Intrinio's API Explorer: Making it Easier to Get Financial Data

Andrew Carpenter
May 2, 2017

Intrinio is excited to announce the release of API Explorer, a free tool that makes it easier to check out the data types available in Intrinio's Financial Data Marketplace. The API Explorer lets users select the data they would like to see and the companies they would like to see it for, and then outputs that data as well as the Excel, CSV, and API syntax that would be needed to access that data using other tools. This article explains what the API explorer is, how to use it, and why we created it.

What is the API Explorer?

If you are unfamiliar with the marketplace, this article provides a good overview. Intrinio sells many kinds of data. Stock prices, analyst estimates, economic data - the list grows daily. This is great because "a la carte" data is much more affordable than all you can eat plans, but it can be overwhelming to sift through all of the data types. How can you find out which data types are available or how to sample those data types to see if they fit your needs?

The API Explorer makes it easier for users to "explore" the data that Intrinio provides. You can select a data type, like "prices" or "news," plus an access method, such as "Excel" or "API," and the data you want to see appears with the click of a button. One way users take advantage of this tool is to see if the data they are looking for is right for them - in other words, to sample the data.

Others use the tool to build the syntax they need in Excel or API. For example, in Excel, to get the latest marketcap for Apple, you would type this:

=IntrinioDataPoint("AAPL","marketcap")

In the API, you would type this:

https://api.intrinio.com/data_point?ticker=AAPL&item=marketcap

Once you get the hang of it, that syntax isn't so bad, but learning it can be quite complicated. Pulling historical data can be mind bending if you've never done it before:

https://api.intrinio.com/historical_data?identifier=$SPY&item=close_price&start_date=2014-01-01&end_date=2015-01-01

The API Explorer outputs this syntax for you. The point is to make it easier to explore the data so you know if the data feed you are interested in is right for you, and also to make it easier to access that data by building the syntax for you.

How do you use the API Explorer?

The API Explorer includes different tabs for Excel, CSV Download, and API. Simply select the tab that represents the access method you prefer. Analysts usually work in Excel and developers usually work with the API. When using the API Explorer, you simply click on the parameters to change them to include the data you'd like.

The "Parameters" inputs allow you to search for the security you want to pull data for. Just click "Identifier" to search Intrinio's coverage for the stock you want. To change the data you get for that security, just click "Item." If you want to get the latest price for Snapchat, I can search for "Snap" and "price," select the parameters I want, and then hit "simulate."

In the results area, I can see the JSON response and I can copy the HTTP request URL if I am an API user. If I change to the Excel tab, I see the results as they would appear in Excel and can copy the Excel formula by clicking the clipboard icon.

With CSV downloads, the results will automatically download to your computer. The "Download" tab on the API Explorer makes this functionality easy to use.

Using these very simple steps, I can explore all of Intrinio's data and, for users of Intrinio's other access methods,  get the correct syntax to pull data into my analyses. The API Explorer breaks complicated syntax into simple steps, taking the confusion out of accessing Intrinio data.

Why did Intrinio Create the API Explorer?

Independent investors didn't really exist 20 years ago. Independent fintech developers didn't exist 5 years ago. In both cases, financial data was too expensive for anyone without very deep pockets. Intrinio's mission is to change that, making financial data affordable and accessible. We know we are succeeding at the affordable part because each day we see dozens of indie developers signing up for our platform and creating apps for indie investors.

Affordable data is still hard to use unless it's accessible, and one barrier to access is learning the syntax required to get the data in the right format. Our support team has helped thousands of developers figure out how to make API calls and thousands more Excel users figure out how to pull data into Excel. The API Explorer was built to make life easier for those users.

By clicking the clipboard icon in the Data Explorer, users can copy the syntax they need and paste it right into their code or spreadsheets. Instead of sifting through documentation, those users have a tool that transforms their ideas into data. That makes Intrinio's data more accessible, meaning more people can become independent investors. And that is why Intrinio exists.