Social Drops in Last Year’s Most Popular API Categories

The most popular types of APIs added to ProgrammableWeb in 2013 continue to look grown-up. Financial and Enterprise topped the most popular categories, with Social almost falling off the top 10 list. As more big companies recognize the power of APIs, these new types of APIs eclipse the early adopter categories that caused the majority of companies to take notice.

Top 10 API Categories of 2013

Social’s Big Fall

There are 1,125 social APIs in the ProgrammableWeb directory, so Social is clearly a big player. In 2013, it landed in the top 10, which means that many social APIs were still being created. However, Social was tops in previous years. Although Social makes up more than 5% of the entire directory, it was less than 3% of APIs added in 2013.

These APIs Wear Ties

With Financial and Enterprise as the two most popular categories, clearly APIs have finally reached the mainstream. Among the top five categories, Payment and Science are buttoned-up types as well, although these were also among early adopters of APIs.

This trend seems likely to continue, as 2014 already has a number of new financial APIs, including the Worldcoin Price Ticker API, one of nearly 100 bitcoin APIs.

More APIs to Make APIs

Of note, the backend-as-a-service trend has become such a large percentage of the directory. Almost every new project, Web or mobile, now needs an API. They have become part of the architecture of apps, even if most APIs are private. It follows that services to create APIs--the backend for modern apps--will flourish.

Within the Backend category, here's a little trivia: 15 of the APIs have "cloud" somewhere in the name. That list includes the CloudMind API, the first backend-as-a-service API added to the directory, back in 2011.

Although backend APIs showed developers different ways to build apps, APIs in general have helped companies to do business in a different way. It's noteworthy that the directory now includes many more business-related APIs, elbowing their way in front of Social and other categories that we've come to expect at the top of the most popular types of APIs. Look for the previously underserved industries to take note going forward and to play a bit of catch-up while, perhaps, landing on the most popular category list of 2014.

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.

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