3 Things to Consider before Adopting an OpenAPI Specification

Originally known as the Swagger specification, OpenAPI Specification is often regarded as the industry’s go-to description format for building APIs. Its most recognizable output is machine-readable files that can realize APIs in the representational state transfer (RESTful) architectural style.

There are several benefits to using an OpenAPI Specification Toolkit for API development. They include:

  • The ability to generate client libraries in a multitude of languages
  • Linkage to useful tools, for example the kind that can create automated tests
  • Quick generation of interactive API documentation, where users can test API code for themselves in a browser
  • Reduction of dependencies between different API teams
  • The possibility of being very efficient in with the OpenAPI Specification approach and, thus, shortening the time it takes for the API to launch

But what should you consider before adopting OpenAPI Specification and the toolsets associated with it? How will you know that this description format will work out for you? Here are three factors to consider before you make the leap towards OpenAPI Specification.

What Language is Your API Designed to Work With?

Among other things, OpenAPI Specification is celebrated for its language-agnostic quality. Thanks to its accommodation of up to 40 languages, it’s seen as very inclusive. But some APIs are only designed to work with specific languages in the first place. Instead of making it easier to develop to the APIs, OpenAPI Specification may needlessly complicate the process.

It would be wise to ask your team what they value more. They can choose either flexibility in the languages they can use or simplicity that can streamline their work for them.

Will Adopting the OpenAPI Specification Rewire Your Entire Development Process?

The main selling point of OpenAPI Specification is that it is compatible with many types of API. But even the official website overseen by the OpenAPI Initiative includes a disclaimer stating that it isn’t compatible with every single type. It’s not meant to be a blanket approach to API development, and the OpenAPI Initiative is forthright about that.

The key prerequisite of being able to adopt the OpenAPI Specification is that the service be described using the specification’s structure. Therefore, if adopting the specification will require a huge overhaul in your development workflow just to accommodate it, reconsider doing so.

Otherwise, if your API is compatible, you can enjoy the fruits of OpenAPI Specification. Given how advanced and responsive OpenAPI tools have come to be, there’s a high chance your implementation with be smooth. This the best position to be in in order to give OpenAPI Specification a shot.

Are You Open to Engaging with the Wider OpenAPI Community?

Lastly, if you’re looking to add a spark to your API development process, do consider exploring the wider community of OpenAPI Specification users. It possesses a large mindshare of some of the top rising talents in tech. The support community can also help you and your team learn the ropes of the specification and troubleshoot related issues. You’ll be in good hands.

Who knows? Becoming involved in the community may be just what you need to achieve some next-level creative and technical improvements on your API.

Conclusion: Will Adopting OpenAPI Specification Be Worth It in the End?

As to whether adopting OpenAPI Specification will be worth the money, time, and effort, make the decision based on what’s best for your team. Before making any purchases and subscribing to any service, consult the team first. Get to know what changes are required of everyone in order to adopt the specification, and evaluate whether you’re ready to do so.

About the author