We find ourselves somehow already in the middle of May and again the time has arrived to discourse 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 patented (US Patent 10,644,962) 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 early May 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 11, 2020

Category    Organization    CASC score
Corporate InfrastructureGitHub957
Covid-19Coronavirus Data API (nubentos.com)914
Cryptocurrency ExchangesCoinpaprika935
PSD2 BanksNordea Bank986
SearchGoogle926
Social NetworksTwitter957
UK Open Banking (Open Data)Bank of Ireland968
UK GovernmentPolice.UK939
US GovernmentDepartment of Justice961

Four changes here this week:

  • COVID-19 API (nubentos.com) replaces Coronavirus Data API (thevirustracker.com) in Covid-19
  • Twitter replaces Google in Social Networks
  • Police.UK replaces GOV.UK in UK Government
  • Department of Justice replaces Bureau of Labor Statistics in US Government

For the first time, the overall title goes to a private sector organization, Nordea Bank in PSD2 Banks, with a very impressive CASC score of 986.

A CASC score of over 900 is very good and one of 950 or more exceptional. Five 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 11, 2020

 

Category    Organization    Median latency
Corporate InfrastructureMicrosoft Office228 ms
Covid-19WHO (World Health Organization)119 ms
Cryptocurrency ExchangesFTX215 ms
PSD2 BanksNordea Bank176 ms
SearchGoogle386 ms
Social NetworksGoogle119 ms
UK Open Banking (Open Data)HSBC86 ms
UK GovernmentPolice.UK83 ms
US GovernmentDepartment of Justice78 ms

Just one change again this week in this category with CDC tools (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) knocking WHO (World Health Organization) off the top spot in Covid-19.

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 at twelfth overall with a CASC score of 837. 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 11, 2020

CategoryOrganizationCASC score
Corporate InfrastructureNobody below 800!
Covid-19COVID-19 API (nubentos.com)708
Cryptocurrency ExchangesOasis Dex387
PSD2 BanksVisa687
SearchNobody below 800!
Social NetworksNobody below 800!
UK GovernmentNHS468
UK Open Banking (Open Data)Nobody below 800!790
US GovernmentFederal Aviation Administration658

Several changes this week:

GSA (General Services Administration) replacing in COVID-19 API (nubentos.com) in Covid-19; the Federal Aviation Administration the Department of Commerce in US Government; and a number of categories no longer having any APIs in the Amber or Red Zones.

Oasis Dex again takes the overall trophy for worst performer.

Of particular note is that this the first time that all of the 17 UK Open Banking (Open Data) APIs are in the Green Zone with CASC scores above 800. Bottom of the table is HSBC with a CASC score of 813. 8 of the APIs have a CASC score of over 900.

We have observed a great variation in the performance of the UK CMA9 banks with their open APIs and have often seen APIs in the Red Zone, so this is a very good overall performance by the banks. It will be interesting to see if they can keep it up in the weeks and months to come.

Something of interest 

Nordea Bank has put in a storming performance this week, claiming the overall top spot with a superb CASC score of 986 and becoming the first private sector organization to take the crown. Where did it all go so right for Nordea Bank?

 

API Performance API Expert APImetrics

As we can see Nordea Bank doesn’t have a 100% pass rate, although 99.99% is generally considered acceptable, but it does have the fastest median latency (176 ms is a pretty good effort for a non-trivial APIs) and the least percentage of outliers (only 1 in 2000 calls is an outlier). This is the sign of an excellent all-round API.

 

API Performance API Expert APImetrics

There is not a lot of difference in the performance between the different cloud services with AWS and IBM Cloud being almost identical, and Azure and Google only slightly slower. This is very much the hoped-for performance with an API because it means that users will not experience degraded performance just because of the cloud they are making calls from.

See you again in a week as we assess matters as we head even further into May!