Introducing GitHub’s OpenAPI Description

Image of Marc-Andre Giroux

The GitHub REST API has been through three major revisions since it was first released, only a month after the site was launched. We often receive feedback that our REST API is an inspiration to many for design, and that it’s an industry reference for what an API should look like. Today, we’re excited to announce an improvement to how developers can interact with the API. GitHub has open sourced an OpenAPI description of the REST API.

OpenAPI

The OpenAPI specification is a programming language agnostic standard that lets providers describe the interface of their HTTP APIs. This allows both humans and machines to discover the capabilities of an API without needing to first read documentation or understand the implementation. OpenAPI is a widely adopted industry standard and GitHub is proud to be part of the community and help push the standard forward.

Try it Out

The GitHub OpenAPI description contains more than 600 operations exposed in our API. For visual exploration of the API, you can load the description as a Postman Collection. Programmatically, the description can be used to generate mock servers, test suites, and bindings for languages not supported by Octokit.

The description is provided under two formats. The bundled version is preferred for most use cases as it makes use of OpenAPI components for reuse and readability. For tooling that has poor support for inline references to components, we also provide a fully dereferenced version.

Active Development

The description is currently in beta. Describing a 12-year-old API is no easy task. We’ve built this description using a mix of existing JSON schemas, documented examples, contract testing, and love. We expect to make the description even more complete and accurate as we go forward and as OpenAPI becomes central to our developer experience — internally and externally.

Quarterly releases of the description are available for GitHub Enterprise Server and GitHub Private Instances, with versions like v2.21. More frequent updates to the description will be available for GitHub.com.

How Can I Contribute?

We’re always looking to make our OpenAPI description more complete and accurate as well as making it easier to consume. If you’d like to help contribute to the description, check out our contributing guide. If something is not working for you, please file an Issue on the repository.

Building a complete OpenAPI description for the GitHub API was no easy task and could not have been possible without a great team. Thanks to Gregor Martynus for his initial work on describing the API, the Docs Engineering team for their amazing work around OpenAPI and documentation, Will Roden for his help validating the description with octo-go, as well as the folks at Redoc.ly who helped along the way.

Learn more about our REST API OpenAPI Description

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