When working with Cloud resources like Azure Functions, the ability to test your work quickly and easily it is pretty important. There are quite a few tools out there, but personally I like working with Postman so i’m going to explain the basics of the tool here so that when you guys are working through Demos you have a quick point of reference.
Postman is a third party tool that has ballooned over the last few years from being a useful but basic Chrome Extension to one of the best API development tools in the industry. The amount of stuff you can do with it is pretty amazing and if you’re looking at API first development, it can pretty much be useful to the entire life cycle from describing, building, testing and debugging.
Downloading and Installing Postman
Navigate over to https://www.getpostman.com/downloads/ and download the .exe file for you OS of choice.
Double click on the .exe file and Postman will install. Simple!
When you first open the application you’ll be presented with the option to sign in/up. If you’re going to be working as a team or swapping devices a lot this might be a good choice for you as it will keep your requests and collections in sync. Whatever you choose the next page is a good summary of what Postman has to offer.
- You can use Postman to send basic requests and is the quickest and easy way to use Postman. Simply define your HTTP Method (Get/Post etc), pop in your URL, set your headers and body and press go.
- Collections allow you to collect common or related API calls together and save them in one place. This is particularly helpful when working in teams as you can create your requests for the API you’re working on and update a centrally shared collection for quick visibility across your whole team.
- Environment is another fun one, where you can create variables for reuse in your postman requests and easily swap out that variable file with ease when needed. This allows you to really quickly move between environments, from your dev, to qa to production and run your whole collection with the flick of a switch.
- The last thing I want to mention is the Runner. This is a super cool tool to run your entire collection of tests (or subset, selectable within the menu) in one click and get a quick summary of the health of your whole platform.
Running a Basic Request
- From the main screen enter click on the plus symbol to create a new request.
- Select your Http Method (Get/Post)
- Enter your url (i.e. http://localhost:7071/api/getthing
- Enter any headers you need to set
- Enter any Parameters you want passed in the Query string
- Enter any objects you want passed in the Body of the request
- Click Send
In the actual screen shot example I entered URL ‘ https://jsonplaceholder.typicode.com/todos/1’ (another handy websites to checkout!) set method to Get and clicked Send. That’s all you need for basic requests. Super easy right!?
Although i’ve opted to run trhough Postman with you here there are quite a few alternatives on the market. If you don’t like Postman, try checking out SoapUI or Katalon. SoapUI i’ve used and is good but less intuitive that Postman to learn and I’ve not used Katalon but worked with others who swear by it.
Postman is a really powerful tool that allows you to use the basic features very easily. There is a huge amount of functionality beyond what I’ve talked about here so I would recommend that stick to the basics, get comfortable and then start exploring a bit more when you’re confident.
When you’re ready head over to Learn Postman for loads more documentation. Or let me know in the comments if you’d like to learn more here!
For now, just enjoy using this great tool for your API development!