2023 State of the API Report
For the fifth year, the State of the API is the world's largest and most comprehensive survey and report on APIs. More than 40,000 developers and API professionals have shared their thoughts on development priorities, their API tools, and where they see APIs going.
Our survey-takers range from CEOs and customer success managers to full-stack developers. Some work at small startups, others at companies with over 5,000 developers. They come from financial services, technology, healthcare, and other sectors. What unites them is their interest in APIs as the building blocks of modern software.
We've expanded this year's report to cover API monetization and generative AI. Until now, developers have primarily designed APIs for apps used by humans. Going forward, designing APIs for machines will become increasingly important as AI becomes more embedded in software interfaces.
Seven key findings
APIs are a moneymaker for most
Almost two-thirds of respondents said their APIs generate revenue. Of those respondents, 43% said APIs generate over a quarter of company revenue. In the financial services and advertising sectors, API revenue was closely measured. It was judged the second-most important metric of public API success, just after usage.Read about monetization →
API pricing increasingly matters
When deciding whether to integrate with an API, 47% of respondents said price is a consideration. That's up from 41% in each of the previous two years. While other factors ranked higher than pricing, this finding may reflect a more cost-conscious API consumer in the wake of tech's economic contraction.Read about pricing →
The outlook for API investments has brightened
Ninety-two percent of global respondents say investments in APIs will increase or stay the same over the next 12 months, up from 89% last year. This increase may reflect a sense in some quarters that the worst of tech's economic contraction has passed. At the same time, fewer respondents say they expect to cut investments into APIs this year.See the outlook and more →
Most API professionals are using AI to help code
Sixty percent of API professionals say they're using generative AI in their job. More than half of those use AI tools to find bugs in their code, and over a third rely on AI to generate code a computer will understand. When asked what type of project most excites developers in the coming year, the top answer was building AI-powered apps, which was chosen by over a third of respondents.Read more on APIs and AI →
Number of API-first leaders swells by almost half
This year, 11% of respondents defined themselves as API-first leaders, up from 8% in each of the previous two years. This elite group excels in almost every metric. For instance, API-first leaders produce APIs faster and report fewer failures. And when an API fails, most API-first leaders can restore it in less than an hour—a feat that only a minority of respondents can match.See why API-first matters →
When API developers exit, they leave a big hole
Software engineers have experienced the largest portion of tech layoffs so far in 2023. What does their absence mean for companies? Our findings indicate that companies with disorganized and poorly documented APIs may discover surprise problems when developers exit. Survey-takers said the top concerns were outdated documentation, zombie APIs, and loss of institutional memory.Read the full list →
API security is improving, but some sectors have work to do
API security improved for most respondents, with the frequency of incidents down in 2023. But some sectors fared worse than others. Survey-takers said monthly incidents occurred at higher rates in the automotive, education, and retail sectors than average.See the top concerns →