Today, the OpenAPI specification is the preferred format when it comes to building APIs. This is because of the many benefits it offers among them its output that is machine-readable and that can realize APIs in their RESTful architecture. The OpenAPI specification has changed how developers view the process of building APIs, leading the major digital transformations all over the world.
Some common benefits of using the OpenAPI specification for API development include;
- The ability to link to different useful tools. For instance, you can easily link to tools that create automated tests.
- The OpenAPI specification allows one to generate client libraries in different languages.
- It reduces dependencies with other API teams.
- It offers a quick generation of interactive API documentation. This allows consumers to test the API code by themselves.
- The OpenAPI specification approach is efficient and shortens the time it takes for developers to launch their APIs.
Even though you get all these benefits with the OpenAPI specification, there are a number of things you need to consider before adopting the specification together with all the tools that come with it. Before you start, you need to look at a number of things to make sure that this format is the best for you. After doing that, you can go ahead and start your API development. You might be in a situation where you are already sure that this is the best format for you but you already have an API. In such a situation, you do not have to start building a new API. You can use tools such as APITransform to convert your existing API to OpenAPI.
Factors to Consider Before Adopting OpenAPI Specification
Rewriting Your Entire Development Process
The first question you should ask yourself is whether adopting the OpenAPI specification will rewrite your entire development process. Even though the specification is compatible with many types of APIs, they have indicated that it is not compatible with every single type of API. If you find that adopting this specification requires you to overhaul your entire development process, you might need to reconsider. On the other hand, if your APIs are compatible, then you can go ahead and adopt the specification. Chances are that you will have a smooth implementation given how responsive and advanced OpenAPI tools have become.
The Language Your API is Designed to Work With
One of the major benefits of the OpenAPI specification is its language-agnostic capability since it accommodates about forty different languages. However, there are APIs that are designed to work with a specific language. With such APIs, it might get very complicated to adopt the OpenAPI specification. If you are faced with such a situation, then it is advisable to reconsider adopting this specification. If you have a development team, make a point of asking them what they want between flexibility in languages or simplicity that streamlines their work. This way, you can make an informed decision before adopting this specification.
Engaging with the OpenAPI Community
Exploring the wider community of OpenAPI users will without a doubt add a spark to your development process. Here, you will interact with top OpenAPI developers and you will learn a lot about the specification as well as troubleshooting related issues.
Finally, even though adopting the OpenAPI specification might be worth the time, money, and effort, make sure that you choose what to do based on what your team wants and what is best for them.