The API Registry API

We’ve found that many organizations are challenged by the increasing number of APIs that they make and use. APIs become harder to track, which can lead to duplication rather than reuse. Also, as APIs expand to cover an ever-broadening set of topics, they can proliferate different design styles, at times creating frustrating inefficiencies.

To address this, we’ve designed the Registry API, an experimental approach to organizing information about APIs. The Registry API allows teams to upload and share machine-readable descriptions of APIs that are in use and in development. These descriptions include API specifications in standard formats like OpenAPI, the Google API Discovery Service Format, and the Protocol Buffers Language.

An organized collection of API descriptions can be the foundation for a wide range of tools and services that make APIs better and easier to use.

  • Linters verify that APIs follow standard patterns
  • Documentation generators provide documentation in consistent, easy-to-read, accessible formats
  • Code generators produce API clients and server scaffolding
  • Searchable online catalogs make everything easier to find

But perhaps most importantly, bringing everything about APIs together into one place can accelerate the consistency of an API portfolio. With organization-wide visibility, many find they need less explicit governance even as their APIs become more standardized and easy to use.

The Registry API is a gRPC service that is formally described by Protocol Buffers and that closely follows the Google API Design Guidelines at aip.dev. The Registry API description is annotated to support gRPC HTTP/JSON transcoding, which allows it to be automatically published as a JSON REST API using a proxy. Proxies also enable gRPC web, which allows gRPC calls to be directly made from browser-based applications, and the project includes an experimental GraphQL interface.

We’ve released a reference implementation that can be run locally or deployed in a container with Google Cloud Run or other container-based services. It stores data using the Google Cloud Datastore API or a configurable relational interface layer that currently supports PostgreSQL and SQLite.

Following AIP-181, we’ve set the Registry API’s stability level as “alpha,” but our aim is to make it a stable base for API lifecycle applications. We’ve open-sourced our implementation to share progress and gather feedback. Please tell us about your experience if you use it.

By Tim Burks, Tech Lead – Apigee API Lifecycle and Governance

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