Api management

Swagger and Swagger UI: What is it and Why is it a must for your APIs?

27th January 2017

What happens when two people do not speak the same language? APIs do not share a common language on many occasions, and Swagger and Swagger UI offer a solution. APIs let us connect and share data, something that is essential for the most cutting-edge companies. But there is an issue – APIs don’t have a common design standard, and there aren’t even common parameters for documenting them. That is to say, not only do they not speak the same language, but in addition, there is no dictionary to assist in deciphering them. Does it make sense to have a platform whose purpose is for several people to collaborate in order to achieve the best developments?

An API loses its purpose if it is not accessible and if we do not have documentation that helps us understand it.”

An API definitely loses its purpose if it is not accessible and if we do not have documentation that helps us understand it. How could they be accessible? One of the worst problems with APIs is that, in many cases, the documentation accompanying them is useless. Swagger is born with the purpose of solving this issue. Its goal is to standardize the vocabulary used by APIs. It is the API dictionary.

– Learn the way toward a successful API in this post –

When speaking of Swagger we are referring to a set of rules, specifications and tools that help us document our APIs. In this manner, we can create documentation that is actually useful for people who need it. Swagger helps us create documentation that everyone can understand.

“Swagger is a set of rules, specifications and tools that help us document our APIs.”

Even though other platforms exist which offer different frameworks, Swagger is the most widespread. Why? Because it offers additional benefits.

The most important of them is that everyone, or almost everyone, understands Swagger. Whether you are a developer or have little development knowledge, you will be able to understand it thanks to Swagger UI. Even machines can read it, turning it into another very attractive advantage. With Swagger, documentation can be used directly to automate API-dependent processes. Another advantage is that we can find it integrated to popular, powerful tools such as those of WSO2. Lastly, we cannot forget either about the tools it provides.

Swagger UI – Swagger’s user interface

Swagger UI is one of the platform’s attractive tools. In order for documentation to be useful, we will need it to be browseable and to be perfectly organized for easy access. It is for this reason that writing good documentation may be tedious and use a lot of the developers’ time.

“By using Swagger UI to expose our API’s documentation, we can save significant time.”

By using Swagger UI to expose our API’s documentation, we can save significant time. With Swagger UI we can organize our methods and even add the examples we need.

Swagger UI uses an existing  JSON or YAML document and makes it interactive. It creates a platform that arranges each of our methods (get, put, post, delete) and categorizes our operations. Each method is expandable, and within them we can find a full list of parameters with their corresponding examples. We can even test call values. In this link we can see how it works.

This is not the only useful tool Swagger has; “Editor” is another very interesting tool that will help us find errors in our documentation on YAML or JSON. Just by uploading our documentation to the platform, it will compare it with Swagger Editor specifications; it will not only find errors we have committed, but it will also offer suggestions and give us alternatives in order for our documentation to be perfect. See an example here.

“A well-documented API means that it is accessible by other developers; by making our APIs more accessible we can improve them.”

Without a doubt, Swagger, Swagger UI and all their tools are capable of making the work of our developers much easier when the time comes to document our APIs. Well-documented APIs means they are accessible by other developers; and by improving the accessibility of our APIs, we will be able to improve them. Swagger is such a widespread framework that it is even integrated in tools as popular for API management as WSO2 API Manager. Thanks to its popularity and results, Swagger makes it possible for each API to have the best dictionary in order to understand it.

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