What is an API workspace?
01 Aug 2022
One of the most powerful capabilities of the Postman platform is the concept of a workspace. Like many powerful concepts, it is also very misunderstood, not seen, and wildly underutilized as part of API operations. I am doing a lot of work to change this, and as I do this work I am doing what I used to always do, and ideated about it here on the blog. I am spending time considering all of the moving parts of workspaces to provide more structure guidance regarding how enterprise organizations can be taking advantage of API workspaces to ground their operations.
A number of Postman users I know are completely unaware of the fact that they there are different types of workspaces or even that there are different visibilities for your workspace. An API workspace is a versatile and flexible space for doing anything you want withAPIs, but let’s start with the fundamental building blocks of a workspace.
- Overview - Every workspaces has a title, summary, and full description to provide the “home page” or “README” for your API workspace.
- APIs - The mission control for each of your OpenAPI, WSDL, GraphQL, Websockets, and gRPC defined APIs you are producing or consuming.
- Environments - The definitions for each of your developing, sandbox, staging, production, or other types of environments in use for APIs.
- Mock Servers - The ability to generate a mock server from any API contract or collection, providing a usable representation of each API.
- Monitors. - Enabling the running of any collection on a schedule across multiple regions in a cloud, automating testing or any other behavior.
- Flows - A visual tool for defining and running workflows defined across many different APIs to produce a specific business outcome.
There are plenty of other capabilities available in a workspace, but these are the base foundation of any workspace. However, I have to also note the fundamental building blocks of engagement that are present around these building blocks.
- History - You can see the history of any collection run within a workspace, showing every API call made across your team.
- Activity - You can see any change to the building blocks within a workspace across your team, showing what has changed over time.
- Comments - Anyone who has access to a workspace can comment on the API or collections, locating the API conversation.
- Watches - Anyone who has access to a workspace can watch the workspace, API, or collection that is available to them.
- Forks - Anyone who has access to a workspace ca fork any of the collections available within a workspace to run on their own.
The engagement opportunities available within a workspace provide a lot of the incentivizes for why you would want to have a workspaces, but is something will also influence the visibility you set for any workspace you are making available.
- Personal - Only you can see what is in a personal workspace.
- Private - This provides an invite only workspace for APIs.
- Team - Open to the team to access and collaborate in workspace.
- Public - Available to anyone via Postman network to view.
The essential building blocks of API workspaces, combined with engagement and visibility capabilities provides are very flexible and powerful toolbox for doing almost anything you want with APIs. The challenge is—-how do I light the fire under people’s imagination when it comes to what is possible. I can see it, but many others can’t see it due to the busy nature of their day, or are completely aware of the need to ground their work in a space.
I enjoy these blog posts as I ideate through my work at Postman. It bums me out that I don’t do more of this daily. I’ll be rapid fire posting other posts that help me think through all the dimensions of API workspaces, and all the ways they can be applied as part of our API operations. This topic provides a regular reminder for me how much I understand about APIs, but just how useless this knowledge is unless I am putting it out there. A certain amount of this knowledge makes it to the Postman blog, and comes out via my Breaking Changes podcast, but there is this whole other layer of thought and ideation exhaust that gets left on the cutting room floor unless I publish it here.