2019 in Review: A Great Year for Postman Product Improvements
It’s the new year, and all of us here at Postman are looking forward to another year of making the Postman product better and better for our entire, ever-growing Postman community in 2020.
We’re also looking back at 2019 and taking stock of all the new features and capabilities we brought to Postman last year. It’s quite a list, and nearly all of these improvements were driven by requests and suggestions from our community. We remain endlessly thankful for the feedback from all of you.
So let’s take a quick look at a few of these 2019 highlights (most of which are available in the free version of Postman, with a few exceptions):
Create APIs directly in Postman
In our v7.1 release in 2019, we made the API front and center (and enabled users to cover every aspect of API development without ever leaving the Postman app) with the introduction of the API tab, API elements, API versioning, version tagging, and schema support and editing. This covers everything from designing a schema to building out test suites and generating live documentation.
Support for GraphQL
GraphQL support was our number two most requested feature on GitHub, so bringing this spec to Postman was kind of a big deal. Graph QL is a query language that makes it easy for developers to specify data responses, especially when working with APIs that return a large number of data points. Postman is proud to support sending GraphQL queries in the request body, GraphQL variables, and Query autocompletion.
OpenAPI 3.0 support
This year we added support for importing OpenAPI specifications. This was one of the most requested features from our community and we wanted to resurface this feature for anyone who missed out. Supporting OpenAPI 3.0 was our first step toward enabling greater flexibility to work with different specs and formats within Postman.
APIs are supposed to be machine-readable interfaces, yet developers often call an API in Postman and then copy the response into a data visualization tool to understand the data better. That’s why Postman introduced a new way to program and render data visualizations right within the context of your request. It’s called Postman Visualizer, and it allows you to easily display an endpoint’s response the way you want to see it, beyond the standard Pretty, Raw, and Preview response views.
Interceptor for cookie syncing
Interceptor was previously only available as a Chrome extension on the deprecated Chrome app. Now, the functionality of Interceptor is available on our Postman native apps for macOS, Linux, and Windows. With this functionality, you can specify browser domains in Postman to capture cookies for those sites and sync them to your instance of Postman.
Forking and merging
We added forking and merging in Postman to give teams more control over their collaborative workflows. Forking and merging is similar to branching and merging in version control systems. Forking a Postman collection within a workspace creates a linked version of that collection that can sync to any teammate’s Postman instance within that workspace.
This added functionality allows users to view the diff, verify changes, resolve conflicts, and merge changes back to their base collection. This allows multiple teammates to work off of different versions of Postman collections in real time.
We extended commenting capabilities in 2019 to better facilitate streamlined communication directly within the Postman app. Here’s what we added to our commenting capabilities:
- Markdown support so users could style comments
- Tagging and notifying team members of new comments
- Automatic syncing of comments to the app from the dashboard
- Admin control over deleting comments
Extended roles and permissions
We extended Postman’s access control to enable more flexible team structures. Postman roles and permissions now include two roles at the workspace level: Workspace Collaborator and Workspace Admin. So, for those keeping track at home, Postman allows members to be classified by their roles at the collection level and team level, and now, at the workspace level.
Custom webhooks integration
The custom webhooks integration allows you to create workflows between Postman and the tools you use. Right now, Postman supports three types of actions that can be customized using a custom webhook: backing up your Postman collections, sharing results from an existing Postman monitor, and sending your Postman team’s activity feed.
Postman created public profiles so developers can get credit for all those helpful collections they publish. Now, individual users have a Postman user profile, and teams have a Postman team profile. As an individual user, your public profile will include important information like a glamorous photo, personal description, custom URL slug, and a listing of all your contributions. In short, prepare to be famous.
Teams are increasingly using Postman to collaborate on APIs. To streamline this collaboration, we built the new team discovery feature. When your colleagues log in to Postman, they can now find potential teams to join within your organization. This facilitates onboarding; makes it straightforward for contributors to get involved; amplifies your teams’ ability to coordinate and organize around an API; and creates a familiar workflow in line with existing project management and productivity tools.
In-app Postman Bootcamp lessons
We added interactive lessons inside the Postman app. We wanted to show off the range of things Postman can do, so we built out a library of interactive lessons where users of all levels can explore Postman. These lessons help users familiarize themselves with Postman and build skills in a guided, hands-on environment. We currently offer lessons about designing and mocking APIs, debugging and manual testing, automated testing, API documentation, monitoring, and collaboration, and we’re constantly adding new lessons.
And there was still so much more in 2019, including:
- The Postman API Network at explore.postman.com: Postman launched API Network—a global directory of public APIs curated by Postman—to bring together API publishers and API consumers with an easier way to discover and consume the world’s most popular APIs.
- New code generators in the Postman app: We built in-house request code generation modules and open sourced them. This was aimed at not only resolving issues with older modules but also adding support for new languages requested by our community and code generation configuration.
- New code generators in Documenter: Our open sourced code generators were also added to Postman documentation to support better code generation and improve onboarding for your API consumers.
- Mock server body matching: We introduced the ability to match mock requests based on body to enhance Postman mock servers. With this capability, you can match Post requests based on body as well as use it to mock GraphQL APIs.
- Fake data generation for requests through dynamic variables: Postman added support for Faker (a PHP library that generates fake data) to enable better API testing workflows in Postman through dynamic variables.
- Enabling request-signing in SAML: You can now choose to sign the request made to your SAML application in Postman to enhance security.
- Collection runner: The collection runner allows for customizing the execution of requests in two ways:
- Order of execution: The requests execute in the order they appear in the Run order pane of the collection runner. The execution can be reordered by dragging and dropping.
- Selective execution: Requests can be prevented from executing by disabling them using the preceding check boxes in the Run order pane of the collection runner.
- Improved Postman console: The improved Postman console enables better debuggability of requests by providing better request transaction details (network details, redirects, etc.). With this release, we also improved the user experience and performance of the console based on community feedback.
- pm.collectionVariables: Introduced collection variables as a feature for users to write variables at both the folder and collection levels for better scoping of variables.
- Programmatic cookie access via scripts: We built this feature to enable control of cookies via scripts to enable users to manage their cookies programmatically.
- Postman Launchpad: Launchpad enables you to learn new tools to improve your workflows and helps you get jobs done more quickly in Postman.
- Support for client certificates: With this capability, APIs that were being authenticated using self-signed client certificates are now easily testable right within Postman.
- Detailed request timings: You can now view more details regarding the time taken for each request you make in Postman to help you understand the performance of your APIs.
- Improved Postman API keys, along with naming abilities: We released the new Postman API keys format which allows you to name your API keys according to your use case while enhancing the overall security of the API keys. We also partnered with GitHub to detect and report to you the active Postman API keys which you might have published accidentally to public repos.
- JSON schema in scripts: We added support for the popular AJV library in test scripts, which is faster and is more feature-rich. We even added the capability to write tests using JSON schemas with easy-to-use schema test assertion functions.
The Postman team is so proud to have delivered all of these improvements to you in 2019. And there’s more where that came from in 2020 (check out the public roadmap of upcoming features for Postman) because you and the entire Postman community continue to push us and inspire us with your thoughtful feedback and ideas. As always, feel free to browse/contribute to our Postman app support page on GitHub, where you’ll find code, open issues, pull requests, projects, and more.