A diverse community—from API novices to experts
Users come to Cisco DevNet from a wide range of technical backgrounds. Application developers use Cisco APIs to build complex IoT, enterprise, and mobile solutions and often need advanced guidance. DevOps engineers are frequently looking for ways to use Cisco APIs in automating workflows or gluing systems together. Many network engineers have begun to adopt NetDevOps tools and processes and come to DevNet to learn more about APIs and API platforms like Postman.
Cisco reseller partners are using APIs in their professional service offerings to help businesses automate deployments and further customize their use of Cisco solutions. Regardless of a user’s skillset or goals, Cisco APIs help them transform business processes and drive digital agility as Cisco products evolve.
DevNet aims to help every user achieve their first meaningful interaction with a Cisco API as quickly as possible—that is, the user understands how the API works and can immediately try it out for themselves by sending a request to an endpoint and viewing the response.
When DevNet was established, the team needed a comprehensive API platform that could serve the educational needs of their broad community. One of the founding DevNet members was a longtime Postman user and saw the Postman API platform as a strategic component of DevNet’s new tech stack. Postman simplified API access, delivery, and usage for all users, making it an ideal choice to include in DevNet’s tutorials, getting started guides, webinars, and more.
Postman powers DevNet Learning Labs
One of DevNet’s core educational offerings is the Learning Lab series, which gives users a deep dive into particular technologies and concepts. Many of the API training modules contain Postman examples using sample Postman Collections to help deliver the lesson. Each collection includes a set of requests that demonstrate a particular call or workflow, creating a directed learning pathway that takes the user from start to finish.
For users who are new to APIs, Learning Labs introduce key concepts via Postman’s easy-to-use interface, helping them become familiar with making API calls and using APIs in their daily workflows. More experienced users can dip into a technology-specific Learning Lab to quickly get what they need. Running a Cisco DevNet Learning Lab module on Postman makes it easy for them to refresh their understanding of Cisco’s platforms or check out the latest features.
Postman Collections give our users an easy path to gaining basic API skills or a quick on-ramp to new Cisco APIs and features.
Cisco collections on the Postman API Network
Building on their Learning Lab setup, the DevNet team considered other ways to leverage their Postman Collections. Their goal was to expose their APIs to a wider audience, as well as support developers who wanted to try the APIs in a sandbox environment. The team decided to build a unified set of collections that included all of the APIs that were featured in the Learning Labs, as well as those available in the Cisco Code Exchange and other DevNet resources. This would make it easy for users to immediately get hands-on with the APIs and start using them right away.
Once built, the team posted the set of collections to the Postman API Network, thus delivering Cisco’s APIs to an expanded community of more than 13 million developers. Whenever a new feature is added, they can simply push an update to the collections. The team continues to add more collections to the network spanning Cisco’s networking, security, and video conferencing solutions. Users can not only discover APIs, but they can also import collections directly to local clients. To date, the Cisco page has delivered more than three thousand imports.
The Postman API Network gives developers a one-stop shop for getting the collections they need so they can hit the ground running.
Once users have imported a collection, they can immediately run requests in their environment; if they don't have access to infrastructure, they can leverage DevNet Sandboxes.
Postman streamlines development in sandbox environments
Many of Cisco’s APIs are connected to hardware devices, which makes it difficult for users in an exploratory phase to have a meaningful interaction with the APIs. To get around this hurdle, the DevNet team created a cloud-based sandbox environment that enables users to easily see the APIs in action. Postman environments help to make this possible by enabling the team to configure a list of variables that can be used to easily switch between environments, such as their sandbox, Learning Lab, and production. The platform automatically connects Postman Collections and test data to the Postman environments, stitching everything together into a seamless user experience.
Postman environments help us create a hands-on experience for our sandbox users—they get a fully functional setup to try out APIs on their own without needing assistance.
From API basics to “Hello, World”
DevNet’s motto is “See it, Learn it, Code it.” Postman is integral to the first two imperatives by giving users easy-to-use tools to explore Cisco APIs during those early but critical steps toward delivering usable code. The team’s commitment to getting users hands-on with APIs as quickly as possible has greatly resonated with their developer community. The team has seen many “aha moments” and positive feedback from users, showing that interactive education not only builds competency, but also advocacy.