Important concepts

Before we proceed further, we wanted to share some vocabulary to clarify what we are talking about throughout this documentation. The terminology used here aims to be as accurate as possible, but you may encounter different terms elsewhere. We have chosen to use the most common and meaningful terms.

API definition #

An API definition is the representation of an API written in compliance with an existing specification. It is sometimes referred to as an API schema, API contract, or even API specification (which is something different).

As of today, supports the following specifications: OpenAPI (Swagger), and AsyncAPI.

We provide a detailed introduction to API definitions through this guide.

API contract #

An API contract represents the use of an API definition when it defines an agreement, a contract between API developers, its consumers, how it is used, and the tools that surround it.

API document #

An API document refers to the file containing an API definition.

Specification #

Specifications are the official standards that define a format for describing an API, such as OpenAPI or AsyncAPI. These standards outline a set of elements and rules to follow when writing an API definition.

To learn more about the supported specifications, we have written dedicated guides on OpenAPI and AsyncAPI.

Deployment #

A deployment is the processing of an API document by after the upload, it validates the definition against its specification, analyses its content and prepares the release.

Release #

The step following a successful deploy. During the release, the documentation is updated, the changelog reflects the related changes, and notifications, if configured, are sent out. The release step can be automatic, or manual.

API change #

An API change refers to a change in the structure of an API. After the release of an API definition, it is represented by a new entry in the API changelog.

Breaking change #

Breaking changes are the ones your API consumers should not miss and are highlighted in the changelog. Here is a non-exhaustive list of criteria that help us determine if a change is breaking or not:

Changelog #

After each deployment, updates the documentation’s changelog, listing all API changes between the current deployment and the previous one. If the “Track all changes” option is enabled, the changelog will also display changes in the documentation.