Performance data is managed via APIs
The VideoAmp platform leverages a number of REST APIs that route massive amounts of data between various microservices, a Postgres database, and a Snowflake data warehouse. Once processed, data is sent to the platform’s internal UI to enable VideoAmp’s sales teams to help customers forecast ad sales and tailor ads to the right markets and audiences.
The VideoAmp engineering teams develop and test those APIs with the Postman API Platform to collaborate and share information, ensuring maximum efficiency and productivity across team functions. More than 50 engineers actively use Postman as part of their regular workflows, including frontend and backend developers, data engineers, and QE engineers.
Developers run Postman locally during API development
While working on APIs, VideoAmp developers run a local instance of Postman to test their progress before committing their code. Typically, whenever a backend developer adds a new endpoint to an API, they’ll first work with the frontend developer to decide the URL path, query parameters, and request body shape. Then, they’ll add the endpoint to the respective Postman Collection and proceed with coding the update. Using the workspace’s environment variables, the developer then switches between local and staging environments to test the update and communicate issues with colleagues, before finally switching to a production environment for one final test. As part of their workflow, VideoAmp developers add examples of different inputs in Postman for future team reference and collaboration.
Whenever I get started with a new endpoint, I’ll run it first locally in Postman to see how it works and then add it to our team collection for everyone to use.
Ad hoc endpoint testing is fast and easy
VideoAmp’s QE team is responsible for testing updates to APIs and making sure that all APIs remain performant on production. During development, the team is often called upon to help test and debug new endpoints. After an endpoint is created, the team will add it to a Postman Collection and run requests to make sure the correct responses are returned. They’ll first check that the endpoint is running, see that a 200 status code is returned, and then try to break the endpoint. If it holds up, then they merge the endpoint into a development environment.
Occasionally during testing, the team uses the Postman Interceptor to sync cookies from a Chrome browser, capture network requests directly from Chrome, and save them to a collection. This provides visibility into any errors stemming from the UI or browser, particularly during authentication.
Centralized collaboration boosts team efficiency
The VideoAmp engineering organization maintains a unified Postman Workspace that serves as a central hub for cross-team collaboration and information. Whenever issues arise, developers and testers can more easily work together on a resolution.
The workspace includes approximately 35 shared Postman Collections that map to various microservices, and it also allows teams to share and manage multiple environments. Anytime someone syncs a collection or environment variable, it’s immediately shared across the whole organization. The team maintains a manual version-control system that makes collection updates visible to all.
Collaborating on Postman helps our teams work more efficiently together and deploy updates faster.
Improving the quality and usefulness of API documentation
VideoAmp had previously used Swagger to create documentation for their APIs. However, because the tool was tied to the API code itself, teams had to add reference information into the code, check the code into the repository, and then wait for Swagger to publish it. Due to the extra time and effort needed, the docs were not well maintained.
As a result, teams began using Postman’s API Documentation feature whenever they created a new collection or added new requests. They found it much easier to add information via the platform UI, and with the click of a button, they could automatically generate new or updated docs for everyone on the team. In addition, teams could easily add examples into the docs that show what to expect from an endpoint or request. Now, most API documentation is generated on Postman.
Next up—test automation on Postman
Across the VideoAmp organization, Postman has enabled engineers to increase their own productivity while collaborating with others more effectively. However, VideoAmp will soon amplify these benefits even further. The QE team is actively working on migrating some test automation workflows to Postman. Postman allows them to write automated test suites that include scripts within the platform’s Collection Runner. As a result, they’ll be able to run sets of requests in a specified sequence and eliminate many of the manual steps in their current workflow. With one unified, automated tool for API testing, developers, testers, and teams can work even faster together.