API specialist Postman has updated its API monitoring features to allow developers working on IoT edge computing to run API tests from different geographical locations.
Edge computing looks set to play a major part in the development of the IoT. Analysts at Research & Markets go as far as predicting an $80 billion market for edge computing technologies by 2021.
When they talk about ‘mobile edge computing’ (or MEC), they are basically referring to the technologies that enable processing and analysis of data to be performed close to the source of data – in close proximity to a sensor or smart meter, for example – rather than in some distant, centralized location, possibly in the cloud.
The uptake of edge computing as an architectural model has implications not just for network engineers, but also for the applications developers who seek to run software out on the edge, weaving devices and data together through the use of application programming interfaces (APIs).
This is where Postman, a company that builds software enabling developers to build, test and document APIs, hopes to deliver. The company has recently updated its API monitoring features to allow developers to select geographical locations from which to run API tests.
This is an important capability because, as explained here, APIs define the route for a programmer to code a program (or program component) capable of requesting services from an operating system (OS) or other application.
The upshot of the more intricate web of data connections introduced by edge computing is a need to be able to test APIs of different kinds, in different compute models and, crucially, in many different locations.
With that in mind, Postman’s software enables developers to monitor and measure network latency issues that occur between a network in one region and a network in another. The company claims that monitoring traffic in multiple locations will help developers to quickly detect and resolve these issues before IoT devices (and the users who depend on them) run into problems.
The Postman implementation for regional monitoring mirrors the Amazon Web Services (AWS) footprint, thus allowing Postman to support the many regions that AWS supports and to add new regions, as and when AWS adds new datacenters.
From San Francisco to Bangalore
It’s important to test the behavior of APIs in multiple locations, says Abhinav Asthana, CEO and co-founder of Postman: “For example, you could test the latency behavior of API calls from San Francisco to Bangalore and compare [them] to the latency behavior from San Francisco and New York.”
“With Postman, you can select the appropriate geographical regions for both locations and check the API response times. If it takes a significantly longer time for your API to load in Bangalore than it does in New York, then Bangalore users might not get the maximum performance of the application. With this information, developers can re-factor the code to increase latency for Bangalore users,” he explains.
Postman supports six regions to allow broad coverage: US East, US West, Canada, EU, Asia-Pacific, and South America.
Developers at software giant Microsoft are using Postman’s tools. “On the Microsoft Education team, we’ve moved from using Postman as a highly productive dev console to monitoring our APIs with just a few clicks,” confirms Gareth Jones, API architect at Microsoft Graph.
As the so-called ‘API economy’ develops, in which new applications and services increasingly rely on data drawn from many underlying sources, stitched together through APIs, it is perhaps logical that we will see more use of tools like those from Postman, along with other API management companies. It is no secret that developers often find it tough to document and manage APIs and that challenge will only grow with the rise of edge computing in the IoT. So, for these reasons, it seems like Postman may be knocking on the right door.