Automated API Documentation

Automated documentation is a very cool feature that I found to be desirable. Now it became a reality in Beego. As I said Beego will not only boost the development of your API but also make the API easy to use for the user.

Beego implemented the swagger specification for API documentation. It’s very easy to create powerful interactive API documentation.

Ok, let’s try it out now. First let’s create a new API application by bee api beeapi

API global settings

Add the following comments at the top of routers/router.go:

// @APIVersion 1.0.0
// @Title mobile API
// @Description mobile has every tool to get any job done, so codename for the new mobile APIs.
// @Contact
package routers

The comments above set the global information. The available settings:

  • @APIVersion
  • @Title
  • @Description
  • @Contact
  • @TermsOfServiceUrl
  • @License
  • @LicenseUrl
  • @Name
  • @URL
  • @LicenseUrl
  • @License
  • @Schemes
  • @Host

Router Parsing

Right now automated API documentation only supports NSNamespace and NSInclude and it only supports two levels of parsing. The first level is the API version and the second level is the modules.

This only works for dev environment. We think that, all API must be tested, and if users are able to generate API in non-dev environment, some users may use it in production environment.

In v2.x, a big change is that we scan the directory which is configured by CommentRouterPath.

But we only generate router files, you must call Include method to use it.

func init() {
	ns :=

Application Comment

This is the most important part of comment. For example:

package controllers

import ""

type CMSController struct {

func (c *CMSController) URLMapping() {
	c.Mapping("StaticBlock", c.StaticBlock)
	c.Mapping("Product", c.Product)

// @Title getStaticBlock
// @Summary getStaticBlock
// @Deprecated Deprecated
// @Description get all the staticblock by key
// @Param	key	path	string	true	"The static block key."	default_value
// @Success 200 {object} ZDT.ZDTMisc.CmsResponse
// @Failure 400 Bad request
// @Failure 404 Not found
// @Accept json
// @router /staticblock/:key [get]
func (c *CMSController) StaticBlock() {


// @Title Get Product list
// @Description Get Product list by some info
// @Success 200 {object} models.ZDTProduct.ProductList
// @Param	category_id		query	int	false		"category id"
// @Param	brand_id	query	int	false		"brand id"
// @Param	query	query	string 	false		"query of search"
// @Param	segment	query	string 	false		"segment"
// @Param	sort 	query	string 	false		"sort option"
// @Param	dir 	query	string 	false		"direction asc or desc"
// @Param	offset 	query	int		false		"offset"
// @Param	limit 	query	int		false		"count limit"
// @Param	price 			query	float		false		"price"
// @Param	special_price 	query	bool		false		"whether this is special price"
// @Param	size 			query	string		false		"size filter"
// @Param	color 			query	string		false		"color filter"
// @Param	format 			query	bool		false		"choose return format"
// @Failure 400 no enough input
// @Failure 500 get products common error
// @router /products [get]
func (c *CMSController) Product() {


In the code above, we defined the comment on top of CMSController is the information for this module. Then we defined the comment for every controller’s methods.

Below is a list of supported comments for generating swagger APIs:

  • @Accept Aceept type json/xml/html/plain

  • @Deprecated Deprecated flag.

  • @Title

    The title for this API. It’s a string, and all the content after the first space will be parsed as the title.

  • @Description

    The description for this API. It’s a string, and all the content after the first space will be parsed as the description.

  • @Param

    @Param defines the parameters sent to the server. There are five columns for each @Param:

    1. parameter key;
    2. parameter sending type; It can be formData, query, path, body or header. formData means the parameter sends by POST ( set Content-Type to application/x-www-form-urlencoded ) . query means the parameter sends by GET in url. path means the parameter in the url path, such as key in the former example. body means the raw data send from request body. header means the parameter is in request header.
    3. parameter data type
    4. required
    5. comment
    6. default value
  • @Success

    The success message returned to client. Three parameters.

    1. status code.
    2. return type; Must wrap with {}.
    3. returned object or string. For {object}, use path and the object name of your project here and bee tool will look up the object while generating the docs. For example models.ZDTProduct.ProductList represents ProductList object under /models/ZDTProduct

    Use space to separate these three parameters

  • @Failure

    The failure message returned to client. Two parameters separated by space.

    1. Status code.
    2. Error message.
  • @router

    Router information. Two parameters separated by space.

    1. The request’s router address.
    2. Supported request methods. Wrap in []. Use , to separate multiple methods.

Generate documentation automatically

Make it work by following the steps:

  1. Enable docs by setting EnableDocs = true in conf/app.conf.
  2. Use bee run -downdoc=true -gendoc=true to run your API application and rebuild documentation automatically.
  3. Visit /swagger in your project. (see image #1 below)

Your API documentation is available now. Open your browser and check it out.

Problems You May Have

  1. CORS Two solutions:
    1. Integrate swagger into the application. Download swagger and put it into project folder. (bee run -downdoc=true will also download it and put it into project folder) And before web.Run() in func main() of main.go

      if web.BConfig.RunMode == "dev" {
      	web.BConfig.WebConfig.DirectoryIndex = true
      	web.BConfig.WebConfig.StaticDir["/swagger"] = "swagger"

      And then visit /swagger in your project.

    2. Make API support CORS

      ctx.Output.Header("Access-Control-Allow-Origin", "*")
  2. Other problems. This is a feature used in my own project. If you have some other problems please fire issues to us.