Last week Twitter added a new rate limit to the “verify_credentials” method on their API. As a result, a number of applications that expected to be able to call “verify_credentials” more than 15 times per hour stopped working. The regular Twitter rate limit is 150 requests/hour, so Twitter is essentially saying that “verify_credentials” can only be called once for every 10 other API method calls that are made.
According to Jesse Stay, Twitter made this change without any notice to their developer community because they “assumed (apparently incorrectly) that people are only using this method occasionally.”
Twitter does a great job with their API – they make it easy to use and handle huge volumes.
But this is a great example of the need for API analytics. It should be fast and easy for any API product or engineering manager to drill down into “how often is verify_credentials called,” or better yet, “how often does the average API user call verify_credentials,” or even, “who are the top users of this API method?”
We all have Web analytics to help us make decisions for our websites - we need the same decision support for APIs.