Uber – Thousands of Employees, None on API Documentation Duty

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Uber is amazing. Living in NYC means I find myself using the app at least once a week. With that said, it doesn’t mean that Uber’s API is flawless. In particular, we are constantly seeing this billion dollar company make changes on the fly without any warning or update to the documentation.

API Fortress tests the payloads of the Uber API and some errors were fired off August 13 at 12pm EST. The Product Types endpoint, when tested from within San Francisco, CA returned display_name as “POOL.” The expected returns for display_name are normally UberX, UberT, UberBlack, etc… In the documentation they have this note:

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They specifically state this is NOT supposed to happen. Was there an error in the API? Or was the documentation out of date? This is not necessarily a catastrophic issue, but what happens when one of Uber’s API partners built their app or service in a manner that was not flexible in case display_name had an unexpected value? It could crash the app and lead to a lost customer.

On September 24 the Price Estimate endpoint started firing errors. The minimum object was now occasionally firing a ‘null,’ instead of an integer as we had seen since Uber was first onboarded about 7 months ago. We checked the documentation and found something weird. Minimum is not even listed as a potential result. Either it has never been added to the docs, or they removed it but left it in the API itself.

No one is perfect, especially in the tech world. That is why API Fortress exists. To help you get a little bit closer.