The growth in web APIs since 2005 has increased by over 757%. This proliferation of public APIs, among other disruptors in the industry, led us to a state of the unionreport on API integration. The State of API Integration Report dives deep into data-driven trends in 2017, unveiling market growth by category, and new benchmark data to compare your own API development against.
In this day and age, it is not enough for your application to only expose a great, developer-friendly API. You often need to integrate the API’s exposed by other products and services to your application. Allowing these differing interfaces to work well together is fundamental to a reliable user experience.
The immense growth of APIs is a leading indicator for the demand for API integration. According to ProgrammableWeb, in a matter of 6 years, web API counts increased 757% from 2010 - 2016. This causes a challenge for developers since each API is unique, has its own resource definitions, data model schema, error handling, paging structure and more.
As API technology continues to evolve thirty-nine percent of enterprises, sourced from SmartBear in their State of APIs Report 2016, want easier integration between the tools they already use. These companies surveyed have on average over 1,031 internal cloud services, so getting every app to work together is a critical need.
So where does that leave the current state of APIs? Line of Business owners are demanding their applications work together, and developers all too often are left to deal with various aspects of API complexity, such as authentication and authorization, metadata discovery, bulk support, and event synchronization.
You can download the full report: State of API Integration 2017.
Our research delves into 4 key areas of API integration:
59% of Authentication is Not OAuth 2
Developers must carry the burden of understanding the details of each individual endpoint, starting with authentication. Authentication and authorization are fundamental to exposing data and services via APIs, providing simple identity-based access control. This lets the API provider know which client is connecting and what features or data they have access to.
There are many types of authentication including OAuth1, OAuth2, basic, custom and API key. The future of authentication is moving towards a multi-factor and delegated auth mechanisms based on OAuth. Unfortunately, over 59% of APIs are using an authentication mechanism that is not OAuth2: basic Auth (17 percent), API Keys (1 percent) or some custom implementation of API Key & Secret (33 percent).
Over 58% of Endpoints Have Native Metadata APIs
Beyond authentication, API providers are increasing the capability of metadata discovery to support resource mapping and custom objects. In our research, we have found that only 58% of endpoints support metadata discovery. One caveat to our research is that it’s heavily weighted by the custom integrations provided by Cloud Elements. It was natural for us to choose and support the more cooperative endpoints that natively support metadata, thus we believe 58% of endpoints supporting metadata discovery is in fact very high, industry-wide. Our sense is that less than 15% of endpoints actually support discovery.
42% of APIs Support Bulk
Bulk support across endpoints is one of the highest demanded features we hear across our customer’s building integrations, and yet only 42% of the APIs we work with actually support bulk. “Enterprise users are often dealing with vast data lakes, that need to be synchronized, analyzed, migrated or even shared. Application providers must think carefully about the functionality they offer to handle this scale of data,” stated Ross Garrett, Director of Product Marketing at Cloud Elements.
Only 29% of APIs Offer Webhooks
The last area of research we focused on in the State of API Integration Report, covers the paradigm that over eighty-percent of developers prefer to use webhooks over other methods, and yet, only 29 percent of APIs actually offer webhooks. This creates a huge gap of missing expectations and functionality, especially as it pertains to the support of endpoint connectivity. Out of these APIs that do support webhooks, 92 percent return JSON data, and 8 percent return SOAP or XML. If you’re looking to use webhooks for a SOAP-based API, the chances are slim.
What Score Would You Give Your API?
We believe that all APIs ought to be prepared for the integration use case. Using our research, you can now score your API with our interactive API calculator and see how your API measures up to the rest of the industry. We’d love to hear how you scored so use #APIScoreCard and #StateOfAPIIntegration to share your score on social.