Google has announced the launch of the brand new Google Analytics Metadata API which returns the list and attributes of columns (dimensions and metrics) generated from the Google Analytics reporting APIs.
Examples of attributes that can be retrieved using the Metadata API include web or app name, full text description, grouping, metric calculations and deprecation status. The new Metadata API makes it possible for user interfaces to be automatically updated when creating tools to query the Core Reporting API. Google references the 3rd party tool Analytics Canvas as an example. The Analytics Canvas data extraction tool keeps the query building interface up to date by using the Metadata API.
James Standen, Founder of Analytics Canvas, is quoted in the announcement post about how this new API functionality saves developers time:
"In the past, keeping Analytics Canvas up to date with the Google Analytics API dimensions and metrics required a lot of manual updating to our application. The new Metadata API automates this process, saving us time, and giving our users direct access to all the great new data the instant it's available. Users love it!"
Developers interested in using the new Google Analytics Metadata API can find detailed information in the API documentation. There will also be a Google Developers Live Show about the Metadata API Thursday August 29th at 10am PDT / 5pm UTC.