Demand Generation for the OpenAPI Specification

07-14-2020

I am making my rounds with folks in the API community talking about the next generation of the OpenAPI specification, getting people to move beyond Swagger 2.0, tooling and service providers to adopt more of the spec, and generate more demand for the specification and the work going on around it. Demand generation is such a business term to describe what I envision, but it is a word that people in the sector get, and neatly sums up what we need to do, so to hell with it. The OpenAPI spec has continued to evolve and grow, but things have clearly plateaued when it comes to the narrative coming out of the OAI, and from people doing interesting things with the specification in the API space. There is lots of activity, but there isn’t a clear overarching narrative about what is OpenAPI, why OpenAPI, and the tooling and service enablement that is occurring around it. I am looking to change this, gather ideas, turn up the volume, and get more people working with OpenAPI 3.1, and investing in the future of the spec.

To help drive the demand generation discussion around OpenAPI I am going to be holding a recurring weekly demand generation discussion right after the regular OAI marketing meeting—here are the details if you want to join in the conversation.

While the meeting is associated with the OAI you do not have to be a member to participate. We are looking to gather ideas from the community about what we should be doing to generate more demand for the OpenAPI specification. I have been gathering ideas from one on one discussions with folks, so if you have any ideas and won’t be able to join in, feel free to email me or schedule some time to talk. We are gathering all ideas from the OAI membership and the wider OpenAPI community then working to see which ones we can move forward. If you have any opinions on what is going on with the state of the OpenAPI spec, or the services and tooling that emerges around it, now is your time to get those opinions heard.

I have a number of ideas swirling around in my head, so I wanted to scribble a few of them down in preparation. To help drive awareness, adoption, and growth, I am thinking we should focus in some of the following areas:

  • Propaganda Posters - I would like to see a series of old time propaganda posters focused on the OpenAPI community, helping people see the big picture, and understand the importance of working together around the spec. Let’s make these posters collectors items.
  • Education - This is already in motion within the OAI, but I’d like to discuss how the community contributes to a wider OpenAPI edu effort, and how does the OAI incentive participation and include the community as part of the effort to get many voices involved in EDU.
  • Certifications - As part of the OpenAPI education efforts I’d like to discus the possibilities of certifications, and how we can validate what people know about the spec, and begin certifying developers with the spec, but also for services and tooling that uses all or part of the spec.
  • Open Tooling - How do we support existing OpenAPI tooling catalogs from Phil, Mike, and natively as part of OpenAPI? How do we continue to showcase, invest in, and amplify the tooling that exists across the space to increase demand for the spec.
  • Certified Services - Can we do a roundup of the existing tools that support OpenAPI, define how much of the spec they support and documentation showcase them? How do we do this with 2.0 providers and encourage them to invest into 3.0?
  • Storytelling Network - How do we establish a network of sites for publishing OpenAPI related stories, and how do we get more practitioners to tell stories about what they are doing and help them get more attention when they do.

I am going to start there. I know other people have already added their thoughts to an internal spreadsheet for demand generation within the OAI. I will take a look at these ideas, and then augment with my own. If you have any ideas for what you’d like to see when it comes to beating the drum louder about OpenAPI and the services and tooling that support it, let me know.  I know that the community is doing interesting things, and that there are many ideas floating around regarding what the OAI could / should do to stimulate the community—we just need to figure out how to get it onto a list of projects we are collectively moving forward as a community, and work to get the OAI blessing.

OpenAPI is the clear leader when it comes to defining what is possible with our HTTP 1.1 web APIs. The tooling and service support for 2.0 demonstrates the potential, and the evolution in support for 3.0 continues to highlight the importance of services and tooling embracing the spec. We just have to figure out how to get the community moving forward in concert when it comes to moving our APIs forward across the API lifecycle. I am not looking for huge amounts of time from you, just for those of you who are already doing interesting things to step up and share your thoughts. I am pretty convinced that once we get others knowing about what you are up to, or the ideas you have about growing the community, that others will step up to help beat the drum and tell stories too. Anyways, ping me directly with ideas, or tune in each Friday to the discussion, and make your voice heard. I look forward to seeing you all there.