We are already into the middle of July and the nights are starting to draw in. That time of the week has again arrived for us to talk about the State of the APIs over the past seven days. We launched API.expert (http://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! 

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 plunge into the second half of July 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 Halifax and the NHS. 

Top Performing API Ratings based on overall quality in each category were: 

Week Ending 20 July 2020 
Category     Organization     CASC score   
Corporate Infrastructure       Pivotal Tracker 9.55 
Covid-19 NovelCOVID (lmao.ninja) 9.30 
Cryptocurrency Exchanges       Coinpaprika 9.39 
PSD2 Banks   Nordea Bank 9.85 
Search        Google 9.49 
Social Networks       Twitter 9.74 
UK Open Banking (Open Data)      Bank of Ireland   9.70 
UK Government     GOV.UK 9.48 
US Government           Department of Justice 9.63 

A comparatively stable week in API Ratings with Pivotal Tracker swapping with GitHub in Corporate Infrastructure, Coinpaprika replacing OKex in Cryptocurrency Exchanges and GOV.UK Police.UK in UK GovernmentNordea Bank retains the crown for the private sector with a fine CASC score of 9.91. CASC score of over 9.00 is very good and one of 9.50 or more exceptional. Five of the nine categories are headed by organization with a CASC score of 9.50 or more this week, down from six this week. Sustaining a CASC score of >9.25 over a period of several weeks is a good showing and congratulations to those organizations that achieved it. 

Top Performing API Ratings based on latency in each category were: 

Week Ending 20 July 2020   
Category     Organization     Median latency   
Corporate Infrastructure       Microsoft Office 230 ms 
Covid-19 CDC tools (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) 168 ms 
Cryptocurrency Exchanges       FTX 215 ms 
PSD2 Banks   Nordea Bank 173 ms 
Search        Facebook 283 ms 
Social Networks       Google 57 ms 
UK Open Banking (Open Data)      HSBC 81 ms 
UK Government     Police.UK 90 ms 
US Government           Department of Justice 77 ms 

More stability in the API Ratings with no changes again to the top performers. Google takes the overall title again with a median latency of 5ms in Social Networks. 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 this week are thirteenth out of 18 overall with a CASC score of 8.13still placing them in the Green Zone. But it is still worth remembering that it’s no good just being fast if you are flakey, although being fast does help! 

Wooden Spoon – worst quality across all categories 

Category Organization CASC score 
Corporate Infrastructure Cisco Spark 7.99 
Covid-19 Coronavirus COVID19 API (covid19.api.com) 7.63 
Cryptocurrency Exchanges RadarRelay 6.73 
PSD2 Banks Open Bank Project 7.40 
Search Nobody below 8.00!  
Social Networks Nobody below 8.00!  
UK Government GOV.UK 6.58 
UK Open Banking (Open Data) Barclays 7.53 
US Government Department of Commerce 4.74 

A few changes this week with Cisco Spark a new entrant (just) in Corporate InfrastructureCoronavirus Data API (thevirustracker.com) replacing Coronavirus COVID19 API (covid19.api.com) in Covid-19, nobody below 8.00 in Search, Barclays a new entrant in UK Open Banking (Open Data) and FEC replacing Department of Commerce in US Government. Department of Commerce in US Government claims the overall Wooden Spoon again this week. 

Something of interest 

Barclays has generally been a fairly strong contender in recent months. Much improved on where it was a year or two back with the Open Data APIs. It took a bit of a plunge last week into the Amber Zone. So what went wrong? 

Barclays is a bit under performant all round. It doesn’t manage 100% pass rate, which many of its peers do, it’s quite slow (so they could certainly look at doing more caching), although not the slowest and it has a low of outliers, though again not the most. But just as you can be a great API by being good in each category, you can be a moderate one by being merely adequate in them all.

The Total Time shows that Google and IBM Cloud are quite a bit slower than AWS and Azure. This can contribute to a high standard deviation of the latency and thus a lower CASC score.

api ratings

Handshake Time is slower for Google and IBM Cloud.

So is Download Time. The other latency components are pretty similar, so it is those two that are bringing things down. Barclays could do with having a look at their network configuration towards Google and IBM Cloud. It will be interesting to see if things are back to normal next week.

api ratings

See you again in a week as we look once more at the State of the APIs as we head towards (already!) the end of July!