1,000 Web APIs

John Musser, November 3rd, 2008

Last week ProgrammableWeb crossed one of its biggest milestones thus far when we added the 1,000th web service API to our API directory. This is a long way from the 32 APIs we started with back in the summer of 2005. Back then even the phrase “web mashup” was only a few months old.

And the change is not just in quantity of APIs, but in quality, variety, rate of growth, and most of all, impact. Over the past 3 years, APIs have shown they can be truly disruptive in a wide range of online markets. We’ve seen this with the introduction of ground breaking APIs like:

One of the trends we’ve seen in open APIs is that within a given market segment, once one API becomes a huge success (like Google Maps or Facebook), or a sufficient number of leaders offer APIs (like in eCommerce), that a competitive or defensive reaction occurs and soon everyone else in that sector feels like they need to offer an API. It can be a domino effect. Within a year after the Facebook F8 launch of their platform nearly everyone from Google’s Orkut to MySpace offered open APIs. Likewise this has happened in mapping, video, photo, music, messaging, voice (the telcos are opening-up, often begrudgingly), and even in the news business (with new APIs for NPR, The New York Times, and lots of other news and media outlets coming soon).

How do these 1000 APIs break down by type? The following chart, derived from our database, shows the the top 15 sectors or markets with the greatest number of competing API providers. As you can see there are already 71 mapping-related APIs alone:

As each of those largest API markets have grown, we’ve added new Topic Areas on ProgrammableWeb to track the news, APIs, mashups and sub-trends:

From a technology perspective, where are we on the API front? For one thing, the success of open Web APIs has had a big impact on the rise of RESTful design patterns. To provide some light on this from an open API perspective, we’ve created a new mashup, using our own ProgrammableWeb API and the Google Chart API, to show the distribution of protocol usage by API across our directory. As you can see, 63% of the APIs in our directory are REST-based (and including Atom, also RESTful, there’s more).

And what was API number 1000 in our directory? It was the New York Times Community API, a notable new API provider, one that besides giving you all the news that’s fit to mix, symbolizes just how much the world is opening-up.

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58 Responses to “1,000 Web APIs”

November 3rd, 2008
at 8:39 am
Comment by: Arcturus Kirwin

salesfoce.com, eh? Great place, if you’re looking to get into the domain hijacking/ad serving market. Lots of handy tips!

November 3rd, 2008
at 3:57 pm
Comment by: Let A Thousand Web APIs Blossom

[...] a fantastic job chronicling web app APIs for over three years, and today they reached a milestone, surpassing 1000 APIs tracked. ProgrammableWeb is a great resource for developers cooking up great mashups, so kudos to [...]

November 3rd, 2008
at 3:58 pm
Comment by: Ryan Stewart - Rich Internet Application Mountaineer » Blog Archive » ProgrammableWeb Hits 1,000 Web APIs and Some ActionScript Cloud APIs

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November 3rd, 2008
at 4:05 pm
Comment by: My Blog Channel » Blog Archive » Let A Thousand Web APIs Blossom

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November 3rd, 2008
at 5:20 pm
Comment by: Web APIs Chronicled…11.03.08 « The Proverbial Lone Wolf Librarian’s Weblog

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November 3rd, 2008
at 5:30 pm
Comment by: Let A Thousand Web APIs Blossom  »TechAddress

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November 3rd, 2008
at 6:02 pm
Comment by: 1000 WEb API’s - Thanks for keeping count! | The Professional

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November 3rd, 2008
at 6:30 pm
Comment by: links for 2008-11-03 « andrewlewin: let me think about that …

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November 3rd, 2008
at 6:52 pm
Comment by: Links for 2008-11-03 - Tony Scott

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November 3rd, 2008
at 7:16 pm
Comment by: TechCrunch Japanese アーカイブ » 百花繚乱のウェブAPIを使ってみよう

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November 3rd, 2008
at 7:46 pm
Comment by: Ben

I might be mistaken, but I’m fairly sure REST isn’t a Protocol. Neither is Javascript.

November 3rd, 2008
at 8:06 pm
Comment by: North Sydney Web Design

Hi Great article, good reading. API’s are such a cool feature of the web. I’ll stay tuned to the good articles on your blog.

I’ll be posting more articles on this topic on my Web Design Blog

November 3rd, 2008
at 8:42 pm
Comment by: John Musser

@Ben, indeed REST is an architectural model and approach, and JavaScript is a delivery language/SDK than protocol. We explain some of this on our FAQ page. This grouping gives us a way to describe these differences across APIs. Always open to suggestions for new or better ways to describe or group these…

November 3rd, 2008
at 8:44 pm
Comment by: straighten » 1,000 Web APIs

[...] 1,000 Web APIs Last week ProgrammableWeb crossed one of its biggest milestones thus far when we added the 1,000th web service API to our API directory. This is a long way from the 32 APIs we started with back in the summer of 2005. Back then even the phrase “web mashup” was only a few months old. [...]

November 4th, 2008
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November 4th, 2008
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November 4th, 2008
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November 4th, 2008
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November 4th, 2008
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November 4th, 2008
at 2:56 pm
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November 4th, 2008
at 6:44 pm
Comment by: del.icio.us links for 2-4 November 2008 « andrewlewin: let me think about that …

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November 5th, 2008
at 3:55 am
Comment by: +1000 APIs Web | taggle.org

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November 5th, 2008
at 10:42 pm
Comment by: Mashups, SOA, RESTful… « José Yukio Akazawa’s Blog

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November 6th, 2008
at 3:07 am
Comment by: Kumar Kandaswamy

Congratulations, ProgrammableWeb! Great piece, and thanks for the references to the eBay APIs.

I’m the head of the eBay Developers Program, and wanted to clarify that both the eBay API and the eBay Developers Program started in November
2000 (not 2001), meaning it’s our eighth anniversary this month.

We are really excited about our next generation platform, Project Echo, that allows 3rd party developers to integrate directly onto eBay.com. Please check out http://developer.ebay.com/echo for more details.

November 6th, 2008
at 6:24 am
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November 7th, 2008
at 7:41 am
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November 8th, 2008
at 6:28 pm
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[...] Web APIs von Webdiensten, über die Drittanbieter auf den Dienst zugreifen können. Zum Anlass der 1000sten API hat er interessante Statistiken zu Kategorien und der verwendeten Technik der APIs  [...]

November 9th, 2008
at 8:13 pm
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November 9th, 2008
at 8:18 pm
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November 10th, 2008
at 1:23 pm
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November 13th, 2008
at 8:36 pm
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November 14th, 2008
at 1:01 am
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November 14th, 2008
at 1:50 am
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November 15th, 2008
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November 30th, 2008
at 3:24 pm
Comment by: Cloud Layers – The network is our computer « Martin’s Weblog

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December 2nd, 2008
at 1:31 am
Comment by: C N Rao

API tracking is maintaining a value chronicle of evolution of the WEB most important aspect the API.

January 26th, 2009
at 5:57 pm
Comment by: Joel R. Voss

The internet category encompasses quite a few strange systems. Something like a meta category for the rest, since most people don’t look specifically for those type of services, they look for those services when they’re doing other stuff on the internet (such as url shortening in IRC and Twitter). EC2 and so forth are services that allow you to host your own material, but only is interesting to people doing work on the internet. I’m not surprised that it’s the second biggest api category.

May 16th, 2009
at 1:03 pm
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ProgrammableWeb
APIs, mashups and code. Because the world's your programmable oyster.

John Musser
Founder, ProgrammableWeb

Adam DuVander
Executive Editor, ProgrammableWeb. Author, Map Scripting 101. Lover, APIs.