The year is 2010. A year that included a devastating earthquake in Haiti, trapped Chilean miners, an Icelandic volcano grounding planes, and the first and hopefully last time any of us heard a Vuvuzela. Tony Tam, CTO of Wordnik, is attempting to produce the world’s largest online dictionary. To do so, he would bank heavily on APIs being the way of the future.
“This was part of an early bet where we said we should use APIs for everything”
For Tony Tam and his team at Wordnik to produce the world’s largest online dictionary they needed a new way to describe APIs. They needed a specification that was not only easy to use, but more importantly, machine-readable. Thus Swagger was born. In late 2010, Wordnik releases an open source project for Swagger 1.0, the first modern RESTful API specifications.
Adoption of Swagger starts slowly but really begins to make headlines in 2013. Tony Tam and the other founders of Wordnik create Reverb Technologies, a content discovery app focused on passive customization. That same year, MuleSoft and Apiary release their own competing specifications: RAML and API Blueprint. The ensuing competition for adoption resembled something along the lines of HD DVD versus BlueRay or Laserdisk versus VHS. By the time Reverb Technologies releases Swagger 2.0 in 2014, they maintain a clear advantage in adoption rate worldwide.
“Swagger has been the clear leader of the API description format discussion for several years - its ecosystem and passionate community is unsurpassed in the fields.”
- Ole Lensmar, CTO at SmartBear
March 25th, 2015, SmartBear acquires Swagger Specification from Reverb technologies making it the owner of the two most widely used API Specifications: SoapUI and Swagger.
“Since first being released in 2011, Swagger has found broad adoption in start-ups, mid-size and enterprise companies alike - it has grown far beyond what we had envisioned. Now it’s time to take Swagger to the next level and we have chosen to partner with SmartBear because they have the API expertise and proven commitment to open source products like SoapUI. With SmartBear, Swagger will reach more developers, products and services, and make an even bigger impact on the API world.”
SmartBear donates the Swagger specification to the Linux Foundation. They name the new governing body the OpenAPI Initiative (OAI) and rename the specification OpenAPI Specification (OAS). The developer community at large adopts OAS as the de-facto-standard for describing RESTful APIs.
The future is looking bright for OAS. With the open sourcing of OAS and the Linux Foundation taking the helm, we have seen a rapid increase in overall development. Things to look out for in upcoming versions of OAS include:
Allowing the use of alternative schemas such as support for more recent versions of JSON Schema and other formats such as XSD Schema and Protobuf Schema.
Improvements and new features for the Security Scheme Object.
The future of extensions and the possibility of an extension registry.