Microsoft’s Azure API Management, which is used to publish APIs for use by developers inside and outside of organizations, now has preview support for the latest OpenAPI Specification v3 standards, giving developers more tools to build and share their needed APIs.
The preview support for the latest specification was announced by Mike Budzynski, program manager for Azure Integration Services, in a recent post on the Microsoft Azure Blog.
OpenAPI Specification v3 is the latest version of the broadly used open-source standard for describing APIs, wrote Budzynski. Implementation of this feature is based on the OpenAPI.NET Software Development Kit.
The OpenAPI Specification is backed so far by about 30 companies, including Microsoft, as a widely adopted industry standard for the creation of software APIs, he wrote. "[The] OpenAPI Specification lets you abstract your APIs from their implementation," making them portable and easy to adapt for other purposes.
The API definitions, which are language-agnostic, are easy to understand and are represented through YAML or JSON files to be readable by humans and machines, Budzynski explained.
"The wide adoption of OpenAPI Specification has resulted in an extensive tooling ecosystem," which allows developers to collaborate on API designs, automatically generate client SDKs and create server implementations in popular programming languages, he wrote.
APIs that are defined in an OpenAPI Specification file can be easily imported in Azure API Management, which is one of the benefits of using the specification. The Azure portal will automatically recognize the right version of the OpenAPI Specification files and they can then be imported as needed. APIs can also be imported using the REST API call, he wrote.
The Azure API Management tools can also be used to export APIs in the OpenAPI Specification v3 format. The API specifications can be downloaded from a developer portal as JSON or YAML files for use. Users can discover APIs, learn how to use them, try them out interactively and sign up to acquire API keys using the developer portal.
Developers can also choose to export the specifications through the visual interface of the Azure portal or a REST API call, if desired, Budzynski wrote.
To try the latest functionality in the new specifications, developers can import their APIs from OpenAPI Specification files now and take a test drive, he wrote. "Before the feature becomes generally available, we will implement export in a JSON format through a REST API call. In the coming months, we will also add OpenAPI Specification v3 import and export support in the PowerShell SDK."
The OpenAPI Specification is a community-driven open specification within the OpenAPI Initiative, which is a collaborative project of the open-source Linux Foundation. The OpenAPI Specification defines a standard, programming language-agnostic interface description for REST APIs, which allows both humans and computers to discover and understand the capabilities of a service without requiring access to source code, additional documentation or inspection of network traffic, according to the group.
Azure API Management provides the core competencies to ensure successful API creation through developer engagement, business insights, analytics, security and protection, according to Microsoft. It can be used to take any back end and launch a full-fledged API program based on it.