Scot Hastings, CIO of Bonotel Exclusive Travel, manages an internal IT team of 11 software developers, as well as a team of 75 external development resources. The internal team built and continues to maintain a complex distributed network that relies on a mix of legacy and modern, native cloud components supported by a microservice based architecture. These combined technologies drive the applications that enable Bonotel to provide travel services to its customers.
In such a distributed infrastructure, there are a lot of APIs integrating various components together. Bonotel uses the Swagger (OpenAPI) specification to define these different services. At the beginning of their Swagger journey, the teams utilized the open source Swagger tooling for designing, building and documenting RESTful APIs. But they soon faced challenges when it came time to scale their API development across their internal and external teams.
Given the breadth of their API development, with so many stakeholders working in their API programs, it was getting increasingly difficult to manage all their API assets centrally. The lack of an easy way for stakeholders to quickly access the right APIs at the right time, while collaborating without confusion on new API definitions, affected their overall API delivery speed. At one point, Hastings and his team even contemplated building a custom component that would visualize their API definitions stored in their version control systems, so that Bonotel’s internal and external can access them centrally.
“As we advanced further into the project, we realized we needed to speed up the process and make it more efficient,” Hastings points out. “We wanted to auto-generate the user interface and facilitate collaboration among our internal and external teams without hassles or communication issues.”
Another key function Hastings hoped to improve upon was the ability to track different API versions. It was getting increasingly difficult for the teams to keep track of all the updates to an API across different versions.
“All of our APIs are private, and we use fine-grained access control to open up our APIs so our partners can view them,” Hastings explains. “We also create user accounts for our partners through which we can give them editing privileges when appropriate. With so many people handling APIs, we need to track the different versions closely.”
Switching to SwaggerHub from the Open Source Swagger tools
After using the open source version of Swagger for a few months, Hastings began to look for the more robust solution his team needed. One of the Bonotel partners familiar with the Swagger technology recommended SwaggerHub. SwaggerHub is an integrated API design and documentation platform from SmartBear Software, built by the team behind Swagger.
After evaluating the platform, Bonotel quickly identified SwaggerHub as a critical tool for their API development workflow. For Bonotel, SwaggerHub provided the central platform for their API design, documentation, and development needs between internal developers and external stakeholders. The fact that SwaggerHub was tailormade for API development in the Swagger (OpenAPI) Specification allowed Scott and his team to easily transition their API design and development into SwaggerHub.
“We used the open source Swagger tool chain in the past, but since SwaggerHub was built around the core Swagger technology, it was easy to adopt the platform with limited overhead on our side,” Hasting points out.
The ability to seamlessly discover existing APIs, or work on new APIs, enabled Bonotel’s development teams to drive consistency and discipline across their API workflow.
“After reviewing the tool internally and seeing how SwaggerHub enhances the basic open source Swagger capabilities already ingrained into our development lifecycle, we realized right away that the solution would meet our needs,” Hastings says. “SwaggerHub works quite well, and we did not consider any other alternatives.”
Transforming how Bonotel delivers APIs with Swagger
As a tooling framework for creating APIs, SwaggerHub gives Bonotel a centralized platform for designing and documenting APIs. Centralized API development, supported by fine-grained and secure access control allows Bonotel to confidently open up the platform to external partners to drive their strategic objectives.
One noticeable change Scott observed was how streamlined collaboration became using SwaggerHub. Even communication between various teams was noticeable better. SwaggerHub Comments allowed Bonotel’s internal and external teams to not just communicate with each other in real time on important ideas or suggestions, but also track open issues that need to be addressed in their API design and documentation.
“SwaggerHub drastically improves communication on API development between our internal team and external partners,” Hastings emphasizes. “This is key because we don’t do a lot of API development internally — most of the work is done through our partners, who also work with each other. SwaggerHub acts as a centralized host for collaboration among all moving parts and makes the process very efficient, intuitive, and seamless.”
Reducing confusion in their API development
Bonotel’s internal development and QA teams, as well as external partners use SwaggerHub to collaborate effectively and work together as a unit. The SwaggerHub solution didn’t just save them a lot of time in their API development, it removed the confusion and loss in efficiency when it comes to collaboration, and abstracted the infrastructural considerations that would have otherwise been associated with hosting the API documentation with the right access control.
SwaggerHub also allowed Bonotel to keep track of new changes and updates to their APIs. The SwaggerHub versioning mechanism, supported by the visual compare and merge feature, made sure Scott and his teams knew exactly which API was updated, and what changes were added to the updated API.
With SwaggerHub now serving as the key collaboration tool between the internal team and the external developers, Hastings and his team can now follow an API-First approach to development. “This makes things a lot cleaner,” Hastings adds. “We can combine the design and documentation of APIs with collaboration in a centralized, secure hosted environment.”
“By giving us the ability to design and develop RESTful APIs faster, we can go to market with new services and service updates sooner,” Hastings says. “That makes SwaggerHub a key cog in our software development lifecycle.”
Change the way your team works together to design and document great APIs
For Bonotel, the benefits of making the switch to SwaggerHub have been clear. These benefits, include:
- Bringing RESTful API design and documentation together for collaborative development
- Allowing teams to work seamlessly together without any confusion
- Enabling easy communication between various stakeholders using SwaggerHub Comments
- Facilitating versioning to easily add new updates to existing APIs
- Increasing the speed of going to market with new APIs and services
Change the way your team works together to design and document APIs. Try SwaggerHub for free today!