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Easily add Swagger UI to a plain Flask API project with an OpenAPI specification file

Sanjan Grero
・2 min read

This is a simple guide on how to add Swagger UI to your plain flask API project without using any additional libraries.
As I wanted a way to get Swagger UI implemented in my POC work in order to quickly show the intended functions to stakeholders. And there was no simple way to do it. All the youtube videos or online articles pointed to using libraries like flask-swagger-ui or FastAPI etc. I didn’t want to use any of those and even the official Swagger UI recommends running it as a docker container, which is overkill for something so simple. So this is the way I managed to do it.

Step 1: Download Swagger UI GitHub repo

Download Swagger UI from GitHub and extract it. We are basically interested in the dist directory in this archive.

Step 2: Copy the files from dist to your project directory

  • In your project directory create 2 directories templates and static
  • Move index.html from dist to templates directory and rename it to swaggerui.html
  • Inside static directory, create 3 more directories, css,img and js
  • Move .js files from dist to static/js
  • Move .css files from dist to static/css
  • Move .png files from dist to static/img

Your project directory should now look like this

├── static
│   ├── css
│   │   └── swagger-ui.css
│   ├── img
│   │   ├── favicon-16x16.png
│   │   └── favicon-32x32.png
│   └── js
│       ├── swagger-ui-bundle.js
│       ├── swagger-ui-standalone-preset.js
│       └── swagger-ui.js
└── templates
    ├── swaggerui.html

Step 3: Edit swaggerui.html and replace all static url with Jinja2 template tags

7    <link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="{{ url_for('static', filename='css/swagger-ui.css') }}">
8    <link rel="icon" type="image/png" href="{{ url_for('static', filename='img/favicon-32x32.png') }}" sizes="32x32"/>
9    <link rel="icon" type="image/png" href="{{ url_for('static', filename='img/favicon-16x16.png') }}" sizes="16x16"/>
36   <script src="{{ url_for('static', filename='js/swagger-ui-bundle.js') }}"> </script>
37   <script src="{{ url_for('static', filename='js/swagger-ui-standalone-preset.js') }}"> </script>

Step 4: Write your API spec in OpenAPI format

  • Go to swagger editor and write your API spec in YAML. Here is a Sample API spec:
  • Go to File menu in Swagger editor and click on Convert and save as JSON
  • Place the downloaded openapi.json file in your projects' static directory
  • Update the reference for the source json file (line 42) in swaggerui.html file to refer to the spec file in static directory
url: "{{ url_for('static', filename='openapi.json') }}",

Step 5: Return swaggerui.html with flask render_template in your preferred route

  • Create in your project directory with the following code
  • Run the app with command: python3 from your project directory
  • Your SwaggerUI documentation should be accessible on http://localhost:5000/api/docs

I have created a boilerplate flask app for anyone to use this setup with ease.

GitHub logo sanjan / flask_swagger

Boilerplate to build a flask API with swagger ui documentation

Discussion (1)

menilek profile image
Menilek Techane

This was really easy to follow! Big thanks