Lately I was helping a friend of mine prepare for a trip to India. While doing so one of the things she wanted to get done was to type up a table that included US dollar amounts on one column, and the rupee equivalent in the other. The fixer api is one way to go about getting up to date exchange rates.

1 - UPDATE! API fixer is no longer free

The fixer api was once a free way to go about getting up to date exchange rates, but now it costs money. There is still a free account plan, but an account still needs to be set up to get an access token and use the api. So the content that I have here will no longer work without setting up and account, and getting an access token first.

2 - The problem API fixer can solve

I have been developing scripts involving finding ways of automating a great deal of my work flow to help reduce the amount of time I spend on repetitive tasks, so I have more time to spend on the novel stuff. That got me thinking that maybe it would be fun to see if I could automate the process of making her table, for the heck of it, and maybe doing so would be a bit helpful for her. Exchange rates are always jumping up and down, and every time a significant change happens she would have to write the table again.

So typing up a simple little script that loops over an array of amounts, and multiplies the amount by an exchange rate is pretty darn simple. I love fun little exercises like that, so I put this together in a flash.

var rate = 67,
dollars = [.01,.25,1,5,10,20,50,100,500,100],
rupees = [];
rupees.push(amount * rate);

Then of course it is just a matter of rendering these two parallel arrays into an HTML table. However there is just one problem, she would have to still manually edit the exchange rate value to generate an up to date list. Thats when I thought that there must be some kind of JSONP service that spits out up to date exchange rate values for say US Dollars, and Indian Rupees. After some quick google searches I was able to find a few API’s that do just that.

2 - Api fixer basic example

Most of the sites that offer this service cost money, or there is a limit on the number of requests per month. A lot of them give current rates up to the second, which is cool. However I thought that maybe there was a free service that updates just once a day, as that would work okay for now. To my satisfaction I was able to find one that was just what I was looking for called

With fixer if I make a GET request with a url like this.


fixer will give me this JSON Data.


There’s my up to date rate, to help make life yet even more lazy. Now I just need to generate a table with that rate and my friend can have an up to date table of rates each time she visits a page, say maybe this one. Yeah that sounds good, why not, I’ll put it here.



3 - UPDATE: Using data from fixer in a tag, and other concerns

When I first wrote this post a few months ago I have not yet figured out how to go about directly writing html content with a hexo tag. In this post I am directly rendering html content with data from an scripted http request, without any static fall back. Sense then I have wrote a post on how to do that, as well as another post on progressive enhancement.