Latest Advancements to Postman’s gRPC Support

It’s been almost six months since we released support for gRPC in Postman. Since then, we’ve been hard at work evolving the product into something that would be a true delight for the gRPC community. The community has been an enormous help by logging their issues on GitHub regarding pain points and feature requests. Thanks to everyone who has helped us on this journey!

Implementing real, first-class support for gRPC in Postman has been no small task. However, it’s just one of many new protocols that will be coming to the Postman API Platform.

In the latest release, we’ve unblocked many critical workflows that were previously a limiting factor for many of our users. First, our designer redesigned the gRPC interface. It’s now much more intuitive and easier to understand for first-time users. Second, all of Postman’s rich collaboration features are now available for gRPC just as they are for HTTP. And third, you can now save your multi-file Protobuf APIs in Postman’s cloud (we know many of you were waiting for that!). We hope these changes, and more, will help provide a welcoming experience to gRPC newcomers and power users alike.

The right tool for the job

The organizations that are adopting gRPC are strategically choosing it to solve service-to-service communication issues around performance and maintainability. For years, the web was primarily composed of HTTP with REST or SOAP.  As the web grew, so did the need for other protocols to help facilitate new uses. To build an API-first world, we need support for more than just a single API protocol. This is why Postman engineering is placing an emphasis on supporting any protocol, including gRPC, WebSockets, GraphQL, and more.

Discovery drives adoption. That’s why we are actively working to provide not just client support, but clear documentation about gRPC’s use cases. We want to empower engineers, engineering and project managers, architects, designers, and more, to choose the right tool for the right job. If this is your first foray into gRPC, we recommend starting with the introduction docs and understanding the benefits of gRPC.

Creating and sending a new gRPC request
Creating and sending a new gRPC request

Collaborating with gRPC never looked so good

Workspaces have been a staple for Postman users for many years, enabling better communication and collaboration. We recently released the ability to save gRPC requests within collections, so teams can collaborate just as they have been with HTTP. But that’s not the end of the story. Aside from simply sharing a workspace or collection with the team, the ability to fork collections, as well as duplicate and move requests now ensures that the full cycle of collaboration is met. Also, if you need to communicate changes, doubts or issues around a request, you can comment on gRPC requests.

Additionally, you can share gRPC requests via a link. Simply click the link icon to copy a web URL to your clipboard and share to your heart’s content! You’ll share the whole request, including the URL, selected method, and attached message.

Copying gRPC request link
Copying gRPC request link

gRPC Reusability: unlocked

When importing your gRPC service definitions, you can now save all relevant .proto files as a single API within the Postman cloud. This allows you to organize even your most complex gRPC APIs within Postman, enabling reusability and collaboration with the rest of your team.

To make it easier to get started, all new gRPC requests show recommendations of Protobuf APIs from within your workspace. Additionally, if your service supports gRPC server reflection, Postman will now automatically detect it, and you’ll be able to send gRPC requests with only a single click—no Protobuf necessary!

Learning from the past

We’ve all done something we wished we could go back in time to see again. For that reason, we added gRPC calls to the History tab. Now, builders and consumers can go back and revisit past calls, either to investigate an old bug or to remember what a successful call looked like.

Showing off request history
Showing off request history

Looking into the future

What we have now is a full picture of what a build cycle with gRPC looks like in Postman. From importing to saving, collaborating, forking and duplicating, re-using, and discoverability, the whole API lifecycle can be achieved.

And we’re still working hard to provide even greater support for gRPC. This includes gRPC testing, which will give users the ability to write test scripts to validate responses from the server, including having access to our commonly-used test code snippets. As engineers ourselves, we know you can’t overstate the value of the confidence we gain from writing tests for code and APIs alike. We’re also excited to be working on adding saved examples for gRPC, and automatic mock servers for all imported Protobuf APIs. Stay tuned for more updates. The future is bright with gRPC in Postman.

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