We find ourselves already in the second week of June (!) and the time once again has arrived at discourse on the State of the APIs over the last seven days.

We launched API.expert earlier in the year 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, if you fancy a little light bedtime reading) 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 as we career further into June 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 the top spot in their category including GitHub and Google with others doing less well such as Halifax and the NHS.

Top Performers

Week Ending 8 June 2020

Category    Organization    CASC score
Corporate InfrastructureGitHub972
Covid-19Coronavirus Data API (thevirustracker.com)924
Cryptocurrency ExchangesHitBTC942
PSD2 BanksABN AMRO Bank973
Search     Google932
Social NetworksTwitter964
UK Open Banking (Open Data)Bank of Ireland983
UK GovernmentGOV.UK976
US GovernmentBureau of Labor Statistics970

 

A volatile week with changes in six out of the nine categories.

  • GitHub replaces Box in Corporate Infrastructure
  • Coronavirus Data API (thevirustracker.com) replaces COVID-19 Finnhub API in Covid-19
  • HitBTC replaces Poloniex in Cryptocurrency Exchanges
  • ABN AMRO Bank replaces Nordea Bank in PSD2 Banks
  • GOV.UK replaces Police.UK in UK Government
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics replaces Federal Communications Commission in US Government

For the fifth week in a row, the overall title goes to a private sector organization, but Nordea Bank in PSD2 Banks has lost the crown to Bank of Ireland in UK Open Banking (Open Data) with a CASC score of 983. A CASC score of over 900 is very good and one of 950 or more exceptional.

Six of the nine categories are headed by the 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 June 8, 2020

Category    Organization    Median latency
Corporate InfrastructureMicrosoft Office219 ms
Covid-19CDC tools (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)186 ms
Cryptocurrency ExchangesFTX211 ms
PSD2 BanksNordea Bank185 ms
SearchFacebook271 ms
Social NetworksGoogle108 ms
UK Open Banking (Open Data)HSBC85 ms
UK GovernmentPolice.UK75 ms
US GovernmentDepartment of Justice129 ms

Two changes this week with COVID-19-India API (covid19india.org) replacing CDC tools (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) in Covid-19, Facebook Google in Search.

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 just ninth overall with a CASC score of 852. But it is still worth remembering that it’s no good just being fast if you are flakey, although being fast does help!

Worst quality across all categories

Week Ending June 8, 2020

CategoryOrganizationCASC score
Corporate InfrastructureNobody below 800!
Covid-19Coronavirus COVID19 API (covid19api.com)605
Cryptocurrency ExchangesBancor Network762
PSD2 BanksNobody below 800!
SearchFoursquare
Social NetworksNobody below 800!
UK GovernmentNHS431
UK Open Banking (Open Data)First Trust Bank626
US GovernmentDepartment of Commerce542

Several changes this week:

  • Coronavirus COVID19 API (covid19api.com) replacing Coronavirus Data API (thevirustracker.com) in Covid-19
  • Bancor Network replacing RadarRelay in Cryptocurrency Exchanges
  • Foursquare a new entrant in Search
  • First Trust Bank replacing Halifax in UK Open Banking (Open Data)

The NHS takes the overall last place with a CASC score of 431.

Something of interest

Allied Irish Bank (GB) and First Trust Bank (which is now branded Allied Irish Bank (NI)) have had a miserable week propping up the UK Open Banking (Open Data) category with CASC scores of 642 and 626 respectively (they are really, of course, the same API). What went wrong?

Allied Irish Bank (GB) and First Trust Bank (which is now branded Allied Irish Bank (NI)) have had a miserable week propping up the UK Open Banking (Open Data) category with CASC scores of 642 and 626 respectively (they are really, of course, the same API). What went wrong?

They are by no means the slowest APIs in their category (Halifax has a median latency of more than a second!), but they have very much the worst pass rates (less than 96.5% compared to the next worst, Halifax, with 99.70%) and also the largest number of outliers (next worst is Lloyds Bank at 2.81%).

The fundamental problem here is a flaky API. Yes, they could take a leaf out of HSBC’s book and see how they can reduce their rate-determining step for latency (process time in First Trust Bank’s case), but they need to get that pass rate up and those outliers (likely linked to the problems causing the failures) down if they are to be a competitive API again.

See you again in a week as we assess matters as we head further into June! And don’t forget to take a look at our May monthly report.