Most software developers are also building APIs today. Even though most of them might not be building APIs for huge public consumption, chances are that they are building them for selected partners or for their own internal use such as connecting their native mobile apps to their backend.
This tells you that the software development cycle today together with server operations revolves around APIs. Developers who are not using a definition language for machine-readable API specifications should consider doing so. This is because APIs are made to be languages through which machines communicate.
Today, several efforts have been made to allow machine-readable API descriptions. API Transform is one of them and it allows developers to convert their Postman collection to OpenAPI. In this article, we will talk about the reasons why developers should use OpenAPI.
Why Should Developers Use OpenAPI?
1. Saves time and helps avoid errors when writing code
Writing code will always take time due to the work involved and the many bugs that might be encountered in the process. This makes developers go through a lot of work and maybe sleepless nights. However, it can be avoided with OpenAPI. For instance, customized or standard toolchains are able to change OpenAPI definitions into code, making developers save a lot of time and effort.
Furthermore, if a developer is working with a client who would like to roll their own integration code, the client can leverage your OpenAPI file leading to the generation of some of that code and still retain complete control over it. This saves a lot of time and helps one to avoid making errors.
2. Collaboration on API Design
An API is like a contract that demands that all parties, clients, and servers should follow every detail outlined. This is one of the reasons why the design stage of an API is one of the most important stages and that requires all stakeholders working together. Therefore, API collaboration is of utmost importance and helps in ensuring efficiency and consistency.
OpenAPI definitions are plain text documents. They reside in a repository. This makes it possible for them to be collaborated on by the use of forks, issue trackers, and pull requests. As a result, implementation and documentation processes are linked and everything else is kept in sync.
3. Checking and Ensuring Quality
Since OpenAPI definition is machine-readable, following an API design workflow becomes the single source of truth for an API. This makes it possible for every part of a system to be tested based on the specification. If you want to do manual testing, you can import the API definitions into clients such as Postman.
Furthermore, an API gateway that runs ahead of an API implementation can inspect outgoing and incoming traffic to make sure that it conforms to the specification. OpenAPI specifications can also be used to assess third-party APIs to make sure that they meet expectations. This helps in reducing the risks of product malfunction.
4. Publishing and Marketing APIs
The benefits mentioned above give you an edge as an API developer in coming up with better APIs, which serves to attract other developers to integrate into your API. In addition to that, publishing your API along with your OpenAPI definition makes it easy for other developers to use tools of their choice in combination with your API. This will even be better for developers working with a large number of APIs since they can use a single toolchain for all their integrations.
These reasons are enough to convince developers to use OpenAPI. That way, they will be able to come up with APIs that are marketable as well as APIs that meet consumer requirements.