18 Mar

Web Services and APIs Need to Advertise Their Health Status

It seems everything is now being turned into an off-the-cloud service, and as a case in point StatusPage.io launched in 2013 to let companies outsource their availability dashboards. They already have lined up a nice customer roster, with a monthly runrate now above $30K. It is rewarding to see best practices becoming so obvious and prevalent that they turn into products in their own right, though it often takes a bit longer than you might first expect for things to bloom to full maturity.

This entry started with a 2004 post, and spans more than a decade since I started advocating for API and web service providers to provide transparency into their operations. Check out how things propagated, starting with the latest developments:

04/2015 – CachetHQ, an open source status page system.

03/2014 – 3 Great Tips to Improve Your API Status Pages; tools and services which monitor the Guardian’s Content API.

03/2011 – A Look At The Uptime Of 50 Popular APIs.

09/2010 – How things have evolved through the last decade! There’s now api-status.com to get the pulse of dozens of public APIs. You read it here first as per this entry originally from 2004. 2014 update to the update: api-status.com seems dead, probably killed after WatchMouse’s acquisition by CA. Luckily Zapier’s API status board and APImetrics have stepped in.

09/2009 – Google Apps Status.

09/2007 – this is finally something more companies are doing now, e.g. heartbeat.skype.com

02/2006 – Trust.Salesforce.com.

11/2004 – Bringing Web Services to the Masses.

10/2004 – Rips in the Web 2.0 fabric.

2004 initial post, for posterity

People who use the Amazon.com web services routinely complain about their sluggishness. In the dedicated discussion board, after someone suggested they create an XML feed to advertise the current availability and average response time, as well as planned downtime, a developer from Amazon said they’d look into it. Better late than never, I advocated something similar for Paypal in late 2001.

Sometimes I wonder whether Amazon’s web services are meant to be anything more than a cool gizmo. They certainly don’t give the impression they consider this a mission critical tool. Affiliates who use Amazon’s web service end up having to cache the data and avoid live calls that might break their own site.

3 thoughts on “Web Services and APIs Need to Advertise Their Health Status

  1. I know about this blog, it’s a step in the right direction. They should have something machine-readable too, so that your software can act accordingly (e.g. you ask Paypal in real time whether they’re available, and if they aren’t, you route your customer to an alternate payment gateway instead of leading them to failure and losing some orders).

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