We are almost at the end of July and there are less than 5 months to go to Christmas! Still, that time of the week has arrived for us to discourse on the State of the APIs over the past 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!

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 head towards the swansong of July 2020.

API Performance Headlines

We look at more than 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 API Ratings Performers

Based on overall quality in each category:

Week Ending 27 July 2020

Category   

Organization   

CASC score

 

Corporate Infrastructure   

 

GitHub

9.61

Covid-19

Coronavirus COVID19 API (covid19.api.com)

9.27

Cryptocurrency Exchanges   

 

Coinpaprika

9.41

PSD2 Banks

 

Nordea Bank

9.91

Search    

 

Google

9.41

Social Networks   

 

Twitter

9.73

UK Open Banking (Open Data)  

 

Danske Bank

9.55

UK Government 

 

Police.UK

9.67

US Government       

 

FEC

9.47

 

A few changes this week:

  • GitHub replacing Pivotal Tracker in Corporate Infrastructure
  • Coronavirus COVID19 API (covid19.api.com) replacing NovelCOVID (lmao.ninja) in Covid-19
  • Danske Bank replacing Bank of Ireland in UK Open Banking (Open Data)
  • Police.UK replacing GOV.UK in UK Government
  • FEC replacing Department of Justice in US Government

Nordea Bank retains the crown for the private sector with a fine CASC score of 9.91.

A 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. 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  API Ratings Performers by latency

Week Ending 27 July 2020

 

Category   

Organization   

Median latency

 

Corporate Infrastructure   

 

Microsoft Office

230 ms

Covid-19

CDC tools (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

178 ms

Cryptocurrency Exchanges   

 

FTX

223 ms

PSD2 Banks

 

Nordea Bank

169 ms

Search    

 

Facebook

270 ms

Social Networks   

 

Google

58 ms

UK Open Banking (Open Data)  

 

HSBC

81 ms

UK Government 

 

Police.UK

80 ms

US Government       

 

Department of Justice

93 ms

 

Yet another stable week this week in this stable category. No changes again to the top performers. Google takes the overall title again with a median latency of 58 ms 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 and this week are up to sixth out of 18 overall with a CASC score of 8.58, displacing them in the Green Zone.

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 27 July 2020

Category

Organization

CASC score

Corporate Infrastructure

Nobody below 8.00!

 

Covid-19

CDC tools (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

7.55

Cryptocurrency Exchanges

RadarRelay

6.73

PSD2 Banks

Open Bank Project

7.44

Search

Nobody below 8.00!

 

Social Networks

Etsy

7.07

UK Government

GOV.UK

6.58

UK Open Banking (Open Data)

Bank of Ireland

4.97

US Government

Federal Communications Commission

5.37

 

A few changes this week:

  • Cisco Spark a new entrant (just) in Corporate Infrastructure
  • CDC tools (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) replacing
  • Coronavirus COVID19 API (covid19.api.com) in Covid-19
  • Etsy a new entrant in Social Networks
  • Bank of Ireland(!) replacing Barclays a UK Open Banking (Open Data)
  • NHS GOV.UK in UK Government
  • Federal Communications Commission replacing Department of Commerce in US Government.

In a spectacular fall from grace, Bank of Ireland takes the overall loser prize with a terrible CASC score of 4.97, placing it firmly in the Red Zone.

Something of interest

For so long, Bank of Ireland has bestrode UK Open Banking (Open Data) like a colossus. So what went so very, very wrong?

 

Looking at our APImetrics test call we can see that all eight of the Bank of Ireland endpoints were failing intermittently, but persistently for more than a day from about 10:30 BST on 25 July 2020 to about 14:40 BST on 26 July 2020, returning HTTP status code 502 Bad Gateway.

API Ratings July 2020

Bank of Ireland has a pass rate of only 91.36%, which is 14.5 hours of unscheduled downtime. Ouch!

Bank of Ireland also had 8.80% outliers, by far by the highest in their category this week, which indicates that even if when the endpoints were returning, they were often doing so slowly, which means that something was amiss.

This is why it is vital to monitor your APIs actively. If an endpoint is completely down, people are likely to notice that something is wrong. But if there is an intermittent problem it can take a while before the seriousness of the issue is realized because the endpoint might well work on a retry.

If you have dashboard displaying the live status of your endpoints though you can see at a glance that something is wrong as well as receiving alerts about the failures to your higher level management via API or webhook into services such as PagerDuty.

APImetrics can also flag up you outliers, which are often a sign of serious underlying problems with an API. And APImetrics can help you know what your APIs are doing right now. If you don’t know, get in touch with us and we will out how best to help you.

We are currently expecting Bank of Ireland to be back to normal next week and up where it belongs again.

See you again in a week as we look once more at the State of the APIs as we plunge into August!