Prof. Dr. Cesare Pautasso

Towards Large-scale Empirical Assessment of Web APIs Evolution

Fabio Di Lauro, Souhaila Serbout, Cesare Pautasso

21st International Conference on Web Engineering (ICWE2021), Biarritz, France

May 2021

Abstract

Web Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) decouple the internal implementation of a service from its consumers which can reuse and compose them to rapidly build new applications. Many Web APIs are described with the OpenAPI Specification (OAS). The goal of our research is to check the feasibility of using API descriptions found in public open source repositories to study how APIs evolve over time. To do so, we collected a large dataset of OAS documents by crawling open source repositories, we parsed the corresponding metadata and measured the API size in order to extract a simple model to track the lifecycle of API artifacts and observe common evolution behaviors. Our preliminary results indicate that only a subset of the APIs changes, but as opposed to the expectation that APIs should only grow to maintain backward compatibility we also detected a number of APIs with a more variable history. We also study the stability of API artifacts over time and whether APIs are more or less likely to change as they age.

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Bibtex

@inproceedings{2021:icwe:api-evolution,
	author = {Fabio Di Lauro and Souhaila Serbout and Cesare Pautasso},
	title = {Towards Large-scale Empirical Assessment of Web APIs Evolution},
	booktitle = {21st International Conference on Web Engineering (ICWE2021)},
	year = {2021},
	month = {May},
	publisher = {Springer},
	address = {Biarritz, France},
	abstract = {Web Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) decouple the internal implementation of a service from its consumers which can reuse and compose them to rapidly build new applications.
Many Web APIs are described with the OpenAPI Specification (OAS). The goal of our research is to check the feasibility of using API descriptions found in public open source repositories to study how APIs evolve over time. To do so, we collected a large dataset of OAS documents by crawling open source repositories, we parsed the corresponding metadata and measured the API size in order to extract a simple model to track the lifecycle of API artifacts and observe common evolution behaviors. Our preliminary results indicate that only a subset of the APIs changes, but as opposed to the expectation that APIs should only grow to maintain backward compatibility we also detected a number of APIs with a more variable history. We also study the stability of API artifacts over time and whether APIs are more or less likely to change as they age.},
	keywords = {API Evolution, OpenAPI, Web API},
	project = {API-ACE}
}