We have found ourselves somehow in May and again we find the time has arrived 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. 

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

Now, onto what the last seven days and last month can tells us about where the world of APIs is in early 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 May 4, 2020

Category    Organization    CASC score
Corporate InfrastructureGitHub972
Covid-19Coronavirus Data API (thevirustracker.com)906
Cryptocurrency ExchangesCoinpaprika946
PSD2 BanksNordea Bank975
SearchGoogle934
Social NetworksGoogle963
UK Open Banking (Open Data)Bank of Ireland967
UK GovernmentGOV.UK983
US GovernmentBureau of Labor Statistics955

A very volatile week this week, with 7 and out of 9 categories changing leaders:

  • GitHub swapping with Box in Corporate Infrastructure
  • Coronavirus Data API (thevirustracker.com) replacing ECDC (European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control) in Covid-19
  • Coinpaprika BitMEX in Cryptocurrency Exchanges
  • Nordea Bank ABN AMRO Bank in PSD2 Banks
  • Google Bing in Search
  • GOV.UK – Police.UK in UK Government
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics the National Renewable Energy Laboratory Federal Communications Commission in US Government

GOV.UK takes the overall title with a fine CASC score of 983, 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. 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 May 4, 2020

 

Category    Organization    Median latency
Corporate InfrastructureMicrosoft Office234 ms
Covid-19WHO (World Health Organization)119 ms
Cryptocurrency ExchangesFTX215 ms
PSD2 BanksNordea Bank181 ms
SearchGoogle390 ms
Social NetworksGoogle118 ms
UK Open Banking (Open Data)HSBC87 ms
UK GovernmentPolice.UK80 ms
US GovernmentDepartment of Justice86 ms

One change again this week in this category with ABN AMRO Bank being knocked off the top spot in PSD2 Banks by Microsoft Office in Corporate Infrastructure.

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 have now moved up to third overall with a CASC score of 895, so things definitely improving for them.

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 May 4, 2020

CategoryOrganizationCASC score
Corporate InfrastructureSalesforce793
Covid-19COVID-19 API (nubentos.com)420
Cryptocurrency ExchangesOasis Dex412
PSD2 BanksVisa682
SearchFoursquare742
Social NetworksNobody below 800!
UK GovernmentNHS458
UK Open Banking (Open Data)HSBC790
US GovernmentDepartment of Commerce658

Several changes this week with only Social Networks not having at least one API in the Amber or Red Zones. COVID-19 API (nubentos.com) now props up the Covid-19 category and HSBC replace perennial under-performer Halifax at the bottom of UK Open Banking (Open Data). Oasis Dex takes the overall loser position.

Something of interest 

For many weeks, LATOKEN stood proud at the top of Cryptocurrency Exchanges. Now it languishes at 17th out of 18 positions, in the Red Zone, with a CASC score of just 443. What went wrong?

In this case, a look at our detailed logs tells us that the API has been largely returning HTTP status code 503 Service Temporarily Unavailable since 13:03 UTC on 27 April 2020. After a day or so of failing, the API started passing again, but then 503ing, with one 200 at 15:56 UTC on 1 May 2020. This is a server-side error, so it is an issue with LATOKEN. The LATOKEN site is certainly still there and we have set up new tests that are passing and which we hope will help us get to the bottom of the issue. But the moral is plainly seen. If your API is returning an error, it will adversely affect your CASC score!

See you again in a week as we assess matters as we head further into May and will have further news on LATOKEN. Also look out for the April monthly report.