Postman Interceptor: The Next Generation View Source for The API Economy
Web professionals need a robust and dynamic toolkit for all kinds of development and engineering workflows. But for developers to successfully create and build, we need to see what’s going on “behind the curtain” of an API so that, when necessary, we can reverse engineer what’s been built already. The Postman Interceptor, a Chrome browser plug-in for capturing web traffic, is a tool that gives us exactly that power. With the Postman Interceptor, we can record the technical details of our web API usage; save the details of each request and response from Postman; and use those details for reverse engineering, putting, and changing — all of this done effectively outside the browser, in an environment where we have more control.
And now, the Postman Interceptor has taken another step forward! We can use it to sync cookies between our browsers and Postman, giving us greater visibility into authentication, routing, and storage. Succinctly put: We have more power to track the information behind the web applications we use each day.
Try Out The Postman Interceptor
To take advantage of the Postman Interceptor you’ll need to have the Google Chrome browser already installed. Then, add the Postman Interceptor plugin to your local Chrome toolbar.
Once installed, you’ll need to connect your browser to Postman, requiring you to configure both sides:
- Interceptor Request Capture – Click on the Postman Interceptor icon on your Google Chrome browser toolbar and turn request capture on.
- Postman Request Capture – click on the satellite icon in top right corner of Postman, selecting Interceptor, and turning the request capture on.
Connecting your browser to Postman should work with minimal configuration, but if you have any problems, visit the troubleshooting section of the documentation for Postman Interceptor to learn about the common pitfalls.
Postman Gives You Control Over Interception
The Chrome browser side of the connection is pretty basic: you can turn on or off request captures and filter the types of requests you choose to capture. It’s really the Postman side of the connection where you are given the most amount of control over how you capture and record web traffic coming in from your browser:
- Capture Requests – Turning on the ability to capture requests coming in from the browser via the Postman Interceptor plug-in.
- Saving Requests – Defining which collection you want the requests saved to so that you can organize your incoming web traffic.
- Additional Filters – Applying another round of filters to the URL, as well as the HTTP method being collected from the browser.
- Capture Cookies – Turning on the ability to capture cookies and the specific domains in which cookies are being synced with browser.
You Can See Behind the API Curtains
The Postman Interceptor is all about extending to the browser the same visibility into APIs that the Postman platform provides. It lets us leverage Postman to pull back the curtain on web functionality, offering us heightened observability into the web applications we use each day.
With the Postman Interceptor, we get a control panel for the three most common channels for defining how we engage online in a professional or personal capacity:
- Desktop – Opening up a window into how the desktop applications we’re using interact and use the cloud to deliver the expected functionality.
- Web – Revealing the inner workings of each of the web applications we use, documenting every call that is made behind the user-interfaces we’re used to.
- Mobile – Shining a light into the shadowy space that exists behind the mobile phones that have become ubiquitous in our lives at home and at work.
Postman has given web professionals the power to study, understand, and take more control over each of the individual digital transactions that define how people do what they do each day in this new digital world.
Migrating from the Postman Chrome Application to the Desktop
Interceptor connects your Chrome Browser to the desktop edition of Postman, ensuring that you can make sense of the HTTP traffic behind the web applications you are putting to work. But, the Chrome extensions also assists you in successfully making the transition from the deprecated Chrome edition of Postman to the more full featured desktop editions for Windows or Mac. That way you not have access to the latest features that are only available in the desktop edition, but also you’re also connected to the power of the Postman API platform. You’ll be able to better define and organize your API integrations, while also taking advantage of the orchestration and automation delivered when your local Postman client is fully connected to the Postman platform in the cloud.
The Larger Implications of The Postman Interceptor
Understanding the inner workings of the desktop, web, and mobile applications we depend on each day is not just for developers. Postman and the Postman Interceptor can be used without having to write code. All it takes is a little curiosity about what is happening behind the digital curtain that exists between us and the cloud.
Postman Interceptor is the equivalent of “View Source” in the browser for the API age, allowing anyone to peek behind the curtain and reverse engineer what’s going on behind the user-interfaces we’re used to. We can re-route common API requests being made behind any application that is using the web as a transport. We can observe how data is created, collected, managed, and stored while also taking more control over changing, saving, organizing, sharing, and making sense of each individual action we make on the web. In essence, our visibility, reach, and control over not just the data flowing around us in the digital, but all of the digital capabilities exposed via the cloud-based, API-enabled applications in our lives is greatly expanded.