The API Designer is a cloud-based tool that makes it much easier to create RESTful APIs for Iguana.

The API Designer provides a GUI that allows the user to build up and edit a formal grammar description of an API. In the backend this formal grammar description is stored in a JSON format. The Designer is to APIs what Chameleon is to HL7 grammars.

You can find the API designer here: https://designer.interfaceware.com/

Overview [top]

The API designer was created to make it easier for our customers to build new RESTful APIs from scratch, and to leverage existing APIs from within Iguana.

The API designer also supports FHIR, see the shared FHIR API that we created.

What is it for?

The JSON grammar definition of a RESTful API created by the API Designer can be used to:

  • Build a RESTful web API using the Iguana Translator
  • Build an adapter to an existing RESTful web based API

Who is it for?

Anyone wanting to create a RESTful API, you will need some knowledge of:

  • What web services are
  • Concepts like HTTP, JSON and RESTful APIs

Why is helpful?

The API Designer, together with our API framework, greatly reduces the time and effort to create or document an API. It is much more productive than alternative technology choices — definitely much easier than hand-coding an API without a formal grammar definition.

Three Scenarios [top]

There are three scenarios for using the API Designer:

  1. API Server and Client: Generate both the Server and Client using the Designer:

    If you are designing a new API then you can save a lot of time by using the API Designer.

  2. Standalone API Server: Generate only the Server and use REST calls from a third party tool:

    When you are designing a new API and you want to call it from a third party tool (not Iguana).

  3. Standalone API Client: Generate only the Client that makes calls to a third party RESTful API:

    If you are already using an existing RESTful API Server and need to create an Iguana Client.

Other Benefits [top]

By using the formal grammar definition of an API provided by the API designer, it becomes easier to achieve the following:

  1. Good documentation: Many companies have trouble keeping documentation for their APIs up to date with the actual functionality.
  2. Consistency: Because most web APIs are programmed by hand by different developers over time many APIs get to be inconsistent in the language and conventions they use.
  3. Error Handling: A good quality API checks its inputs, and returns helpful error messages when a software client makes a mistake in how it is calling the API.
  4. Ease of use: It should be simple to call the API without requiring specialized tools to invoke the API. RESTful interfaces have become more popular than older SOAP based interfaces because they do not require special libraries to invoke them.
  5. Modern JSON based: Today’s modern developers expect APIs to use JSON – this is the easiest most widely adopted standard data format.

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