We have already passed the last full week of April (and seemingly back into winter today here in the UK!) and once more the time has come to talk of many things, but particularly in our case, the State of the APIs over the last seven days.

We recently launched API.expert as a simple way to provide everybody with insights into the API economy and the leading APIs in different categories in particular. The basic service is free and will remain free, but other, related services will be built on top of it, including your very own API.expert dashboards if you want them! 

Each week, month and year we’ll look at the APIs we track in a variety of sectors for their quality (using our patent pending CASC scoreand other factors like uptime and availability. 

Each week, month and year we’ll look at the APIs we track in a variety of sectors for their quality (using our patented CASC score, which allows you at a glance to see the performance of an API and compare it to other ones) as well as factors like uptime and availability.

If something is missing that you think should be here, don’t hesitate to drop us a line!

Now, onto what the past week tells us about the state of the world of APIs in late April 2020.

API Performance Headlines 

We look at over 200 APIs but pull all the metrics together to give you a general feeling for the service quality for an organization’s APIs in a particular category.  

We do see that certain providers consistently vie for top spot in their category including GitHub and Google with others doing less well such as Oasis Dex and the NHS. 

CASC score

Week ending April 27, 2020

Category    Organization    CASC score
Corporate InfrastructureBox952
Covid-19ECDC (European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control)870
Cryptocurrency ExchangesBitMEX934
PSD2 BanksABN AMRO Bank962
SearchMicrosoft Bing937
Social NetworksGoogle965
UK Open Banking (Open Data)Bank of Ireland966
UK GovernmentPolice.UK986
US GovernmentNational Renewable Energy Laboratory968

Four changes again this week:

  • Box replacing GitHub in Corporate Infrastructure
  • BitMEX Gemini in Cryptocurrency Exchanges
  • Bing and Google in Search
  • National Renewable Energy Laboratory Federal Communications Commission in US Government

Police.UK takes the overall title again with a fine CASC score of 988 (down just 2 from last week), once more keeping the title in the public sector.

A CASC score of over 900 is very good and one of 950 or more exceptional. Six of the nine categories are headed by organization with a CASC score of 950 or more this week as Google dropped away In Search. Sustaining a CASC score of >925 over a period of several weeks is a good showing and congratulations to those organizations that achieved it. 

Top performers by latency

Week ending April 27, 2020

 

Category    Organization    Median latency
Corporate InfrastructureMicrosoft Office231 ms
Covid-19WHO (World Health Organization)110 ms
Cryptocurrency ExchangesFTX220 ms
PSD2 BanksOpen Bank Project202 ms
SearchGoogle 389 ms
Social NetworksGoogle119 ms
UK Open Banking (Open Data)HSBC85 ms
UK GovernmentPolice.UK75 ms
US GovernmentDepartment of Justice97 ms

One change again this week in this category with GitHub being knocked off the top spot in Corporate Infrastructure by Microsoft Office, so no immediate comeback for Slack, now down to fourth-fastest.

An important caveat: medians can be misleading!

An API might have a fast median latency but produce many slow outliers. These won’t affect the median, but they mean that users can experience many calls that were unacceptably slow. So just being fast isn’t everything. You have to be reliable too if you want to have good APIs and get a high CASC score!

As so often, FTX tops the Cryptocurrency Exchange category, but they are down to sixth overall with a CASC score of 871, down from third place and a CASC score of 895 last week, which shows how hard it can be to sustain improvements. But it is still worth remembering that It’s no good just being fast if you are flaky, although being fast does help!

Worst quality across all categories

Week ending April 27, 2020

 

CategoryOrganizationCASC score
Corporate InfrastructureNobody below 800!
Covid-19COVID-19-Tracker-REST API407
Cryptocurrency ExchangesOasis Dex332
PSD2 BanksCapital One365
SearchNobody below 800!
Social NetworksNobody below 800!
UK GovernmentNHS406
UK Open Banking (Open Data)Halifax785
US GovernmentDepartment of Commerce694

Three changes here again this week:

  • Nobody in the doghouse in Corporate Infrastructure
  • Capital One replacing Visa at the floor of PSD2 Banks
  • Department of Commerce FEC in US Government

Oasis DEX claims the overall last place with a pretty dismal CASC score of just 332.

Something of interest 

Capital One stands out with a CASC score firmly in the Red Zone of just 365. Of the 11 APIs in PSD2 Banks, 9 are in the Green Zone (8 above 900), 1 in the Amber Zone (Visa) and one in the Red (Capital One). So, banks should be able to produce high quality APIs. What has gone wrong for Capital One?

 

API Performance API Expert APImetrics

Perennial under-performer Visa has a pass rate of just over 92% and 11% of outliers, but Capital One is even worse with a pass rate of just 82.46% and 20.80% of outliers.  That’s very bad. Can we see what is going wrong?

 

API Performance API Expert APImetrics

If we look at Total Time, we can see that AWS is a lot faster than Azure and more than twice as fast as Google and IBM Cloud.  What’s that all about?

Given that AWS is so much faster than the other three clouds, it might be that Capital One aren’t seeing anything wrong in their own monitoring if they are only looking from AWS.

 

API Performance API Expert APImetrics

It is clear from a glance at the DNS Lookup Time, that this is the rate-determining step. Such a long DNS lookup time is likely the cause of the high percentage of outliers especially from Google and IBM Cloud.

It might also be the cause of the high number of failures. If the DNS lookup time becomes too long the call will time out. This is definitely an API in need of some urgent attention and it will be interesting to see if it can get back to nominal by next week

See you again in a week as we assess matters as we head into May. We will also be doing the April monthly report.