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Posts from January 2021

The API Registry API

Friday, January 8, 2021

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

Season of Docs announces results of 2020 program

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Season of Docs has announced the 2020 program results for standard-length projects. You can view a list of successfully completed technical writing projects on the website along with their final project reports.

Seasons of docs graphic
During the program, technical writers spend a few months working closely with an open source community. They bring their technical writing expertise to improve the project's documentation while the open source projects provided mentors to introduce the technical writers to open source tools, workflows, and the project's technology.

For standard-length technical writing projects in Season of Docs, the doc development phase is September 14, 2020 – November 30, 2020. However, some technical writers may apply for a long-running project. The technical writer makes this decision under consultation with the open source organization, based on the expectations for their project. For a long-running project, the doc development phase is September 14, 2020 – March 1, 2021.

64 technical writers successfully completed their standard-length technical writing projects. There are 18 long-running projects in progress that are expected to finish in March.
  • 80% of the mentors had a positive experience and want to mentor again in future Season of Docs cycles
  • 96% of the technical writers had a positive experience
  • 96% plan to continue contributing to open source projects
  • 94% of the technical writers said that Season of Docs helped improved their knowledge of code and/or open source
Take a look at the list of successful projects to see the wide range of subjects covered!

What is next?

The long-running projects are still in progress and finish in March 2021. Technical writers participating in these long-running projects submit their project reports before March 8th, and the writer and mentor evaluations are due by March 12th. Successfully completed long-running technical writing projects will be published on the results page on March 15, 2021.

If you were excited about participating, please do write social media posts. See the promotion and press page for images and other promotional materials you can include, and be sure to use the tag #SeasonOfDocs when promoting your project on social media. To include the tech writing and open source communities, add #WriteTheDocs, #techcomm, #TechnicalWriting, and #OpenSource to your posts.

Stay tuned for information about Season of Docs 2021—watch for posts in this blog and sign up for the announcements email list.

By Kassandra Dhillon and Erin McKean, Google Open Source Programs Office

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