Towards Understanding of Structural Attributes of Web APIs Using Metrics Based on API Call Responses

  • Andrea Janes
  • Tadas Remencius
  • Alberto Sillitti
  • Giancarlo Succi
Part of the IFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology book series (IFIPAICT, volume 427)


The latest trend across different industries is to move towards (open) web APIs. Creating a successful API, however, is not easy. A lot depends on consumers and their interest and willingness to work with the exposed interface. Structural quality, learning difficulty, design consistency, and backwards compatibility are some of the important factors in this process. The question, however, is how one can measure and track such attributes. This paper presents the beginnings of a measurement framework for web APIs that is based on the information readily available both to API providers and API consumers - API call responses. In particular, we analyze the tree-based hierarchical structure of JSON and XML data returned from API calls. We propose a set of easy-to-compute metrics as a starting point and describe sample usage scenarios. These metrics are illustrated by examples from some of the popular open web APIs.


Similarity Score Call Response Tree Edit Distance Business Asset Meta Node 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. 1.
    Gat, I., Remencius, T., Sillitti, A., Succi, G., Vlasenko, J.: API Economy: Playing the Devil’s Advocate. Cutter IT Journal 26(9), 6–11 (2013)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Gat, I., Succi, G.: A Survey of the API Economy. Cutter Consortium Agile Product & Project Management Executive Update 14(6) (2013),
  3. 3.
    Clark, J., Clarke, C., De Panfilis, S., Granatella, G., Predonzani, P., Sillitti, A., Succi, G., Vernazza, T.: Selecting components in large cots repositories. Journal of Systems and Software 73(2), 323–331 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.,
  5. 5.
    Remencius, T., Succi, G.: Tailoring ITIL for the Management of APIs. Cutter IT Journal 26(9), 22–29 (2013)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Fielding, R.T.: Architectural styles and the design of network-based software architectures. Ph.D. dissertation, University of California, Irvine (2000)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
  8. 8.
    Scotto, M., Sillitti, A., Succi, G., Vernazza, T.: A relational approach to software metrics. In: Proceedings of the 2004 ACM Symposium on Applied Computing, pp. 1536–1540. ACM (2004)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Scotto, M., Sillitti, A., Succi, G., Vernazza, T.: A non-invasive approach to product metrics collection. Journal of Systems Architecture 52(11), 668–675 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Bille, P.: A survey on tree edit distance and related problems. Theoretical Computer Science 337(1), 217–239 (2005)CrossRefzbMATHMathSciNetGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© IFIP International Federation for Information Processing 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrea Janes
    • 1
  • Tadas Remencius
    • 1
  • Alberto Sillitti
    • 1
  • Giancarlo Succi
    • 1
  1. 1.Free University of Bozen-BolzanoBolzanoItaly

Personalised recommendations