OpenAPI spec hits critical mass, v3 lands

Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) have been widely embraced as a key means of engineering the mechanics of the new interconnected service-based cloud-centric components-rich software application development landscape.

What is an API?

As defined here previously, “APIs establish a vital communications bond between different software program elements and data streams. APIs define the route for a programmer to code a program (or program component) that will be capable of requesting services from an operating system (OS) or other application.”

So what’s new in API land?

The Open API Initiative (OAI), a Linux Foundation project created to advance API technology and its interoperability, has announced the 3.0.0 release of the OpenAPI Specification.

The OpenAPI Specification (OAS) v3 release comes after nearly two years of collaboration among API developers across multiple industries.

Who uses APIs?

We need to know which industries has the OAI focused on, right?

Because surely knowing this would give us some hint as to which types of application scenarios are experiencing the most connectivity needs in the new API… and these industries are:

  • Payments and banking,
  • Cloud computing,
  • Internet of Things,
  • Vendors building specific API solutions.

The OAI has sought to provide a common way to unify how an industry defines and describes APIs. The OpenAPI Specification defines the interfaces for RESTful APIs, describing resources and operations in a format that is easily discoverable and understandable by both machines and humans.

“The release of this third-generation format is a significant milestone for our community,” said Ole Lensmar, CTO, SmartBear Software and chair of the OAI Board. “The updates made are entirely user and usage driven and that plays a huge role in the success of the specification. One of the most powerful about this release is its ability to drive the full API lifecycle.”

Major improvements in the new version 3 release include support for describing callbacks, links to express relationships between operations, webhooks, enhanced examples, improved parameter descriptions and better multipart document handling.

Linux Foundation executive director Jim Zemlin claims that the OAI specification has now reached critical mass with nearly 4X growth in member companies over the past 18 months alone and increasing interest from governments, the healthcare and fintech sectors.

According to ProgrammableWeb, nearly 18,000 public APIs have been published since 2005, up nearly 1,000 in the past quarter of 2017 alone. 

Current members of the OAI include: 42Crunch, Adobe Systems, Inc., API Evangelist, Atlassian, CA Incorporated, Capital One, Cloud Elements, Finxact, LLC, Google, Inc., Hart Inc., IBM, Intento, Inc, ISA Research Group, Mashape Inc., Microsoft Corporation, MuleSoft, Oracle Apiary, Red Hat, RepreZen, Restlet, Inc., Salesforce, Samsung ARTIK Cloud, SmartBear Software, Software AG, StopLight and Tyk.