Two Breakout API Categories (And Two Slumpers) of 2014

Adam DuVander
Apr. 22 2014, 11:00AM EDT

So far more than 650 APIs have been added to the ProgrammableWeb directory in 2014 and some new trends are starting to emerge. Some recent popular categories remain near the top of the charts. The financial APIs that put APIs in the mainstream continue to expand, adding about 50 new APIs in the first quarter. A few other categories were less consistent and had extreme rises or falls in popularity.

Top 10 Categories of 2014

Rank Vs Overall Category 2014 Count
1 +5 Messaging 106
2 -1 Tools 54
3 -- Financial 51
4 +20 Shipping 30
5 +19 Database 23
6 -1 Enterprise 19
7 +6 Advertising 19
8 +2 Science 16
9 -5 Social 16
10 +13 Sports 16

Messaging APIs lead the way, with 106 added just in the first few months of 2014. While already a popular category (#6 overall), it's notable that more than 25% of all messaging API were added in 2014. One of the most recent, the Apperian Push Notifications API, provides mobile developers the means to send messages to both iOS and Android devices.

Shipping APIs have had a similar breakout, adding 30 to the directory, which accounts for over 23% of all shipping APIs. Prior to 2014, the category had not been particularly popular. However, the bulk of the new shipping APIs were due to multiple API additions from UPS and USPS. For example, the UPS Tracking API provides access to the popular package tracking service from the delivery company.

Two categories previously in the top 10 are notably absent among the recently popular categories. A stable of the mashup days of yore, mapping APIs slipped out of the top 10, adding only 13 APIs in 2014. Similarly, government APIs (#9 overall) only added 12 APIs. The category seemed destined to take off with open data initiatives pushing governments to create APIs. Now the growth appears to be decelerating.

Of course, these are trends from just a few short months of 2014. With a quickly growing directory of APIs, we'll have to wait and see what the rest of the year brings.

Adam DuVander is Developer Communications Director for SendGrid and Contributing Editor at ProgrammableWeb. Previously he edited this site and wrote for Wired. You can follow him on Twitter.

Adam DuVander -- Adam heads developer relations at Orchestrate, a database-as-a-service company. He's spent many years analyzing APIs and developer tools. Previously he worked at SendGrid, edited ProgrammableWeb and wrote for Wired and Webmonkey. Adam is also the author of mapping API cookbook Map Scripting 101.

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