The OpenAPI Community

I am taking a moment to recalibrate my chess board for the OpenAPI community, and there is no better way for me to accomplish this than to write a story here on the blog. I have several folks I am working with to help move the OAS conversation forward as part of official OAI efforts, but also as part of Postman Open Technologies, and having a map of the landscape loaded up into my head and easily referenced as part of conversations helps me move things forward.

As of November 22nd, 2021, here are all the moving parts of the OpenAPI discussion for me, organized as a simple narrative focused on moving the community forward:

Learning

I do not want to assume everyone knows what OpenAPI is, and here are the links you should tune into if you are looking to learn more about this important API specification:

These are the basics of where you can learn about what OpenAPI is, and how you can put it to work, then stay in tune with the community via stories on the blog and conversations on Twitter.

Contribute

If you are wanting to do more than just learn what is happening I recommend using these resources to quickly understand what is happening and get more involved at the technical level.

You can find everything you need to keep up speed on what is happening with the spec from a technical point of view using these links, and contribute to the conversation and overall road map.

Meetings

There are two core meeting that you can tune into to get a handle on the technical or the business side of the OpenAPI community.

You don't have to be a member to join into these conversations and I highly recommend you look at joining the discussion, even it if is just about listening and learning.

Special Interest Groups

In addition to working on the core spec you can get involved in one of the latest special interest groups (SIG) that have emerged this year, moving forward extensions of the spec and how it is used in a variety of sectors.

  • Security - Focusing specifically on security.
  • Overlays - Adding an overlay to the spec.
  • Workflows - Defining how we daisy chain requests.
  • SLA - Applying service level agreements to the spec.
  • Travel - How the spec is used in travel industry.
  • Finance - How the semi is used in the finance industry.

These groups provide additional ways in which we can move the OpenAPI specification forward by better defining extensions, and being more organized around how the specification is applied within a specific industry.

Projects

There are a number of projects being moved forward within the OpenAPI community, working to provide a way we can collectively move projects forward through paid contractors and volunteer work.

Membership

We have two projects to help move drive new members and ensure that the OAI is best serving it’s membership, helping grow the community.

  • Member Showcase & Engagement - Continually improving how we showcase and engage with the members of the OAI, and increase their participation within the OAS community.
  • New Member Identification & Engagement - Work to identify potential new members to the OAI and reach out to them to help start a conversation and make them aware of the benefits of being a member.

Membership is essential to the OAI continuing to meet it’s mission, and you can check out the existing members on the website, and please consider joining to help support this important work.

Providers & Tooling

The OAI avoids showcasing specific API service providers, but identifying, profiling, and engaging with API Providers and open source tooling provides is an important part of this community.

  • Profile and Engage with Open Source Tooling - Establish an official directory of open source tooling that uses OAS, and actively work to establish and build relationships with each tooling provider to get them more involved in the community.
  • Profile & Engage with API Providers - Work to identify, profile, and build relationships with API providers who have implemented the OpenAPI specification, and publish profile to a central database.
  • Extension Directory - Discovery, profile, and publish OAS extensions to a central catalog providing a single place where people can go to find and learn about extensions.

API producers adopting OAS, and showcasing their usage is an important part of how the community works. Open Source tooling is also a critical ingredient in how the specification is making an impact across the providers. I believe strongly that extensions are key to understanding the road map for the specification beyond the core meetings.

Marketing

There are many ways in which we are trying to help amplify what is happening within the OAS community, and these are a few of the projects that exist to help drive things forward.

  • Stories - A public repository, issues, and discussion designed to help generate more stories, authors, and for into showcasing the interesting things occurring in the community.
  • Quantify the Scope of the OpenAPI Community - Work to establish the size and scope of the OpenAPI community and then track on the growth over time.
  • Curate and Publish API Articles, Podcasts, Videos - Work to discover, curate, and then showcase and syndicate the existing articles, podcasts, and videos that exist about OpenAPI.
  • OpenAPI Search Engine Optimization - This is ongoing work to help improve the search engine optimization for the OAI and OAS, helping increase its presence.
  • Pitch Deck - Move forward the work around a formal pitch deck to represent what OpenAPI is to individual onboarding with the spec or the OAI as an organization.

The marketing committee leads the discussion around marketing activities, and there are many other marketing projects and stories emerging out of SIGs, the TDC, and other parts, but these reflect some core areas we are investing in marketing.

Always More Work to Do

There is always more work to be done, but I feel that this overview provides a healthy snapshot of where things are within the OpenAPI community. There are other projects with AsyncAPI, JSON Schema, and around automated OpenAPI discovery I’d like to see happen alongside all of this, but for the purposes of this post, and the conversations I am having today, this reflects my priorities in this moment. I have put a lot of thought into the marketing engine represented across all of these project areas, and if done well, we have the opportunity to not just showcase the existing things happening within the OpenAPI community, but help grow and expand the community.

I have just on-boarded three contractors who I am dubbing "the OAI Community Advocates" to help on some of this work, but the OAI desperately needs folks to step up in all of the areas represented above. If you are more technical feel free to jump in with one of the SIGs or help drive the TDC conversation. If you aren’t technical, we’d love to et you involved in any of the marketing activities listed above. Really, there is something for everyone represented above, so if you have the time, we’d love to have you dive in and help wherever you can. Feel free to email me if you have any questions, jump in on Github, or join the OAI Slack channel. The community is really interested in getting new folks involved and helping out, working to showcase the great stuff occurring across the space, and we need your help to do that!