{"API Evangelist"}

From Awareness, Observability, To API Ratings

This is the third post in my effort to try and define the three sides of my API monitoring. I'm trying to quantify what is needed as a sort of API industry monitoring dashboard -- if there is such a thing. To help me think through this, I have taken my approach to monitoring the API space and I'm breaking them up into three buckets API awareness, API observability, and now API ratings. While the three areas share many common characteristics, the motivations behind each area are significantly different--enough so, I want to look at them and evolve them separately.

A rating system for the API space is something I usually get one or two requests to discuss each quarter, sustained throughout the year. I have very different actors approaching me to solve this, from hedge fund managers, to venture capital managers, to startups and enterprise organizations. Everyone (except one) who has approached me to date has been woefully unaware of the scope of doing something like creating a Standard and Poors or Moody's for the API economy, which is always a red flag for me when it comes to understanding their motivations.

I do not have the resources to develop an API ranking system on my own, and I have no desire to exclusively own such a thing--it needs to be an open, community driven thing. However, I do have interest it trying to define possible algorithms for such a ranking system, derived from the approach I've developed for myself. I am driving this work from a master dump of my research, and the approach I have used to track on in the world of APIs since 2010--an analyst 100K view, and here is what I'm considering...

I use data and make gut-level decisions from these areas across my monitoring of the space. Some of these signals are directly within the control of API providers, while others are more in control of their consumers, and the wider public. Many of these signals depend on a company, organization, institutions, and government agencies being public with their API operations. I just can't know about and measure private, internal APIs, without some sort of observability into their operations.

The most obvious areas for measuring the quality of API providers have been based on the number of users, or the number of API calls, which are both completely within the control of the API provider to report, or not to report. My approach to rating APIs is dependent on my API awareness, as well as the API observability of each API provider. This is why I am working my way through these three levels, trying to take another look at how to distil down what I do into a set of metrics that can be used to establish some sort of rating for each provider.

I actually have metrics in place for about 25% of this list, and I know other API service providers who have an additional 10% of this, but really there is a pretty big opportunity out there right now for an organization (or organizations) to step up in the area of API ratings. The challenge is going to be about how you are going to keep the money from influencing the rating system, or I guess to be as transparent as possible in how you take money from the people you are rating, and how the process works. Let me know if you want to talk about in detail, I'm looking to stimulate this conversation further in 2017.