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API Studio: A New Tool for Designing, Mocking, and Sharing APIs, in Public Beta Now

May 20, 2015

We’re very excited to introduce API Studio, now available at http://apistudio.io in public beta. API Studio is a free online tool for designing, mocking, and sharing APIs using the popular Swagger API description format.

apistudio.ioWe built API Studio using open source projects we’ve contributed to the developer community, including: swagger-node, which grew out of the Apigee-127 Node.js API framework; the Swagger Editor; and the Usergrid Backend-as-a-Service. Swagger is the common thread that pulls it all together.

Well-designed APIs are the basis of a successful API program.  An API that a developer can quickly learn and easily use requires careful crafting and rich documentation. Unfortunately, API design and documentation is still as much an art as it is a science. Technologies like Swagger can be used to help the API design process by providing a standard way to describe an API and to generate documentation with it. 

What's necessary are tools that can make using these technologies an easy and collaborative process.  API Studio helps you easily and collaboratively create the well-designed APIs that every successful API program needs.

Starting with Swagger

API Studio uses Swagger for composing and documenting your APIs. Swagger is the most popular API definition format, and it is used by countless API developers to document and publish their APIs for other developers to use. It’s supported by numerous open source projects and commercial tools and there’s a thriving open source community dedicated to supporting it.

Apigee was a founding member of the Swagger Working Group, and we use Swagger as a key component of our API trainings and community events that teach API design and help people build APIs in Node.js. As we’ve done this, we’ve seen that people often needed help getting started with Swagger, and we saw an opportunity to make the process much easier. We quickly identified three key things we needed:

  1. Make it easy to get started with Swagger and follow along with a tutorial or video without having to install any software.
  2. Try out the API in the cloud without having to write any code or to upload anything to Heroku or AWS.
  3. Easily share API designs with others.

Design, edit, try, and share your APIs

After looking at a lot of different options, we realized we had all the basic ingredients we needed to build our own solution as part of the various open source projects we’ve been working on. Like all great development projects, what seemed like it would be a fun weekend hack quickly turned into several months of hard work with more than a few very late nights, but the end result is API Studio. What started out as a great idea for a learning aid turned into a useful tool for API development.

We’ve kept API Studio simple and useful. There are four things you can do with it today:

  • Easily design and edit your API in the Swagger Editor, which features autocomplete, syntax-highlighting, and error-checking. As you define your API, beautifully formatted API documentation is displayed. This makes it easy to see what your API will look like to others as you compose it and lets you make sure it’s quick and easy for people to use your APIs.

  • Try out your APIs before you've even started to code them with a built-in mock API server that powers live, cloud-hosted simulated API endpoints that can be called from client apps. The mocked endpoints update as you edit your specification, so you can try out your mocked APIs right away or begin developing your client apps in parallel with your server development.

  • Share your APIs easily with your teammates. We took a cue from popular online developer tools like JSFiddle and Httpbin and then made it possible to share your APIs as easy as sharing a bookmark.

  • At any time, move from designing your APIs to developing them in Node by downloading a complete swagger-node project. This allows you to continue to iterate on your API design in parallel with developing the backend!

There's more to come

Keep in mind, this is just the first beta release, and there’s still lots of stuff we need to add, but we think you’ll find it pretty useful and we want to hear your feedback as you try it out. We’ll release new capabilities iteratively in the coming weeks and months.

The Swagger codegen tools will soon be available directly from within the editor, so you can download SDKs for your APIs. You’ll also soon have more sharing controls that give you the ability to publish “final” read-only versions of your API as well as let you create private API specifications that are only visible to the people you specifically designate. We’ll keep you updated here and on Twitter as we push these features out.

We’ve had a lot of fun building API Studio, and we hope you have as much fun using it!

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