ProgrammableWeb API Directory Eclipses 17,000 as API Economy Continues Surge

The ProgrammableWeb directory eclipsed the 17,000-API mark in the first quarter of 2017 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 2016, our directory saw 2,073 new APIs added. This continues the growth trend we've seen over the last three years; since the beginning of 2014, an average of nearly 2,000 APIs have been added per year.

Total new APIs added since 2014 5,946
Average new APIs added yearly 1,982
Average new APIs added monthly 165

Those numbers represent a leap when you consider that it took five years for the directory to reach its first 2,000 APIs. That growth appears as though  it will continue into the foreseeable future and ProgrammableWeb will be here to chronicle it. In the meantime, we encourage you to take a look at the other research which provides you with different slices and filters of our directories.

As we plow forward into 2017, be on the lookout for some important changes to the charts we generate from ProgrammableWeb's various directories. For example, in 2016, we made some important forward-looking changes to the structure of our databases in order to enable more powerful searches as well as more interesting slices of our data for charting and analysis. An example of this is how we now track supported API request and response formats as separate fields. As our data catches up to the new structure, it will enable specific queries based on one, the other or both, along with the separate field we used to track an API’s architectural style (ie: REST, RPC, Browser, etc.).

One of the fastest areas of growth for ProgrammableWeb's directories is our SDK directory and that's quite understandable. In recognition of the developer appetite for SDKs, in 2016, we doubled-down on how we track SDKs in our directory where there’s a one-to-many relationship of APIs to SDKs. If on average, for each new API that's added to our database, we add two or more SDKs (for example, one for iOS and one for Android), you can imagine how the SDK directory growth rate would exceed that of the API directory.

Meanwhile, as the API economy matures and more and more API providers end up maintaining more than one production version of their APIs (not to mention beta versions), we are tweaking our data model in a way that will generate additional growth of our API database. More to come on that front.

Finally, if you cannot find the chart you're looking for, please write to editor@programmableweb.com. It's possible that the chart you need is in the process of getting published. Or, in the case of custom queries, we can prepare charts and spreadsheets for you for a fee.

Wendell Santos is the editor at ProgrammableWeb.com. You can reach him at wendell@programmableweb.com. Connect to Wendell on Twitter at @wendell78 or Google+.

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