Swagger UI is an incredibly helpful tool that can be used to learn the
ins and outs of an api. The whole thing is an opensource project
) that is
easy to install.
All an api provider needs to do is write a json object specifying what
the heck the api does. The json object encapsulates what end points the api has, what inputs it accepts, what outputs it produces and in what format(s), and what errors could be returned etc. Once installed anyone can use the "Try it out!" button to send in requests. It's great fun to see exactly
what is returned, whether it's an error or data. You can read all the documentation an api provider supplies but there is no substitute for playing around and actually interacting with the api without having to write your own client. Swagger UI, proverbially, is the stick that
lets you poke the api to see how it reacts.
I reversed engineered the json object for the patentsview api and
am trying to get the patentsview people to steal it. Try the Swagger 2.0 version
here on my site instead of theirs. Or try the Swagger 3.0/Open Api version here. Feel free to use the "Try it out!" button after clicking on one of the
endpoints. You can cut and paste the parameters shown on my sample pages or invent your
own queries to see for yourself just how fun and useful the experience
can be. Still not convinced? Try reading this longer explanation with pictures.
PEDS (Patent Examination Data System) is a similar patent api. They provide a
Swagger UI page for their api for the whole world to use.