September has just flown right on by, and that time of the week has already arrived again for us to look at some key API ratings over the past seven days. We recently launched API.expert as a simple way to provide everybody with insights into the API economay and the leading API ratings in different categories in particular. The basic service is free and will remain free. But other, related API ratings 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 API ratings in a variety of sectors for their quality CASC score using our patented system (US Patent 10,644,962, if you fancy a little light bedtime reading) that allows you to see the API ratings and compare them to other ones, as well as factors like uptime and availability. If something is missing in our API ratings 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 API ratings during this insane week of an unending year.

API Performance Headlines

To compile our API ratings, we look at more than 200 APIs. Then we pull all the metrics together to give you a general feeling for API quality in a particular category.

We do see that certain providers consistently vie for top spot in their API ratings category, including GitHub and Google. Others do less well, such as Halifax and the NHS.

Top API Ratings – CASC Score

Sept 21-28, 2020

Category

Organization

CASC score

 

Corporate
Infrastructure

 

Github

9.77

COVID-19

ECDC (European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control)

 

9.46

Cryptocurrency
Exchanges

 

HitBTC

9.28

Fintech

 

Stripe

9.42

Search

 

Google

9.43

Social Networks

 

Twitter

9.69

Open Banking - PSD2

 

Nordea Bank

9.88

Open Banking - UK Sandbox

 

Royal Bank of Scotland (Sandbox)

9.77

Open Banking - UK Production

 

Bank of Ireland

8.87

Open Banking - UK Open Data

 

Allied Irish Bank (GB)

9.81

UK Government

 

Poolice.UK

9.86

US Government

 

Department of Justice

9.84

Five changes this week to top performers. Nordea retains the overall title for the private sector with a CASC score of 9.88, down very slightly from 9.89 last week.

A CASC score of over 9.00 is very good and one of 9.50 or more exceptional for an API rating. Six of the eleven categories are headed by organization with a CASC score of 9.50 or more this week, the same as last week. Sustaining a CASC score of >9.25 over a period of several weeks is a good showing for API ratings. Congrats to those organizations that achieved it.

All API rating categories but one are headed by an API with CASC score of 9.20, which is an acceptable level of performance.

Top API Ratings – Latency

Sept 21-28, 2020

Category

Organization

Median Latency

 

Corporate
Infrastructure

 

Microsoft Office

225 ms

COVID-19

CDC Tools

159 ms

Cryptocurrency Exchanges

 

FTX

222 ms

Fintech

 

Stripe

299 ms

Search

 

Facebook

327 ms

Social Networks

 

Google

58 ms

Open Banking - PSD2

 

Railsbank

95 ms

Open Banking - UK Sandbox

 

Tide (Auth)

145 ms

Open Banking - UK Production

 

Cashplus

137 ms

Open Banking - UK Open Data

 

HSBC

83 ms

UK Government

 

Police.UK

89 ms

US Government

 

Department of Justice

53 ms

A stable week with just one change: Tide (Auth) replacing Royal Bank of Scotland (Sandbox) in Open Banking – UK – Production. Department of Justice takes the overall title again with a median latency of 53 ms, up from 51 ms last week. An important caveat for these API ratings: 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 by median latency. This week they are up to ninth out of 18 overall with a CASC score of 8.55, placing them solidly in the Green Zone.

Worst API Rating Overall

Sept 21-28, 2020

Category

Organization

CASC Score

 

Corporate
Infrastructure

 

Cisco Spark

7.99

COVID-19

Coronavirus Data API (thevirustracker.com)

5.13

Cryptocurrency
Exchanges

 

Poloniex

6.62

Fintech

 

OBIE Software Statement (Sandbox)

 

7.85

Search

 

Nobody below 8.00!

 

 

Social Networks

 

Nobody below 8.00!

 

 

Open Banking - PSD2

 

Nobody below 8.00!

 

 

Open Banking - UK Sandbox

 

Barclays (Sandbox Auth)

2.37

Open Banking - UK Production

 

Barclays (Auth)

3.36

Open Banking - UK Open Data

 

Halifax

7.66

UK Government

 

NHS

6.96

US Government

 

Nobody below 8.00!

 

 

Six changes in bottom performer this week with Barclays in the Open Banking – UK – Sandbox category taking the loser trophy.

Something of interest

As you can see in our revised API ratings, APImetrics has recently been able to start monitoring not just the sandbox environments of some of the banks in the UK that are offering open banking, but also certain APIs in the production environments too.

Generally, we separate the functionality the bank provides into an auth piece and a operational piece for convenience. It is possible and useful to test the auth piece without having credentials to test the operational piece.

API rating chart
Of the 18 brands, we monitor 16 are in the Green Zone and 14 have CASC scores above 9.20. In the past, we have seen some pretty erratic behavior in this category, but things have largely sorted themselves out these days. But interestingly, three of the bottom four are Lloyds Group brands. The odd one out is HSBC, which is superfast, but erratic. The Lloyds Group brands are pretty slow. Now, Santander is slower than Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Bank, but Santander is more reliable. Only Barclays of non-Northern Ireland banks has fewer outliers. The Lloyds Group banks are get marked down for being pretty slow, not being wholly reliable in terms of availability and having quite a lot of outliers. But Halifax is superslow, more than twice as slow as both Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Bank, and it has a lot of outliers. This seems odd as we might expect that Halifax uses the same infrastructure as the other two.
API rating chart
The Get Branches endpoint is really pulling down the Lloyds Group performance overall. And it has been getting worse in recent weeks. Pulling the list of branches out of a back-end database is a slow business at the moment in Lloyds Group. Even if they don’t want to provide a convenient cache of the data (yes, branches might close every week, but not every 5 minutes), there are surely ways of optimizing the performance on the backend to get the data more quickly? See you again in a week as we look at the State of the APIs at the end of September and beginning of October We will also be publishing the monthly report for October next month.

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