API Management & Swagger vs RAML vs API Blueprint vs LoopBack

API management is the process of overseeing application programming  interfaces (APIs) in a secure, scalable environment. The goal of API management is to allow organizations that either publish or utilize an API to monitor the interface’s lifecycle and ensure the needs of developers and applications using the API are being met.

API management needs may differ from organization to organization, but API management itself encompasses some basic functions, including security, monitoring and version control.

API management has become increasingly important due to business’s growing dependency on APIs, a significant rise in the number of APIs they depend on and the administrative complexities APIs introduce. The requirements and process of building and managing APIs is different than most other applications. In order to be utilized properly, APIs require strong documentation, increased levels of security, comprehensive testing, routine versioning and high reliability. Because these requirements often go beyond the scope of the software-based projects organizations typically run, the use of API management software has become popular.

API management software and tooling

API management software is built with the intention of making API design, deployment and maintenance easier and more efficient. Although each individual API management tool has its own unique set of features, most of them include essential features like documentation tools, security, sandbox environments, high availability and backward compatibility.

API management software tools typically provide the following functions:

  1. Automate and control connections between an API and the applications that use it.
  2. Ensure consistency between multiple API implementations and versions.
  3. Monitor traffic from individual apps.
  4. Provide memory management and caching mechanisms to improve application performance.
  5. Protect the API from misuse by wrapping it in security procedures and policies.

API management software can be built in-house or purchased as a service through a third-party provider. The open API movement, spearheaded by big-name companies like Facebook, Google and Twitter, led to significantly reduced API dependency upon conventional service-oriented architecture (SOA) in favor of more lightweight JSON and REST services. Some API management tools are capable of converting existing SOAP, JMS or MQ interfaces into RESTful APIs or JSON content.

api management benefits

Swagger vs RAML vs API Blueprint vs LoopBack

 

there can only be one

 

Swagger RAML API Blueprint LoopBack
Description It defines a standard, language-agnostic interface to REST APIs which allows both humans and computers to discover and understand the capabilities of the service without access to source code, documentation, or through network traffic inspection via Open API Specification(OAS) RESTful API Modeling Language (RAML) is a YAML based language which makes it easy to manage the whole API lifecycle from design to sharing. It’s concise – you only write what you need to define – and reusable. It is machine readable API design that is actually human friendly. A powerful high-level API description language for web APIs. Its syntax is concise yet expressive. With API Blueprint you can quickly design and prototype APIs to be created or document and test already deployed mission-critical APIs.

 

It is an open source Node.js API framework from StrongLoop. It is built on top of Express optimized for mobile, web, and other devices.

 

Pros Supports API first design

 

Open Source

 

Can execute api calls from the documentation

 

Free to use

Customizable

Mature, clean spec

 

Easy to implement in .Net

 

Coverage

Vibrant and active community

 

Scaffolding

 

API Visualization

 

Now Supports OAS contracts

 

API first design

 

Follows API Specification

 

Human Readable

 

API Documentation

 

Design Patterns & Code Reuse

 

Unit Testing

 

API Modeling

 

Automatic Generation of Mule flow

 

API Mocking

 

SDK Generation

Simple, easy to use, more artistic site
Cons Requires multiple specifications for some tools, including dev and QA

Doesn’t allow for code reuse, includes, or extensions

Lacks strong developer tools

Requires schemas for all responses

No Hypermedia support.

Lacks strong documentation and tutorials outside of specification

Limited code reuse/extensions

Multiple specifications required for several tools, including dev and QA

Poor tooling support for newer versions

 

NodeJS specific Only

 

References:

https://searchmicroservices.techtarget.com/definition/API-management

https://medium.com/@clsource/swagger-vs-raml-vs-api-blueprint-daccab31f0f2

https://blog.vsoftconsulting.com/blog/is-raml-or-swagger-better-for-building-apis

https://swagger.io/blog/news/mulesoft-joins-the-openapi-initiative/

https://strongloop.com/strongblog/enterprise-api-swagger-2-0-loopback/

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