Global Survey Reveals API Standardization as No. 1 Technology Challenge Teams Face When Developing APIs

SmartBear Releases State of API Report 2019 Highlighting Continuing Growth in Microservices and OpenAPI Specification Adoption
SOMERVILLE, Mass. — February 06, 2019 —

SmartBear, the innovator behind the industry’s highest impact tools to build, test, and monitor great software, released the State of API 2019 Report uncovering API standardization as the top challenge facing API teams as they support the continued growth of microservices. The survey prompted more than 3,000 responses from a global audience of API developers, architects, testers, and product leaders.

APIs play a critical role in the world of software development — powering both consumer-facing applications and the internal processes that keep modern businesses running efficiently. The State of API Report covers different stages of the API lifecycle, including API design, development, documentation, testing, and monitoring. Additionally, there are insights into the technologies, standards, and tooling that are reshaping the API ecosystem.

Key findings:

  • 76 percent of organizations are developing both internal and public-facing APIs
  • 69 percent of respondents are developing APIs with OpenAPI Specification (OAS)
  • Nearly all of organizations currently have or plan to have an API testing strategy
  • Standardization is the No. 1 API technology challenge facing API teams
  • API teams are using an average of five different tools to develop high quality APIs
  • 76 percent of respondents said they had a formal API monitoring process

>> Read the full State of API 2019 Report.

Microservice architecture is the preferred method to enable the continuous delivery and deployment of large, complex applications. It also empowers organizations to evolve their technology stack discreetly, scaling and becoming more resilient as needs and requirements change. Nearly three-quarters of respondents believe that adoption of microservice architecture will drive the biggest growth in API adoption in the next two years.

“Constructing microservices from an API-first foundation is a solid strategy, and so an increase in microservices architecture styles will only create a proliferation of APIs,” said Bill Doerrfeld, Editor-in-Chief, Nordic APIs. “Microservices may also be affecting design choices; for example, we’re seeing GraphQL emerge as an API gateway for microservices.”

With the continued emergence of microservices, organizations can be maintaining hundreds if not thousands of different APIs within their service architecture, and the need to establish standards for how these services communicate becomes clear. Further, 58 percent of respondents report standardization to be their top API development challenge – and one that has fueled a 175 percent increase in adoption of the OAS as part of the development process.

As the leader in OAS API development and the company behind the popular Swagger tools, SmartBear has rolled out a series of enhancements in the SwaggerHub platform to help teams scale their API development with the OAS. With support for internal style rules across both OAS 2.0 and OAS 3.0, organizations can enforce common standards and rules across all internal and external-facing APIs from a single centralized dashboard. 

“SwaggerHub has allowed us to scale our growing API and provide our users with a way to test their API calls,” said Matthew Buttler, Documentation Prime, Signiant, Inc. “SwaggerHub also allows our customers and developers to view previous versions of our API resources on the fly. This lets customers adapt to changes in our spec.”

To download the full report visit: 

On February 7, SmartBear is hosting a live webinar where SmartBear API experts will discuss the key findings of the report. Register here:

About SmartBear

At SmartBear, we focus on your one priority that never changes: quality. We know delivering quality software over and over is complicated. So our tools are built to streamline your process while seamlessly working with the products you use – and will use. Whether it’s TestComplete, Swagger, Cucumber, ReadyAPI, Zephyr, or one of our other tools, we span from test automation, API lifecycle, collaboration, performance testing, test management, and more. Whichever you need, they’re easy to try, easy to buy, and easy to integrate. We’re used by 15 million developers, testers, and operations engineers at 24,000+ organizations – including world-renowned innovators like Adobe, JetBlue, FedEx, and Microsoft. Wherever you’re going, we’ll help you get there. Learn more at, or follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook.