Monitor your API’s with Postman

Do you write and maintain APIs?  Do you know how they’re performing?  If any of your endpoints are returning data, are you sure the schema of the data returned is correct?  You could write your own monitoring solution from scratch, but who has time to do that?   I’ve found Postman to be a great solution for monitoring my APIs. Granted, using it is like a car mechanic taking their car to a service center to get their oil changed, but for me its about saving time.  Tons of time.

Postman has so many features, it would be tough to write about all of them in one blog entry.  I’ll tackle my favorites for now.   First, with Postman, you can fire off scheduled, automated requests to your APIs which are grouped into collections,  with monitors.   Monitors not only let you call your endpoints with optional data parameters, but you can check the results of each call with configurable tests.  Postman can also automatically generate API docs for you, complete with a curl endpoint call ready to copy and paste into your shell.  You can even publish these docs with a paid tier subscription.

Postman has an online dashboard as well as a desktop app component. Here’s my dashboard containing a couple monitors I have set up.

Postman online dashboard

With the desktop app you can set up, configure and call any of your endpoints, set collections and monitors, then sync them to the cloud.  Collections between the online dashboard and desktop component are synchronized when you are signed in.  This is a great feature if you want to check things on the go, or are switching between computers.   Here’s a view from the online dash of a call history from a monitor I have set up.

Postman Collection History

There are several usage plans available, including a free tier, Pro and Enterprise tier, each with features you can read about.

Another amazing feature is the API Network.  This allows you to pull in ready made API client configurations from published third parties right  into your desktop app.  Here’s an example from the Bing Cognitive Services API.  You can see my query is all set up for me, I just have to obtain a key and replace the placeholder value with it.  This is super cool.

Postman Bing API

But wait, there’s more.  You can also set up mock servers for your endpoints before they are even live!  This is great for when you want to simulate a response from a call before you’ve written the code.    Full disclosure, this is not a paid endorsement of Postman, its just that neat of a tool.

Say goodbye to debugging Xamarin iOS on a different machine with Remoted iOS Simulator (for Windows)

The Remoted iOS Simulator (for Windows) just came out for Visual Studio, and if you haven’t tried it, I definitely recommend doing so if you are tired of remoting into your MAC build server to debug your Xamarin iOS apps.

The Remoted iOS Simulator allows you to “Test and debug iOS apps entirely within Visual Studio on Windows”.  I must say having tried it out, I found it works as advertised!  It’s wonderful to be able to run a fully live, real iOS app in a simulator window locally.  It saves time as I don’t have to remote into my Mac build server or be physically near it to interact with a running app.

Simply download the installer, run it, and you’re good to go.  Set your iOS Xamarin project as the startup project.  When you hit ‘debug’ a local iOS simulator pops up and runs locally right on your machine.  You can interact with the app as it runs on the Mac.

The simulator has some basic but useful features like locking the home screen, setting the location, and the ability to rotate and shake the device.

Here is a screenshot of a map view in a real app.  Giddy!  Best of all, the simulator stays running and connected to your Mac after you stop debugging so can use a live Xaml previewer like Gorilla Player for design time visuals.  This is one breakthrough that deserves full applause from the masses.

An app running in the Remoted Simulator for Visual Studio on Windows

 

 

 

 

 

Multi-Line Code Editing in Visual Studio 2017

Here’s a quick tip if you’ve ever wanted to edit multiple lines of code at once in Visual Studio. Simply position your cursor at a point in your code, then press and hold SHIFT and ALT.  Next, press the up or down arrow to select the lines you want to edit.  When you begin typing you will behold a gift from the gods – editing multiple lines at once!

Multi Select Visual Studio
Multi Select Visual Studio

Colorzilla Developer Add-On for Firefox

I found this amazing tool today:  The ColorZilla developer add-on tool for Firefox.  If you’re a web developer, and like browser F12 tools, you’ll love this.  It has an Eyedropper tool that lets you easily get the color of anything in the browser window, then automatically copies it to your clipboard.

EyeDropper

There are plenty of other features too, such as a color palette browser, and a webpage DOM color analyzer, which its pretty cool.  It extracts all the colors for the page in your current tab.

DomAnalyzer

My advice?  Definitely worth installing!

Edit in peek definition Window!

This is the coolest thing since Spreadable Bacon.  In Visual Studio 2017, you can view a method definition, and edit the code right in a pop up window with the Peek Definition command.  In the screenshot below, I’m actually editing the code right in the pop up window itself.  This will save you a bunch of time by not having to dig down into other folders where your classes or methods are defined, just to make a minor adjustment.

peekDefinition