Today Restlet joined the Open API Initiative (OAI) as a founding member. Hosted by the Linux Foundation, this new initiative is an unique opportunity for the API community to unite around a common API language that will facilitate the integration among various API tools offered by both open source projects and commercial vendors. Being part of this effort is completely aligned with Restlet’s philosophy.
Since I started the Restlet Framework project 10 years ago, and later Restlet – the company – in its current incarnation, I have always believed in open source and open standards and most importantly in offering options to API developers when it comes to API design. We at Restlet started to promote REST as an alternative for distributed computing on the Web when it was barely known, brought our expertise to the Java Community Process for the creation of JAX-RS specification, and supported major API standards within both our open source framework and our cloud platform.
Within the Open API Initiative, our goal is to simplify the life of API developers and move API innovation to new fronts in order to learn more about API design. Restlet is also committed to supporting specifications from the OAI throughout our API platform.
When I look out over the current landscape of options for API developers, it makes sense that an initiative like this has been established. The popular Swagger specification contributed by SmartBear is a great starting point for this initiative and I’m hopeful that the innovative work of other specifications like API Blueprint and RAML can also be integrated into this initiative so that the opportunity for this tremendous API design market moves forward aggressively to reach its full potential for API developers.
In addition, there has been several key contributions around API metadata like API Commons and APIs.json that hopefully will also be embraced by the Open API Initiative. I encourage all of these players to join as well and will do my best to foster the truly open vision of OAI. The Linux Foundation provides us with the right collaboration framework.
Meanwhile, until this happens, we of course will continue to work with other specifications at Restlet on an equal level to any specifications from OAI and will continue to be agnostic, supporting API design languages such as API Blueprint, RAML, Swagger, and WADL.
I firmly believe that for any API specification technology to succeed, it most importantly needs to be adopted by developers due to its inherent design qualities, its openness, pragmatism and extensibility.
With the millions of developers now creating and using REST APIs, we need to advance API metadata specifications from their initial inception phase to a more mature and democratized era by making it easier to integrate between tools and extend them.
This is where you, the individual members of the communities, the developers creating and using APIs, come in. With the Open API Initiative, we have an opportunity to move RESTful API technology forward. We’ll only win if everyone contributes and leaves their mark on the specifications. Let’s get started!