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Using Swagger for API documentation

Last updated: May 2022

We currently utilize Swagger, specifically the hapi-swagger plug-in, to autogenerate a JSON file ( that includes details of the available API endpoints, operations on each endpoint, input and output parameters for each operation, authentication methods, and other information. This JSON file is then rendered with redocusaurus to display our API documentation in the Firefox Ecosystem Platform.

Getting Started

Installing hapi-swagger

The following dependencies will need to be installed:

  • @hapi/hapi
  • @hapi/inert
  • @hapi/vision
  • joi

Quick start

Add the following code to create a Hapi server object.

const Hapi = require('@hapi/hapi');
const Inert = require('@hapi/inert');
const Vision = require('@hapi/vision');
const HapiSwagger = require('hapi-swagger');
const Pack = require('./package');

(async () => {
const server = await new Hapi.Server({
host: 'localhost',
port: 3000,

const swaggerOptions = {
info: {
title: 'Test API Documentation',
version: Pack.version,

await server.register([
plugin: HapiSwagger,
options: swaggerOptions

try {
await server.start();
console.log('Server running at:',;
} catch(err) {


Source: Quick start | hapi-swagger

How to view locally

To view the hapi-swagger generated JSON file locally:

To view the API documentation within Ecosystem Platform locally:

While hapi-swagger also autogenerates API documentation as well, we opt to host our API documentation on the Ecosystem Platform with redocusaurus and, therefore, configure the hapi-swagger JSON file accordingly. See Hapi-swagger documentation below for additional information.

To view the hapi-swagger generated API documentation:

API documentation


The available sections of our API documentation (e.g., 'Account', 'Devices and Sessions', 'Subscriptions', etc.) are designated by the tags property in each operation on an endpoint. Existing sections and their tags can be found in fxa-auth-server/docs/swagger/swagger-tags.ts. This file ensures there are no duplicate or mislabeled sections/tags (e.g. 'Device and Sessions' vs. 'Devices and Sessions'); it will be later referenced within each API documentation file, which you can proceed to if you are modifying the API documentation and the section or tag already exists. If it doesn't, create and save new tags to the TAGS object.


Be sure to include 'api' in the tag's array for it to appear in the documentation.

If you have created a new tag, you will also need to add it in the array of the API doc it is to appear under in fxa-auth-server/docs/swagger/swagger-options.ts. If the tag includes a description, add the tag object to the tags property as well. While name is the only required property in a tag's object, other properties include description and externalDocs. See Tag Object for more information.

API documentation file

Each tag has an API documentation file that can be found through fxa-auth-server/docs/swagger. If you created a new tag, create its corresponding API documentation file - please follow the naming convention <TAG>-api.ts (e.g. account-api.ts, subscriptions-api.ts).

Within an API documentation file, there is a route object for each operation of an endpoint. Our naming convention for the variable of a route object typically includes the endpoint and its method (e.g., ACCOUNT_CREATE_POST is for POST /account/create). At the very least, each route object requires description and tags properties. The description is what will appear within the sidebar of the API documentation (e.g., /account/create). The tag is the section that the endpoint will appear under.


An operation of an endpoint can be included in multiple sections within our API documentation by modifying the tags property to reflect all of the sections it should be included in (e.g., tags: ['api', 'Account', 'Subscriptions']).

Any details regarding the operation are included within a notes array property; the dedent dependency is utilized for multi-line strings. Response errors, if any, are included within a plugins['hapi-swagger'].responses object (see example below).

// account-api.ts

import TAGS from './swagger-tags';

const TAGS_ACCOUNT = {

description: '/account/create',
notes: [
Creates a user account. The client provides the email address with which this account will be associated and a stretched password. Stretching is detailed on the [**onepw**]( wiki page.

This endpoint may send a verification email to the user. Callers may optionally provide the \`service\` parameter to indicate which service they are acting on behalf of. This is an opaque alphanumeric token that will be embedded in the verification link as a query parameter.

Creating an account also logs in. The response contains a \`sessionToken\` and, optionally, a \`keyFetchToken\` if the url has a query parameter of \`keys=true\`.
plugins: {
'hapi-swagger': {
responses: {
400: {
description: dedent`
Failing requests may be caused by the following errors (this is not an exhaustive list):
\`errno: 101\` - Account already exists
\`errno: 144\` - Email already exists

Caption: Example of a route object

Adding API documentation to its route

Once a route object is properly created in an API documentation file, it can be simply added to its appropriate route. See example below:

// routes/account.ts

import ACCOUNT_DOCS from '../../docs/swagger/account-api';

method: 'POST',
path: '/account/create',
options: {
validate: {
query: isA.object({
keys: isA.boolean().optional().description(DESCRIPTION.keys),
service: validators.service.description(DESCRIPTION.service),
payload: isA.object({
authPW: validators.authPW.description(DESCRIPTION.authPW),
service: validators.service.description(DESCRIPTION.service),
redirectTo: validators
resume: isA
style: isA.string().allow(['trailhead']).optional(),
verificationMethod: validators.verificationMethod.optional(),
// preVerified is not available in production mode.
...(!(config as any).isProduction && {
preVerified: isA.boolean(),
response: {
schema: isA.object({
uid: isA.string().regex(HEX_STRING).required(),
sessionToken: isA.string().regex(HEX_STRING).required(),
keyFetchToken: isA.string().regex(HEX_STRING).optional(),
authAt: isA.number().integer().description(DESCRIPTION.authAt),
verificationMethod: validators.verificationMethod.optional(),
handler: (request: AuthRequest) => accountHandler.accountCreate(request),

Caption: Example of a route

Other information


There is a glossary of descriptions that can be found in fxa-auth-server/docs/swagger/shared/descriptions.ts. As opposed to the required descriptions mentioned for the route object, these descriptions are optionally used to provide more details about the parameters used within a payload, query, schema, etc. This file helps eliminate repetitive descriptions and declutters the route files.

import DESCRIPTION from '../../docs/swagger/shared/descriptions';
keys: isA.boolean().optional().description(DESCRIPTION.keys),

Hapi-swagger documentation

The values for the description and notes properties for each route object shift in hapi-swagger's autogenerated JSON file:

  • the value set for description becomes the value for summary
  • the value set for notes becomes the value for description

This is important to note, as this affects how our API documentation appears using redocusaurus. We are aware that the hapi-swagger autogenerated API documentation is not optimally viewed as it looks repetitive; however, as we prefer to host our API documentation within the Ecosystem Platform, please follow the guide above.