What is OpenAPI?
The OpenAPI Specification (formerly known as the Swagger Specification) is a format for describing REST APIs. API specifications can be written in both YAML and JSON formats. Both humans and machines can read and understand the format. You can describe your complete API uses an OpenAPI file.
What is Swagger?
Swagger is a set of open-source tools for designing, building, documenting, and consuming REST APIs based on the OpenAPI Specification.
The major Swagger tools include:
- Swagger Editor – OpenAPI specifications can be written in a browser-based editor.
- Swagger UI – OpenAPI specifications are rendered as interactive API documentation.
- Swagger Codegen – from an OpenAPI standard, produces server stubs and client libraries
Is there a difference between OpenAPI and Swagger?
The simplest way to comprehend the distinction is to remember that OpenAPI is the official name of the specification and Swagger is the set of tools used to implement it.
Swagger is the name of a set of tools for implementing the OpenAPI specification that are well-known and widely utilized. Swagger is a collection of open source, free, and commercial technologies that can be used at various phases of the API lifecycle. The Swagger ecosystem has always consisted of the Swagger Specification and the core open source technology that surrounds it, the most well-known of which are the Swagger UI, Swagger Editor, and Swagger Codegen. The tooling that existed alongside the Specification was a key reason for its widespread adoption.
The OpenAPI Initiative, which includes more than 30 businesses from various fields of technology such as Microsoft, Google, IBM, and CapitalOne, is promoting the development of the specification. Smartbear Software, the business behind the Swagger tools, is also a member of the OpenAPI Initiative, where it contributes to the specification’s progress. In 2015, the specification was renamed OpenAPI Specification. The most recent version of the specification is OpenAPI 3.0.
Because the Swagger tools were created by the same team that created the original Swagger Specification, the tools are frequently confused with the specification. The Swagger tools, however, are not the sole tools for implementing the OpenAPI Specification. SmartBear Software’s Swagger tools are among the most popular tools for implementing the OpenAPI Specification, and the Swagger moniker will continue to be used (Swagger Editor, Swagger UI, SwaggerHub, etc.)
After the Swagger team joined SmartBear and the specification was donated to the OpenAPI Initiative in 2015, the Swagger Specification was renamed to the OpenAPI Specification (OAS).
The Specification was contributed by SmartBear, but due to the strong relationship that developers, tech journalists, testers, and designers had with the tool, the popular open source Swagger tooling kept the original name. The Swagger tools are not, and have never been, the only focus of the standard. Indeed, donating the standard and forming the OpenAPI Initiative was made to ensure that OpenAPI remained totally vendor-neutral. That’s why we’re ecstatic to have so many firms join the Initiative from throughout the API landscape, including those that support additional defining formats like API Blueprint and RAML.
All of OpenAPI’s greatness stems from APIs’ capacity to describe their own structure. An OpenAPI definition and Swagger tools, once written, can help you advance your API development in a variety of ways.
How does OAS help with documentation?
The OpenAPI Specification (OAS) establishes an API’s contract, allowing all API stakeholders to understand what the API does and interact with its many resources without having to incorporate it into their own application.
Swagger’s ability to help streamline RESTful API documentation was one of the main reasons for its early adoption. You may convert your OAS contract into an interactive API console that customers can use to interact with the API and quickly learn how the API is expected to operate using a tool like Swagger UI, which is available as free source or as part of the SwaggerHub platform.
One of the benefits of using OpenAPI to define your API is that you can generate documentation for it. Other advantages include:
- Assist internal team members in understanding and agreeing on the API’s attributes: All of our internal APIs are shown so that developers may quickly and easily use upstream and downstream services. SwaggerHub, a team-based platform, enables collaboration on API documentation and hosts it for internal consumption.
- Assist external users in comprehending the API and what it can do: External consumers can try each and every resource of an API and get comfortable with it before using it in their code base, thanks to the SwaggerUI’s built-in interactivity. Organizations can also provide regulated access to their external consumers using the SwaggerHub platform.
- Create API tests: Your OAS definition contains a contract that explains how a successful response will seem when someone accesses your API. This contract can easily be repurposed to produce test cases, reducing the number of setup team members required to test your APIs.
- Create implementation code and SDKs: The OpenAPI definition may be used to scaffold implementation code and SDKs for the API, which can help to speed up development. API Definition files can be loaded into a variety of tools, such as Swagger Codegen and SwaggerHub, to generate stub code in a variety of languages, including Java, Scala, and Ruby.
Understanding the OpenAPI and Swagger Communities
Both OpenAPI and Swagger have open source communities that welcome any participants to join and contribute their ideas.
While there will always be some overlap between individuals who contribute to the OpenAPI and those who contribute to the Swagger tools, the two groups are separate.
The OpenAPI Initiative, as previously stated in this article, is an open, vendor-neutral organization that welcomes participation from anybody who wants to help evolve or use the definition in their API development.
The Swagger toolset has its own community dedicated to improving existing Swagger projects and introducing new ideas and feature requests. The Swagger community is nurtured by the SmartBear Software team, which invests in the creation of open source Swagger tools, but it is also powered by the contributions of thousands of Swagger users all around the world.