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In the past few weeks, Postman have released a Beta version of a long awaited new feature, which they are calling Flows.
TLDR: look at the YouTube vids at the bottom of this blog post, they’ll tell you all you need to know. This includes a brand new video showing how to “chain” request data together to pass variables between requests. Enjoy!
What is it?
Here are the words of Postmanaught Neil Studd, on the fab new Tech Team Weekly podcast:-
“We’ve done a soft launch for a new feature called Flows, which we’ve been working on for ages. Basically it is a widget based canvas that you can drag and drop components and link them together.
Flows is basically our codeless approach to chaining processes together. It really opens up Postman to a whole new audience.”
Now I have been waiting for this to drop for awhile, partly out of sheer consumer curiosity as someone who is still reasonably inexpert when it comes to code, and partly because I had originally wanted to include a chapter on this feature in my Test Automation University Postman course. I think any technology that wants to make it easier for non-tech people to get into and not harder gets my vote, so this is an exciting area for Postman to move into.
I’ve had an hour or so to take a look at the beta, and here are my thoughts, as well as tips on how to use it.
How do I find Flows?
Firstly, Flows can only currently be found in the Web version of Postman. If you are using the desktop app, you can easily login to the web version should you wish to check this out.
UPDATE: Flows can be found in both the Web version and the desktop Postman app.
To access Flows:-
- Select a workspace
- Select Flows from the left hand horizontal menu (underneath History)
- Click on “new flow” to view the canvas
Click on the “flow” menu on the bottom of the left hand side of the screen.
How Do I Get Started Using Flows?
It is very important to say that this is only a BETA version, and inevitably lots of changes will happen between now and the final formal release. I have to be completely honest here and admit that it wasn’t the most intuitive feature for me to get to grips with, but nor was it so painful I had to give up on it completely. I’m sure by the time you come to read this Postman will be several iterations in and it will look and feel much better.
If you wish to explore for yourself, the Flows work by adding blocks in a chain. Think like a daisy chain necklace. Currently these blocks can take several forms in Postman:-
If you want to learn more about what each of the blocks do, read my other post here.
There are tonnes of use cases for this that I’m sure your brain is whirring with already, but I’m going to start with a basic example.
Say you are using an endpoint that returns a list of bookings for your hotel. You want to see if there have been lots of bookings, or its been a slow day and you haven’t had much success.
With PostmanFlows you can use blocks like “send request”, and then add a chain to a “for each” condition – this allows you to iterate through the response and run a query against it using a third block called “validate”. Finally, as the validate outputs a true or false data, each of those records can be sent to a different “terminal” log group, allowing you to view what data has been applied to what “pot”.
You can see this for yourself in much more detail in this YouTube vid:-
And here is another vid on how to chain requests together to “flow” data from one request to the next.
I hope this very basic guide to this new feature is useful to you. I’m looking forward to what future iterations bring, and will aim to update this blog post with future updates.