My Wish Has Been Granted: Swagger Driven API Visualizations From Ardoq

I'm a big fan of putting my ideas for new tools, services, and other stuff out on the Internet, for public consumption. My mother taught me how to manifest things in my life, and this is my digital version of her teachings. By putting my ideas out there, a) I don't actually feel compelled to do them b) someone else might think it is good idea and build it, and c) when someone does build it and they start looking to publicize, they will find you. c) happened today.

One idea that I put out there recently, that I really wanted to manifest, was a visualization layer for APIs using Swagger. My wish has been granted, and a startup called Ardoq, has done just that, developed a visualization layer using Swagger. As they were taking their new product public they came across my story, and pinged me this morning. I’m going to follow-up, with a link to the story, and get a full tour of the product, talk with the team, and better understand what they are up to.

Ardoc is an important next step for machine readable API definition conversation, adding another incentive for API providers to generate definitions for their APIs in API Blueprint, Swagger, and RAML. I really see three main phases of the evolution so far in this conversation, 1) when Wordnik introduce Swagger and Swagger UI, 2) with introduction of moving the conversation further upstream to API design, and now 3) more meaningful visualizations built on top of APIs and microservices.

Machine readable API definitions have done many significant things for the API conversation, allowing us to deploy interactive documentation, mock interfaces, ultimately giving us a common language that we can use to communicate around some very abstract concepts. I’m excited to see visualizations enter the discussion, which will allow us to build powerful visual tooling around APIs, like being able to map the scope of a microservice, or provide a map for a whole stack of microservices.

I think visualizations generated for machine readable API definition is just the beginning of a whole new world of UI elements developed on top of APIs, and we will also see more analysis, interoperability, integration, and discovery tools emerge as well. API Blueprint, RAML, and Swagger will continue to evolve as a central truth throughout the API lifecycle, providing as set of instructions for everything from design and deployment, to management and integration.