By Alx: October 2020 | last update: October 2020

Spring Boot REST API Documentation 'code first'
with SpringFox


Let's assume you have already a spring boot project(Code first approach) which almost finished and now the customer or test guys want to use the sawgger file. With SpringFox you have a tool that helps creating swagger documentation from existing code.

What is SpringFox

The Springfox suite of java libraries are all about automating the generation of machine and human readable specifications for JSON APIs written using the spring family of projects

What we need

Java 11
Maven 3.x

SpringFox dependency


After adding the dependency we'll restart the application and check the swagger-ui page, which be available at http://localhost:8080/swagger-ui/index.html

At first sight it seems to be okay, springfox renders the new page and there we can see the API. But there are some weird stuffs, such as the basic-error-controller or the servers drop-down list with "Inferred Url".

With just a small change in pom file (added one dependency) you got the swagger-ui page with basic presentation, is a fine thing. Now we need to add some configuration.


public class DocumentationrConfig {

    public Docket api() {
        Server serverLocal = new Server("local", "http://localhost:8080", "for local usages", Collections.emptyList(), Collections.emptyList());
        Server testServer = new Server("test", "", "for testing", Collections.emptyList(), Collections.emptyList());
        return new Docket(DocumentationType.OAS_30)
                .servers(serverLocal, testServer)

    private ApiInfo apiInfo() {
        return new ApiInfoBuilder()
                .title("Openapi OAS3 with springfox ")
                .description("Code first approach")
                .contact(new Contact("Marone", "", ""))


The class is marked with @Configuration
@EnableOpenApi enables the usage of OpenAPI(OAS3)
Docket is the primary interface into the Springfox framework, here is initialized for OpenAPI 3
The ApiInfo delivers api's meta information such as: title, contact, version, etc
The servers should set up the servers (local and test environment), but it seems to be buggy at the moment (Version 3.0.0), we will show a workaround later.

Documenting the RestController

Config Get all

Before: After:

We add two Annotations @ApiOperation and @ApiResponse, but there are not really necessary. Springfox generates by default all the needed documentation for all HTTP verbs.

In case of GET, there are four default responses:

Documenting the model


This solution was inspired by rowleyn, now the whole swagger-ui page looks fine
springfox oas3 openapi


After adding the SpringFox dependency and delivering a quick metainformation, we was able to get a basic swagger-ui page. If you need to deliver more specific informations, you can easily annotate your code. There is one thing you have to keep in mind, everytime you change your code you have to synchronize your SpringFox annotations.