Web Services and APIs Need to Advertise Their Health Status

In: best & worst practices|web services

18 Mar 2014

Because everything is now being turned into an off-the-cloud service, StatusPage.io launched last year 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 become so obvious and prevalent that they turn into products in their own right, though it always take a bit longer than you might first expect.

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

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

03/2011 update: A Look At The Uptime Of 50 Popular APIs

09/2010 update: 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 update: Google Apps Status

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

02/2006 update: Trust.Salesforce.com

11/2004 update: Bringing Web Services to the Masses

10/2004 update: Rips in the Web 2.0 fabric

2004 original post: 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.

2 Responses to Web Services and APIs Need to Advertise Their Health Status



March 14th, 2004 at 10:19 pm

PaylPal and eBay have developer blogs that let people know about things like API status:


Olivier Travers

March 14th, 2004 at 11:39 pm

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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About this blog

I'm CEO of an online/mobile trade publishing firm in the marketing and defense verticals. We strive to make news and data digestible and useful in an environment that is noisier by the day.

This personal blog mixes my thoughts and interests on politics, business, publishing, software, and more. Over the years I have posted items that turned out spectacularly wrong, and a few posts that better stood the test of time.



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