7,000 APIs: Twice as Many as This Time Last Year

Adam DuVander, August 23rd, 2012

The ProgrammableWeb directory has hit lucky API number 7,000. It’s been a short three months since 6,000 APIs, as the API universe continues to expand rapidly. How rapidly? In the last year we added almost as many APIs as were added to the entire directory over the six years prior. As we look over the trends, there are things you’d expect, like the continued growth in social. Also emerging from the numbers is the idea that there are many, many ways now to be an API provider and also many new tools for API consumers.

The Last 1,000 APIs

There are a lot of APIs, sure, but what categories do they fall into? Here are the top ten of the last 1,000 APIs:

Perhaps most surprising about the APIs added to ProgrammableWeb over the last three months is how many financial and enterprise APIs we’ve seen. This follows earlier trends, where we said every company will have an API. Part of the growth in finance is also related to mobile payments, as many players big and small have tried to fill this opportunity.

Everyone Can Have an API

APIs are not just for companies anymore. While “Internet” is a bit of a catch-all category, it illuminates another trend of making it easy for developers to create their own APIs. Last October we wrote about the differentiation of backend-as-a-service companies. We added the first of those companies less than a year ago and now the directory already lists an amazing 35 backend APIs, fueled especially by mobile apps.

If a mobile app does anything interesting, it likely needs to contact an API. Usually, this is a private API, like the sort that backend-as-a-service companies make possible. Other times, the app uses the same public API that is available to developers. NPR has used this approach to expand the devices it supports, for example. These sorts of platforms are more likely to use an API framework or management platform, or both. Recently these have become more accessible to the average developer.

API management company 3Scale (a ProgrammableWeb sponsor) added a freemium API service in May. Apigee (also a ProgrammableWeb sponsor) announced a similar offering today. There have also been a handful of open source platforms, such as that recently launched by WSO2. Further, Mashape wants to be a marketplace for APIs.

If you’re a developer that’s looking to become an API provider, you have many options.

Everyone Can Be a Developer

There have been a number of mashup creation engines over the years. The latest crop focuses not on drag-and-drop interfaces, but one simplifying the actual code. For example, Temboo lets developers skip the documentation. It has client libraries that let you access over 100 APIs through a single SDK.

Webshell takes a similar approach, referring to itself as the API of APIs (it’s not the only one). Still in private beta, the service connects to a handful of popular APIs. It provides API key management and even a scripting interface.

Both Temboo and Webshell boast an API explorer, a way to interactively test drive APIs. It’s quickly become a best practice for API providers, but these companies make the functionality available across several APIs.

In a year that has seen even the mayor of New York City declare he’s learning to code, this is just the beginning of more approachable programming. APIs will be the useful building blocks, because they allow anyone to perform advanced functions with a simple call.

Where Do We Go From Here?

At this rate, the API directory should reach 8,000 this year and be well on its way to 9,000 by the time 2013 comes along. APIs are going to become more core to business, but also be a key part of strategy for even small web products. And yes, APIs will create more programmers, maybe even within the ranks of mayors from major cities.

For further analysis of API milestones, see our coverage of 6,000, 5,000, 4,000, 3,000 and 1,000 APIs.

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12 Responses to “7,000 APIs: Twice as Many as This Time Last Year”

August 23rd, 2012
at 3:31 pm
Comment by: Today in APIs: Apigee Launches Next Generation API Platform, Amazon Glacier’s Hidden Landmine and 5 New APIs

[...] strategy is in line with the recent trends towards more approachable development tools and the continued growth of APIs that are available to a wider audience than ever before. The new [...]

August 23rd, 2012
at 3:34 pm
Comment by: Mehdi Medjaoui

Drag-and-drop mashup creation are cool.
But for a programmable web , let API to developers. :)

August 23rd, 2012
at 3:36 pm
Comment by: Mehdi Medjaoui

Drag-and-drop mashup creation engines are cool.
But for a programmable web , let API to developers. :)

August 24th, 2012
at 5:46 am
Comment by: 7,000 APIs: Twice as Many as This Time Last Year « Sutoprise Avenue, A SutoCom Source

[...] APIs: Twice as Many as This Time Last Year Posted: August 24, 2012 in API 0 7,000 APIs: Twice as Many as This Time Last Year. Share this:LinkedInTwitterDiggBloggerLike this:LikeBe the first to like [...]

August 24th, 2012
at 11:29 pm
Comment by: ProgrammableWeb – Mashups, APIs, and the Web as Platform | Anthro Engineering & Innovation

[...] 7,000 APIs: Twice as Many as This Time Last Year (programmableweb.com) [...]

September 4th, 2012
at 12:16 pm
Comment by: It’s time to stop ignoring the expanding API galaxy | Platform as a Service Magazine

[...] are currently thousands of open APIs floating around the web. Something like 7,000 have been added in the last 365 days. If you’re looking to immerse yourself in this space, there [...]

September 6th, 2012
at 5:01 am
Comment by: Open Source apiGrove Aims to Take Root, Grow APIs

[...] API ecosystem has doubled in a year, but there are many companies yet to embrace the movement. A new open source management service, [...]

September 6th, 2012
at 9:52 am
Comment by: API Strategy and Practice Take the Stage in New York in November

[...] are only a handful of truly API-centric conferences, but shouldn’t they be growing at the speed of APIs? While not exactly doubling, there is a new event coming November 1-2 in New York City. API [...]

September 14th, 2012
at 11:05 am
Comment by: Mashery Presents Sixth Annual Business of APIs (BAPI) Conference

[...] past year has been the strongest for API growth, with the ProgrammableWeb Directory hitting the 7000 mark just last month. The number of APIs in active development are continuing to grow [...]

November 5th, 2012
at 12:01 am
Comment by: Video: the Rise of Social APIs

[...] growth in APIs is rapidly expanding. That’s clear. Social has out-paced overall API growth and in the last year settled in as a major trend. Sure, [...]

November 7th, 2012
at 2:13 pm
Comment by: Guest Blog: The View from the Marketplace Frontier | Zephyr

[...] APIs have proliferated over the past several years. ProgrammableWeb’s directory of APIs has seen exponential growth since 2006, and companies like Twilio, Stripe, and Urban Airship have built entire businesses [...]

November 26th, 2012
at 11:01 am
Comment by: 8,000 APIs: Rise of the Enterprise

[...] been just just three months since the directory hit 7,000 APIs, meaning it continues to grow at an incredible pace. Here are the top ten categories of the last [...]

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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.