With the world of web API development expanding significantly in recent years, it has become imperative for programmers to develop intuitive means through which machines and humans can seamlessly interact. Consequently, the move towards service-based apps and microservices has made it essential for developers to have a standard format for defining restful APIs’ structure and syntax. This is where Open API specification chips in. It permits creating a simplified application development process by offering a unique machine and human-readable interface when multiple interfaces, protocols, and environments are in play.
Having a standardized format allows engineers who are involved in the development of APIs to generate codes, perform contract testing, and plan and design servers. Additionally, it allows internal teams in organizations that leverage APIs to track, organize, and determine API footprints through the API lifecycle.
From the introduction, we can clearly see how important Open API specification is! However, before we delve deeper into its boons, let’s try and understand what it entails.
- 1 What is OpenAPI?
- 2 What is OpenAPI Used For?
- 3 What is the Difference Between Swagger and Open API?
- 4 How do I create an OpenAPI swagger spec?
- 5 How to convert a Postman Collection to OpenAPI using APITransform
What is OpenAPI?
Open API is an initiative or format for creating and designing a standard and a language-agnostic machine-readable interface that can define, consume, visualize, and produce REST APIs and web services. It is an open-source format that simplifies developing applications by allowing the creation of machine-readable API descriptions. Open APIs allows developers to describe and define all API essentials, including:
- The endpoints that are present and the purpose of each endpoint
- Input and output parameters for every operation
- Authentication techniques
Typically, OpenAPI specifications are written in JSON and YAML, two formats that can be easily understood by machines and humans. OpenAPI offers a standard format for you to interact and understand RESTful APIs with minimal logic implementation. It allows both computers and people to discover and comprehend APIs’ capabilities without the need to access the source code, read additional documentation, or inspect the network traffic.
What is OpenAPI Used For?
OpenAPI can be used for various purposes across the API ecosystem. These include:
1. Generating Codes
OpenAPI allows for the generation of codes using multiple languages that are supported code-generators. With OpenAPI, you can develop server stubs using the language of your choice.
2. Generating API Documentation
API documentation is an integral element that determines how well your API will be utilized. As such, it is a vitally essential tool for both API clients and developers. OpenAPI can be used to compile fabulous and interactive API documentation that details how the API works. Having a standard interface can help you generate professional-looking documentation that will act as a guide on how to use your API product, as well as sell its functionality and increase its viability.
3. API Testing
Failure to test an API product extensively before launching it can spell doom for client businesses and users. However, you ought to have a standard specification that tests better against errors and lags for you to perform a thorough API test. OpenAPI specification plays an integral role in API testing as it makes it easier for programmers to test all the essentials of the API ecosystem. This ensures that the product delivered in the market is fool-proof and devoid of any errors.
4. Better Collaboration on API Design
The design stage of API development is critical since it involves multiple stakeholders. Therefore, if you want to ensure consistency and efficiency, collaboration should be encouraged during the API design development stage. OpenAPI allows users to create definitions that can be shared to encourage collaboration among teams involved in the API design process, as well as through the API development life cycle.
What is the Difference Between Swagger and Open API?
While you may have come across the terms swagger and OpenAPI being used synonymously in API development forums, this doesn’t mean that they are the same thing. As defined earlier, OpenAPI is a standard and language-agnostic interface used to produce, consume, define, and visualize Rest APIs. The specification is a brainchild of the OpenAPI Initiative, a renowned organization made of globally acclaimed companies such as Swagger, Google, Microsoft, and IBM.
Swagger, on the other hand, is a company that has, for a long time, been associated with the development of tools that are used to implement OpenAPI. Swagger boasts a collection of open-source tools that are built around the OpenAPI specification. Some of the most popular Swagger tools include Swagger UI, Swagger Editor, and Swagger Codegen, all of which play a vital role in the API development lifecycle.
OpenAPI was formerly known as Swagger Specification because the swagger tools lived alongside it for a very long time. However, since OpenAPI is widely adopted across the industry, it can still be supported by other tools besides those powered by Swagger.
How do I create an OpenAPI swagger spec?
Developers and programmers can create or generate OpenAPI swagger spec using the intuitive Swagger Inspector by following these steps:
- Log into your Swagger Inspector account.
- Call your API(s)
- Choose the requests you want from the history panel and create an API definition.
- Follow the prompts that will be displayed until you reach SwaggerHub.
- Give your API a name.
- Your definition is now created entirely.
How to convert a Postman Collection to OpenAPI using APITransform
When working with Postman, you may sometimes be required to convert postman collection to OpenAPI for more comfortable use. APITransform is a free online resource that allows programmers and developers to convert postman collections to OpenAPI specifications in a few steps. Here is how you do it:
- Search for https://apitransform.com and hit the “Upload Postman Collection” button on the dashboard.
- Fill in the required credentials before you start converting your Postman collections. Here, you’ll be required to fill in your first & last name, email, name of your company.
- Upload the Postman Collection file and convert it.
- Download the converted file from the link that will appear after some minutes
- Now you can go ahead and add your API to the RapidAPI Marketplace.