Creating REST API Specification
using Swagger Specification

Intro

Swagger specification is used to document RESTful API. It is immensely useful for defining, developing, testing and consuming the REST API. First release of the Swagger Specification was done on 4+ years ago. It has evolved a lot over these years.

Swaggerâ„¢ is a project used to describe and document RESTful APIs.
~ http://swagger.io/specification/

Recently Open API Initiative (OAI) was created which uses Swagger specification as baseline.

The OAI is focused on creating, evolving and promoting a vendor neutral API Description Format based on the Swagger Specififcation.
~ https://openapis.org/

Focus of this post is to create Swagger specification for a simple use case.

Why Swagger?

  • It is much easier to document REST APIs using Swagger Specification
  • Manual Documentation is done using simple YAML format.
  • Now we can create server code and client code across languages and frameworks.
  • Also, we can create the Swagger Specification from the server code automatically using Java @annotation.
  • Easier to communicate across teams and organizations with an industry standard specification.
  • Code generated Swagger Spec is always up to date.

Creating Swagger Spec for Cricscore API

Earlier I had built a cricket score API known as Cricscore API. Following documentation is equivalent to as is state of the Cricscore API.

In short, Swagger specification contains 3 sections,

  • info & endpoint - Contains general information and endpoint details.
    • info
    • host
    • basePath
    • schemes
    • produces and etc.,
  • paths - All Input and Output details of each specific API.
  • definitions - Definitions of data models used across different APIs.

Swagger version

First Let us specify which version of the swagger we are using. Required field. Currently Value is '2.0'

swagger: '2.0'

API info

info is required root of the spec. Within info, title and version are required properties.
Other properties such as termsOfService, contact, license are optional, but I would suggest we add them as well.

info:
  title: Cricscore API
  version: '1.0'
  description: Simple REST API to get cricket scores.
  termsOfService: YOU EXPRESSLY UNDERSTAND AND AGREE THAT YOUR USE OF THE SERVICE AND THE CONTENT IS AT YOUR SOLE RISK AND THAT THE SERVICE AND THE CONTENT ARE PROVIDED 'AS IS' AND 'AS AVAILABLE'.
  contact:
    name: Sakthi Priyan H
    url: 'http://sakthipriyan.com'
    email: email@example.com
  license:
    name: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
    url: 'http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/'

Refer the info section in the spec for more details.

Host name

The host (name or ip) serving the API.

host: cricscore-api.appspot.com

Base path

Base path of the API. For, Cricscore API, currently there is no base path. So, using the /.

basePath: /

In case, if you are using say https://example.com/api/v1/ as basePath, then it should be

basePath: /api/v1/

Schemes

Schemes supported in the API.

schemes:
    - http
    - https

Produces

List of content types produced by the API. Currently Cricscore API produce only JSON.

produces:
    - application/json

Similarly, there is a consumes property as well in the Swagger spec.

Definitions

Let do definitions before getting into paths. We have two different JSON objects that are returned from the Cricscore API.

Match

{"id":631136,"t2":"Kenya","t1":"Scotland"}

In Swagger Spec, it becomes.

definitions:
    Match:
        type: object
        properties:
        id:
            type: integer
            description: Match Id.
        t1:
            type: string
            description: Name of the Team One
        t2:
            type: string
            description: Name of the Team Two

Score

{
    "id":597924,
    "si":"West Indies 25/1 * v India 229/7",
    "de":"WI 25/2 (3.1 ov, J Charles 12*, UT Yadav 2/7)"
}

In Swagger Spec, it becomes.

definitions:
    Score:
        type: object
        properties:
        id:
            type: integer
            description: Match Id.
        de:
            type: string
            description: detailed description of the match.
        si:
            type: string
            description: simple description of the match.

With this we have defined over json format that is returned from the service.

Paths

In Cricscore API, only one path is available and it is simple get operation on /csa

Swagger Spec operation object contains following fields.

  • summary - Summary of the operation.
  • parameters - List of parameters accepted across url path, query parameter, header and body.
  • responses - All kind of http response returned by the API.

Following spec should be fairly self explanatory.
Refer the original documentation of the Cricscore API done earlier using HTTP request/response.

/csa:
    get:
        summary: Get currently playing matches or get scores of specific matches.
        parameters:
        - name: id
            in: query
            required: false
            description: Match Ids separated by + sign.
            type: string
        - name: If-Modified-Since
            in: header
            required: false
            description: Timestamp of the last response.
            type: string
        responses:
            default:
                description: 200 Ok response which contains list of currently playing matches when query parameter `id` is absent.
                schema:
                type: array
                items:
                    $ref: '#/definitions/Match'
            200:
                description: Array of Score for requested Match Ids for which score has changed based on the If-Modified-Since header.
                headers:
                Last-Modified:
                    type: string
                    description: Should be used for subsequent requests as If-Modified-Since request header.
                schema:
                    type: array
                    items:
                        $ref: '#/definitions/Score'
            500:
                description: Unexpected server error.

Full Swagger Spec for Cricscore API

swagger: '2.0'
info:
  title: Cricscore API
  version: '1.0'
  description: Simple REST API to get cricket scores.
  termsOfService: YOU EXPRESSLY UNDERSTAND AND AGREE THAT YOUR USE OF THE SERVICE AND THE CONTENT IS AT YOUR SOLE RISK AND THAT THE SERVICE AND THE CONTENT ARE PROVIDED 'AS IS' AND 'AS AVAILABLE'.
  contact:
    name: Sakthi Priyan H
    url: 'http://sakthipriyan.com'
    email: email@example.com
  license:
    name: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
    url: 'http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/'
host: cricscore-api.appspot.com
basePath: /
schemes:
  - http
  - https
produces:
  - application/json

paths:
  /csa:
    get:
      summary: Get currently playing matches.
      parameters:
        - name: id
          in: query
          required: false
          description: Match Ids separated by + sign.
          type: string
        - name: If-Modified-Since
          in: header
          required: false
          description: Timestamp of the last response.
          type: string
      responses:
        default:
          description: 200 Ok response which contains list of currently playing matches when query parameter `id` is absent.
          schema:
            type: array
            items:
              $ref: '#/definitions/Match'
        200:
          description: Array of Score for requested Match Ids for which score has changed based on the If-Modified-Since header.
          headers:
            Last-Modified:
              type: string
              description: Should be used for subsequent requests as If-Modified-Since request header.
          schema:
            type: array
            items:
              $ref: '#/definitions/Score'
        500:
          description: Unexpected server error.

definitions:
  Match:
    type: object
    properties:
      id:
        type: integer
        description: Match Id.
      t1:
        type: string
        description: Name of the Team One
      t2:
        type: string
        description: Name of the Team Two
  Score:
    type: object
    properties:
      id:
        type: integer
        description: Match Id.
      de:
        type: string
        description: detailed description of the match.
      si:
        type: string
        description: simple description of the match.

Let's try it out online.

There is fantastic online swagger editor is available at http://editor.swagger.io/.
Also, Swagger Specification documentation is pretty good.
You can play around it.

Later

I will blog later on how to integrate Swagger into a Java project and auto generate the Swagger specification and additional documentation in html/pdf for offline distribution.

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About Author

Sakthi Priyan H
Passionate Programmer

  • Sakthi Priyan is passionate about building high quality reliable software.
  • He has vast experience in full stack web since 2006.
  • He primarily codes in Java, Scala and Python.
  • He currently works in backend API services and big data technologies.