Which Are Developers Favorite APIs?

Editor's note: Be sure to check out our research on the overall growth of Web APIs since 2005. At the time of writing, this is the most recent data we have, but check the research page to see if we have a more updated article. We will be continually updating the overall growth chart with other charts getting updated on a less frequent basis.

Of the more than 18,000 APIs that ProgrammableWeb tracks in our directory, which one is the most popular? It's a question that can be answered in many ways. We could look at the number of calls made to each API however, most providers prefer to keep that a secret, and when they do publicize the numbers, they often aren't shared in a consistent manner. We could look at it from a community point of view using data such as the number of Github commits an API has.

There is another way that allows us to leverage the data in our directory. Every API on ProgrammableWeb has a track functionality that allows developers to receive updates on them through our weekly personalized Watchlist. In fact, our Watchlist service is the most popular feature that ProgrammableWeb's registered users take advantage of.

By looking into the tracking data, we can get a glimpse at the content including APIs and SDKs that our readers are most interested in. In fact, we did just that, three years ago when we wrote about the most popular APIs. It feels like a good time to go back and revisit the data to see if anything has changed in the last few years.

Chart: Top Tracked APIs of All Time

Tracking Count
FacebookTrack this API3,266
Google MapsTrack this API2,710
TwitterTrack this API1,836
YouTubeTrack this API1,382
AccuWeatherTrack this API1,369
LinkedInTrack this API1,148
Amazon Product AdvertisingTrack this API938
Weather ChannelTrack this API884
Yahoo WeatherTrack this API837
SkypeTrack this API773
Pinterest DomainTrack this API682
KayakTrack this API672
FlickrTrack this API661
FedExTrack this API603

We see that the top seven APIs remained the same with the ever popular Facebook and Google Maps leading the way. In fact of the original top 10, only the Google Talk API, which officially closed this year, has since dropped off the list. When we looked at the most popular API categories, social led the way and that holds true here with five entries among the most tracked APIs.

While this provides a sense of the APIs that have endured in popularity over time, we thought it would be interesting to see what APIs have gotten the most interest over the last year. Looking at tracking data from the beginning of August 2016 through the end of July 2017, we get the following:

Chart: Top Tracked APIs Since August 2016

Tracking Count
Google Maps338
NetflixTrack this API277
Aadhaar UIDAI AuthenticationTrack this API228
Weather Channel188
Yahoo Weather187
Unofficial Pokémon Go181
BetfairTrack this API175
SoundCloudTrack this API154
OpenStreetMapTrack this API144

It turns out there is a lot of overlap with nine of the APIs appearing in both lists. Some of the exceptions though are quite interesting. Netflix, with their constant innovation at scale has drawn increased interest toward their API. The Aadhaar UIDAI Authentication API is related to a mandate where every Indian citizen will be issued a unique ID number linked to their demographic and biometric information. For those remembering last summer's Pokemon Go craze, it is no surprise to see the unofficial API make the list.

We also see the weather category make a strong showing with three of the top nine APIs belonging to the category. For a more comprehensive look at the category, be sure to read our list of the top 10 weather APIs.

Did your API make the list? If you are a provider adding a listing in our directory is a great way to improve the discoverability of your APIs and raise awareness of your program. If you would like to include your APIs in our directory, you can use the link below.


Be sure to read the next API article: Which API Types and Architectural Styles are Most Used?


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