Win a Ticket to Velocity: Why is Performance Important for APIs?

Adam DuVander
Jun. 01 2011, 08:00AM EDT

Web performance conference Velocity is two weeks away and ProgrammableWeb has a ticket to give away. We'll randomly choose a commenter on Friday, June 3, at noon Pacific. Simply answer the question: Why is performance important for APIs?

Clearly, some APIs pay close attention to speed metrics. Google is notorious for ensuring its end-user products are fast. We'd expect that the search giant is as careful with its 88 Google APIs.

Twitter runs everything off its API. Even the Twitter homepage is API-driven. So, naturally the team cares about performance. And they're doing something right, because the "fail whale" is no longer a daily occurrence for most of us.

Google, Twitter, Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and many others will share their insights into optimizing services for this web of today and tomorrow. For a chance to join them at Velocity, add a comment with your thoughts about why performance is important for APIs.

Be sure to supply your email address (we'll keep it private) so we can let you know that you're the winner. You may also include your Twitter account in your comment, so we can share your thoughts with our followers.

Update: A winner has been randomly selected.

Adam DuVander Hi! I'm Developer Communications Director for SendGrid and former Executive Editor of ProgrammableWeb. I currently serve as a Contributing Editor. If you have API news, or are interested in writing for ProgrammableWeb, please contact editor@programmableweb.com Though I'm a fan of anything API-related, my particular interest is in mapping. I've published a how-to book, Map Scripting 101, to get anyone started making maps on websites. In a not-so-distant past life I wrote for Wired and Webmonkey.

Comments

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Latency is death in web apps, so clearly removing and reducing any server side latency is key to providing a useful service. Similarly, high availability is practically a requirement. I'm certainly not integrating any APIs that the app would rely upon if there was any questions about availability. These problems seem to plague many smaller APIs with high response times and black holes of availability.

When a Web service can't figure out how to do the stuff that I can see, they probably can't figure out how - or aren't even trying - to do the stuff that I can't see. Predictable performance that matches the Web site's claims makes a great first impression and lets me have more confidence in the rest of a service.

By their very nature, APIs create an interconnected web of applications. As mentioned,latency is an app killer, but the application owner typically has some control over that by upgrading hardware, optimizing software, etc. If they integrate with a third party API, however, the latency inherent in connecting to and accessing that API is beyond their control. As API providers, it's critical to deliver web services in as timely and efficient a manner as possible to keep the entire flow smooth and seamless for the end user.

Wow, that's a deep question. Clean, uniform and high-performing API's have always been crucial to support high-speed networks and high bandwidth multimedia apps. API performance is also important to smooth-running virtual machines, which are growing in popularity.