Introducing the Open API Initiative!

  November 05, 2015

I'm thrilled to announce the next chapter in the journey of Swagger. Today we are announcing a partnership with some of the biggest names in the API space to create an open governance model around the Swagger Specification under the Linux Foundation. This secures Swagger as the basis for describing REST APIs, and will help it's adoption accelerate faster than ever.

Why does this matter? As more consumers, service providers and tooling vendors converge on how to describe REST APIs, life gets better. As a consumer of APIs, you have a standardized way of interacting with APIs. As a service provider, it's easier for customers to switch to use your services. And as a tooling vendor, you can focus your efforts on making the best possible tools rather than dealing with compatibility issues. Think of the early days of the web--wasn't it painful when a site would only work with certain browsers? REST API descriptions aren't much different. The value provided comes from the experience and the service rather than how they are described. Swagger helps immensely with this process.

Swagger started life as a side project at Reverb, fka Wordnik. As we worked to solve our API needs, the idea of Swagger was born, bringing what we felt to be the "good parts" of REST, SOAP, Web Services and RPC into a simple, easy to understand format. From that idea, a wide range of tools have emerged--from user interfaces to code generators to directory services. Swagger has filled an important need, and most importantly, at the right time. The community that has grown up around Swagger is tremendous to both observe and interact with.

Fast forward 4+ years, and Swagger tools are downloaded close to 15,000 times per day. There are almost 2000 known open-source repositories for Swagger tools and it has first-class support across all major API management platforms. There are tens-of-thousands of developers working with Swagger directly, and this growth will only accelerate with the OAI.  Even with big players involved, Swagger won't suffer from the CORBA problem, ever.  It's community-driven origins and direction are well set now.

Moving into an open governance structure is the next logical step for Swagger. As companies like IBM have made major investments in Swagger (check out Watson's Swagger interface, for example! ) it makes sense to bring more leaders to the table to help shape the next stage of growth for Swagger. Similar to the node.js Foundation ( different companies want to both contribute to the ecosystem as well as help guide it. Working with a select group of forward-looking companies, Swagger's parent SmartBear Software has organized the Open API Initiative under the Linux Foundation, and is donating the Swagger Specification to the group. From here, the OAI group will help evolve the specification in an open and collaborative fashion, adhering to a short but important set of core values. Open, Collaborative, contribution-driven, pragmatic, extendable, stable and neutral.

In driving the Swagger Specification forward, the OAI has a large and important role in making APIs easier and more effective across the board. SmartBear will continue to foster and grow the community around Swagger forward and always make core tooling free and open source.  Our founding partners include Google, Microsoft, IBM as well as 3Scale,  Apigee, CapitalOne, Intuit, PayPal, and Restlet.

As the OAI will focus solely on the Specification, the universe of tooling that depends on it will grow exponentially.  See the OAI site at and if you want to get involved in the future of API connectivity, get involved!