returns us a JSON response with info about the user, like its imageurl, name, mailaddress.

Fetching user's followers' list

Request type: GET API endpoint: /users/{username}/followers

Example :- curl https://api.github.com/devkapilbansal/followers


This URL returns info about all the users that follow a particular user.

Check if a user follows another

Request type: GET API endpoint: /user/{username}/following/{target_username}

This endpoint doesn't return any content. It just returns a status code.

A status code of 204 means the target_user is followed by the user, whereas a status code of 404 means the user does not follow a target_user.

Example :- curl https://api.github.com/devkapilbansal/following/KapilBansal

When a user follows another user follow

When a user doesn't follow another user not_follow

Performing tasks as an authenticated user

If you provide an authenticated token, you don't need to provide a username in the endpoints mentioned above.

By providing the token, you can create repositories/gists, comment on pull requests/issues, and all other tasks that you can perform from the Web Interface.

Generating Token

You can get a token by going to https://github.com/settings/tokens and clicking on Generate new token. You will be asked for the permissions/scopes of that token. Choose them wisely while creating one as some of these might be destructive.

After selecting scopes, click on generate token and save the token somewhere as you will not see that token again.

Note:- Store your token in a secured environment while using it.

Creating a Repository

Request type: POST API endpoint: /user/{repos} Required data: name

Example :- curl -H "Authorization: token ${token}" -d '{"name":"Github API Testing"}' https://api.github.com/user/repos

create repo

List issues assigned to you

Request type: GET API endpoint: /issues

Example :- curl -H "Authorization: token ${token}" https://api.github.com/issues

list issues

Creating an issue

Request type: POST API endpoint: /repos/{owner}/{repo_name}/issues Required data: title

Example :- curl -H "Authorization: token ${token}" -d '{"title":"Issue_For_Test"}' https://api.github.com/repos/devkapilbansal/Github-API-Testing/issues


Commenting on issue

Request type: POST API endpoint: /repos/{owner}/{reponame}/issues/{issueno}/comments Required data: body

Example :- curl -H "Authorization: token ${token}" -d '{"body":"Test comment"}' https://api.github.com/repos/devkapilbansal/Github-API-Testing/issues/1/comments


Note - The same endpoint is used for commenting on pull requests too. Just change the issue number with the pull request number.

Opening/Closing an issue

Request type: PUT API endpoint: /repos/{owner}/{reponame}/issues/{issueno}

Example :- curl -H "Authorization: token ${token}" -d '{"state":"close"}' https://api.github.com/repos/devkapilbansal/Github-API-Testing/issues/1

Note - The same endpoint is valid for updating pull requests too.


The above results can be verified on the GitHub website too. results


There are a lot more endpoints that you can explore at https://developer.github.com/v3. Also, you can only do the work you are authorized to with that token. Although there are plenty of data fields that can be sent with these endpoints, only required ones are shown above.

Kapil Bansal

Written by Kapil Bansal

A python developer and open source enthusiast.

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