Adds API specification support to Spring REST Docs
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Spring REST Docs API specification Integration

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This is an extension that adds API specifications as an output format to Spring REST Docs. It currently supports:

We plan to add support for:


Spring REST Docs is a great tool to produce documentation for your RESTful services that is accurate and readable.

We especially like its test-driven approach and this is the main reason why we chose it.

It offers support for AsciiDoc and Markdown. This is great for generating simple HTML-based documentation. But both are markup languages and thus it is hard to get any further than statically generated HTML.

API specifications like OpenAPI are a lot more flexible. With e.g. OpenAPI you get a machine-readable description of your API. There is a rich ecosystem around it that contains tools to:

  • generate a HTML representation of your API - ReDoc
  • generate an interactive API reference - e.g. using services like or

Also, API specifications like OpenAPI are supported by many REST clients like Postman and Paw. Thus having an API specification for a REST API is a great plus when starting to work with it.

The most common use case to generate an OpenAPI specification is code introspection and adding documentation related annotations to your code. We do not like enriching our production code with this information and clutter it with even more annotations. We agree with Spring REST Docs that the test-driven way to produce accurate API documentation is the way to go. This is why we came up with this project.

Getting started

Project structure

The project consists of two components:

  • restdocs-api-spec - contains the actual Spring REST Docs extension. This is most importantly the ResourceDocumentation which is the entrypoint to use the extension in your tests. The ResourceSnippet is the snippet used to produce a json file resource.json containing all the details about the documented resource.
  • restdocs-api-spec-gradle-plugin - adds a gradle plugin that aggregates the resource.json files produced by ResourceSnippet into an API specification file for the whole project.

Build configuration


buildscript {
    repositories {
        jcenter() //1
        maven { url = uri("") } //1
    dependencies {
        classpath("com.epages:restdocs-api-spec-gradle-plugin:0.5.0") //2
apply plugin: 'com.epages.restdocs-api-spec' //3

repositories { //4


dependencies {
    testCompile('com.epages:restdocs-api-spec:0.5.0') //5

openapi { //6
    host = 'localhost:8080'
    basePath = '/api'
    title = 'My API'
    version = '1.0.0'
    format = 'json'

openapi3 {
	server = 'https://localhost:8080'
	title = 'My API'
	version = '0.1.0'
	format = 'yaml'
  1. add jcenter and jitpack repositories to buildscript. The first is used to resolve the restdocs-api-spec-gradle-plugin, the latter is needed for a dependency of the project.
  2. add the dependency to restdocs-api-spec-gradle-plugin
  3. apply restdocs-api-spec-gradle-plugin
  4. add the jcenter repository used to resolve the com.epages:restdocs-api-spec module of the project.
  5. add the actual restdocs-api-spec dependency to the test scope
  6. add configuration options for restdocs-api-spec-gradle-plugin`. See Gradle plugin configuration

See the build.gradle for the setup used in the sample project.


The root project does not provide a maven plugin. But you can find a plugin that works with restdocs-api-spec at BerkleyTechnologyServices/restdocs-spec.

Usage with Spring REST Docs

The class ResourceDocumentation contains the entry point for using the ResourceSnippet.

The most basic form does not take any parameters:

  .andDo(document("carts-create", resource("Create a cart")));

This test will produce the resource.json file in the snippets directory. This file just contains all the information that we can collect about the resource. The format of this file is not specific to an API specification.

  "operationId" : "carts-create",
  "summary" : "Create a cart",
  "description" : "Create a cart",
  "privateResource" : false,
  "deprecated" : false,
  "request" : {
    "path" : "/carts",
    "method" : "POST",
    "contentType" : null,
    "headers" : [ ],
    "pathParameters" : [ ],
    "requestParameters" : [ ],
    "requestFields" : [ ],
    "example" : null,
    "securityRequirements" : null
  "response" : {
    "status" : 201,
    "contentType" : "application/hal+json",
    "headers" : [ ],
    "responseFields" : [ ],
    "example" : "{\n  \"total\" : 0,\n  \"products\" : [ ],\n  \"_links\" : {\n    \"self\" : {\n      \"href\" : \"http://localhost:8080/carts/4\"\n    },\n    \"order\" : {\n      \"href\" : \"http://localhost:8080/carts/4/order\"\n    }\n  }\n}"

Just like with Spring REST Docs we can also describe request fields, response fields, path variables, parameters, headers, and links. Furthermore you can add a text description and a summary for your resource. The extension also discovers JWT tokens in the Authorization header and will document the required scopes from it. Also basic auth headers are discovered and documented.

The following example uses ResourceSnippetParameters to document response fields, path parameters, and links. We paid close attention to keep the API as similar as possible to what you already know from Spring REST Docs. fieldWithPath and linkWithRel are actually still the static methods you would use in your using Spring REST Docs test.

mockMvc.perform(get("/carts/{id}", cartId)
      .description("Get a cart by id")
        parameterWithName("id").description("the cart id"))
        fieldWithPath("total").description("Total amount of the cart."),
        fieldWithPath("products").description("The product line item of the cart."),
        subsectionWithPath("products[]._links.product").description("Link to the product."),
        fieldWithPath("products[].quantity").description("The quantity of the line item."),
        subsectionWithPath("products[].product").description("The product the line item relates to."),
        subsectionWithPath("_links").description("Links section."))
        linkWithRel("order").description("Link to order the cart."))

Please see the CartIntegrationTest in the sample application for a detailed example.

⚠️ Use template URIs to refer to path variables in your request

Note how we use the urlTemplate to build the request with RestDocumentationRequestBuilders. This makes the urlTemplate available in the snippet and we can depend on the non-expanded template when generating the OpenAPI file.

mockMvc.perform(get("/carts/{id}", cartId)

Documenting Bean Validation constraints

Similar to the way Spring REST Docs allows to use bean validation constraints to enhance your documentation, you can also use the constraints from your model classes to let restdocs-api-spec enrich the generated JsonSchemas. restdocs-api-spec provides the class com.epages.restdocs.apispec.ConstrainedFields to generate FieldDescriptors that contain information about the constraints on this field.

Currently the following constraints are considered when generating JsonSchema from FieldDescriptors that have been created via com.epages.restdocs.apispec.ConstrainedFields

  • NotNull, NotEmpty, and NotBlank annotated fields become required fields in the JsonSchema
  • for String fields annotated with NotEmpty, and NotBlank the minLength constraint in JsonSchema is set to 1
  • for String fields annotated with Length the minLength and maxLength constraints in JsonSchema are set to the value of the corresponding attribute of the annotation

If you already have your own ConstraintFields implementation you can also add the logic from com.epages.restdocs.apispec.ConstrainedFields to your own class. Here it is important to add the constraints under the key validationConstraints into the attributes map if the FieldDescriptor.

Migrate existing Spring REST Docs tests

For convenience when applying restdocs-api-spec to an existing project that uses Spring REST Docs, we introduced com.epages.restdocs.apispec.MockMvcRestDocumentationWrapper.

In your tests you can just replace calls to MockMvcRestDocumentation.document with the corresponding variant of MockMvcRestDocumentationWrapper.document.

MockMvcRestDocumentationWrapper.document will execute the specified snippets and also add a ResourceSnippet equipped with the input from your snippets.

Here is an example:

        fieldWithPath("comment").description("the comment"),
        fieldWithPath("flag").description("the flag"),
        fieldWithPath("count").description("the count"),

This will do exactly what MockMvcRestDocumentation.document does. Additionally it will add a ResourceSnippet with the descriptors you provided in the RequestFieldsSnippet, ResponseFieldsSnippet, and LinksSnippet.

Security Definitions in OpenAPI

The project has limited support for describing security requirements of an API. Currently we only support Oauth2 with JWT tokens and HTTP Basic Auth.

restdocs-api-spec inspects the AUTHORIZATION header of a request for a JWT token. Also the a HTTP basic authorization header is discovered and documented. If such a token is found the scopes are extracted and added to the resource.json snippet.

The restdocs-api-spec-gradle-plugin will consider this information if the oauth2SecuritySchemeDefinition configuration option is set (see Gradle plugin configuration). This will result in a top-level securityDefinitions in the OpenAPI definition. Additionally the required scopes will be added in the security section of an operation.

Running the gradle plugin

restdocs-api-spec-gradle-plugin is responsible for picking up the generated resource.json files and aggregate them into an API specification.

OpenAPI 2.0

In order to generate an OpenAPI 2.0 specification we use the openapi task:

./gradlew openapi

OpenAPI 3.0.1

In order to generate an OpenAPI 3.0.1 specification we use the openapi3 task:

./gradlew openapi3

For our sample project this creates a openapi3.yaml file in the output directory (build/openapi).

Gradle plugin configuration

Common OpenAPI configuration

The restdocs-api-spec-gradle-plugin takes the following configuration options for OpenAPI 2.0 and OpenAPI 3.0.1 - all are optional.

Name Description Default value
title The title of the application. Used for the title attribute in the Info object API documentation
version The version of the api. Used for the version attribute in the Info object project version
format The format of the output OpenAPI file - supported values are json and yaml json
separatePublicApi Should the plugin generate an additional OpenAPI specification file that does not contain the resources marked as private false
outputDirectory The output directory build/openapi
snippetsDirectory The directory Spring REST Docs generated the snippets to build/generated-snippets
oauth2SecuritySchemeDefinition Closure containing information to generate the securityDefinitions object in the OpenAPI specification. empty
oauth2SecuritySchemeDefinition.flows The Oauth2 flows the API supports. Use valid values from the securityDefinitions specification. no default - required if oauth2SecuritySchemeDefinition is set.
oauth2SecuritySchemeDefinition.tokenUrl The Oauth2 tokenUrl no default - required for the flows password, application, accessCode.
oauth2SecuritySchemeDefinition.authorizationUrl The Oauth2 authorizationUrl no default - required for the flows implicit, accessCode.
oauth2SecuritySchemeDefinition.scopeDescriptionsPropertiesFile A yaml file mapping scope names to descriptions. These are used in the securityDefinitions as the scope description no default - if not provided the scope descriptions default to No description.

The scopeDescriptionsPropertiesFile is supposed to be a yaml file:

scope-name: A description

OpenAPI 2.0

The restdocs-api-spec-gradle-plugin takes the following configuration options for OpenAPI 2.0 - all are optional.

Name Description Default value
host The host serving the API - corresponds to the attribute with the same name in the OpenAPI root object localhost
basePath The base path on which the API is served - corresponds to the attribute with the same name in the OpenAPI root object null
schemes The supported transfer protocols of the API - corresponds to the attribute with the same name in the OpenAPI root object ['http'"]
outputFileNamePrefix The file name prefix of the output file. openapi which results in e.g. openapi.json for the format json

Example configuration closure:

openapi {
    basePath = "/api"
    host = ""
    schemes = ["https"]
    format = "yaml"
    title = 'Beyond REST API'
    version = "1.0.0"
    separatePublicApi = true
    oauth2SecuritySchemeDefinition = {
        flows = ['accessCode', 'application']
        tokenUrl = ''
        authorizationUrl = ''
        scopeDescriptionsPropertiesFile = "src/docs/scope-descriptions.yaml"

OpenAPI 3.0.1

The restdocs-api-spec-gradle-plugin takes the following configuration options for OpenAPI 3.0.1 - all are optional.

Name Description Default value
outputFileNamePrefix The file name prefix of the output file. openapi3 which results in e.g. openapi3.json for the format json
servers Specifies the servers the API is available from. Use this property to specify multiple server definitions. See example below. http://localhost
server Specifies the servers the API is available from. Use this property to specify just a single server definition. See example below http://localhost

Example configuration closure:

openapi3 {
    servers = [ { url = "http://some.api" } ]
    title = 'My API title'
    version = '1.0.1'
    format = 'yaml'
    separatePublicApi = $separatePublicApi
    outputFileNamePrefix = '$outputFileNamePrefix'
    oauth2SecuritySchemeDefinition = {
        flows = ['authorizationCode']
        tokenUrl = ''
        authorizationUrl = ''
        scopeDescriptionsPropertiesFile = "scopeDescriptions.yaml"

The servers and server property can also contain variables. Is this case the` property can be specified like this:

This configuration follows the same semantics as the 'Servers Object' in the OpenAPI specification

servers = [ {
    url = 'https://{host}/api'
    variables = [
        host: [
            default: '',
            description: 'The hostname of your beyond shop',
            enum: ['api-shop', 'oz']
} ]

The same structure applies to server. A single server can also be specified using a plain string:

server = 'http://some.api/api'

Generate an HTML-based API reference from OpenAPI

We can use redoc to generate an HTML API reference from our OpenAPI specification.

The redoc-cli can be used to serve this API reference

npm install -g redoc-cli
redoc-cli serve build/openapi/openapi.json


This project supersedes restdocs-raml. So if you are coming from restdocs-raml you might want to switch to restdocs-api-spec.

The API of both projects is fairly similar and it is easy to migrate.

We plan to support RAML in the future. In the meantime you can use one of several ways to convert an OpenAPI specification to RAML. There are converters around that can help you to achieve this conversion.

  • oas-raml-converter - an npm project that provides a CLI to convert between OpenAPI and RAML - it also provides an online converter
  • api-matic - an online converter capable of converting between many api specifications

In the sample project you find a build configuration that uses the oas-raml-converter-docker docker image and the gradle-docker-plugin to leverage the oas-raml-converter to convert the output of the openapi task to RAML. Using this approach your gradle build can still output a RAML specification.

See openapi2raml.gradle.

./gradlew restdocs-api-spec-sample:openapi
./gradlew -b samples/restdocs-api-spec-sample/openapi2raml.gradle openapi2raml


Rest Assured

Spring REST Docs also supports REST Assured to write tests that produce documentation. We currently have not tried REST Assured with our project.