The ProgrammableWeb directory eclipsed the 22,000-API mark in June 2019 and this milestone gives us a chance to look at what the data can tell us about the API economy. Since 2005, we've seen APIs grow from a curiosity to a trend, and now to the point where APIs are core to many businesses. APIs have provided tremendous value to countless organizations and developers, which is reflected in their continued growth.
In 2018, our directory saw 1,829 new APIs added. This may seem like a dip in the growth trend seen since 2015 but there are good reasons for this, and for us at ProgrammableWeb very exciting ones, that will be explained momentarily. First, let’s look at the numbers. Since January 2015, an average of more than 2,000 APIs has been added per year.
|Total new APIs added since 2015||8,076|
|Average new APIs added yearly||2,019|
|Average new APIs added monthly||168|
As for the first six months of 2019, the API directory has seen 1,320 new APIs added. That is an average of 220 new APIs being added every month or an increase of over 30% over the previous four years. At this rate, the directory would see over 2,600 new APIs added which would be the second-highest number ever. API growth looks to be alive and well.
The lower number of APIs added in 2018 can be explained by a lot of behind the scenes work being done by our directory team. In 2019, ProgrammableWeb is looking to release the long-teased update to our directory data model. The new data model will look to further accommodate APIs that have multiple versions. For example, the number of API providers offering additional endpoints to accommodate emerging architectural styles (beyond your typical REST endpoint) such as GraphQL and gRPC is growing. And for each architectural style, there may be multiple versions in production; some supported. Some not. These trends will result in an even larger API directory and hopefully even more interesting questions worth answering. The preparation for the move to this model included a healthy amount of data cleansing to our existing database; a move that required our team to spend some time away from researching new APIs.
Beyond the API directory, ProgrammableWeb has five other directories tracking SDKs, Frameworks, Libraries, and Mashups. The growth of all of these directories has allowed us to slice the data in a number of ways as we conduct ongoing research. This research has been collected in our Research Center where you can find out the answers to questions such as what APIs do developers show the most interest in, what do Push/Streaming APIs look like, and which API types and architectural styles are the most used.
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