The Swagger API framework is becoming the de facto standard API description and visualization framework for REST APIs. Initiatives like the Open API Initiative are further standardizing the role of Swagger in API development. We predict that Swagger will gain further traction and over time become the most widely used standard for APIs.
APIs are essential building blocks for not only developing modern digital applications but also building a vibrant eco-system around them. Developing open, vendor-neutral APIs is critical for API adoption and for the success of API programs. API specifications play a big role is creating open APIs.
Recently, industry heavyweights such as Google, Microsoft, IBM, PayPal, Intuit and others came together to form (OAI). The goal of the OAI is to define, evolve and promote a vendor-neutral REST API description framework.
“An API that adheres to the principles of REST does not require the client to know anything about the structure of the API. Rather, the server needs to provide whatever information the client needs to interact with the service,” according to developer community Stack Overflow
Developers have many choices when it comes to describing REST APIs, including specifications such as WSDL 2.0, WADL, Swagger, API Blueprint, RAML and others. The adoption of the Swagger specification by OAI has huge implications for organizations implementing API initiatives. The big question is, should organizations standardize on Swagger or continue to use other API description formats?
To answer this question, we need to understand the main purpose of using API specifications.
API specifications do the following:
- Describe REST APIs so that both humans and computers can discover and understand the capabilities of the API without reading source code.
- Allow a consumer to understand and interact with the API with a minimal amount of implementation logic.
API design and development tools from leading vendors support the Swagger specification. The standardization of Swagger and its adoption by OAI is going to further increase support for this standard. Due to the increased support for Swagger, developers will find it easy to define and consume Swagger based APIs.
Therefore, organizations implementing APIs using the Swagger standard will have lower barriers to API adoption and hence greater success with their API programs. APIs defined using other specification formats (such as RAML and others) will have higher barriers to adoption and will likely struggle to replicate the wider adoption and success achieved by Swagger.
Vendors will rally behind the Open API initiative and give Swagger a much-needed boost to become the dominating API standard. APIs have truly gotten their Swagger back and other specifications will begin to fade away.