Postman Flows Early Access: Feature Guide

I’ve been wrapping my head around the latest Postman Flows early access release, and this one is a biggie. Of course it is still subject to further change still, but as outlined by the team in the linked post, the major changes to the current beta version of the low code API workflow feature called Flows are:-

Start at the Start

  • Back by popular demand, the return of the Start button – don’t call it a comeback!

Simple Block List

Massively simplified list of blocks, probably around 50% are left (those that didn’t make the cut include Test Summary, Create Durables and Conditions blocks to name a few).

Youtube video showing the simplified block list in Postman Flows

Hooking You In With Webhooks

Webhooks – can now be added in order to trigger Flows from the Cloud – this will make CI implementation of a Flow possible as the Webhook URL that is generated when a Flow is created can be saved and called called like any other Postman request, as well as allowing a Flow to be triggered automatically by an event, say, a Slack or Discord message. I’ve tried calling this from the CLI and holy smokes it is fast!

Terminals Terminated

End of Terminalslog blocks can now be added instead, which pumps data to the console log.

YouTube video showing console log entries appearing for tests following execution of a Flow

Flows Query Language (FQL)

The arrival of Flows Query Language (FQL). FQL aims to low code-ify data that is used in our API requests and responses, to allow that data to be easily queried, accessed, reused and changed in a much simpler way than by writing complex JavaScript pre-post scripts against the APIs themselves.

An example Evaluate block, using FQL to add variable strings together to create a query for OpenAI

I suspect FQL will be subject to tweaks, but everyone acknowledges that the click and hope method used prior to this was pretty painful. To my mind it looks a lot more technical (and therefore a bit more scary for a new user to pick up) this way, so I’m hopeful that with plenty of feedback the team can continue to make the experience simpler.

But in order to use Flows for more advanced operations, there does need to be a trade off between ease of use and functionality. FQL is trying to bridge that gap by allowing us to:-

  • Generate standalone data (e.g. current date/timestamp) to use
  • Pull data from a Flow (e.g. a response body value) to use
  • Create our own variables (e.g. no times to iterate a test) to use
  • Manipulate data (trim it, combine it etc.) to turn it into something more useful

Here is Postman’s own FQL guide, which I’ve used extensively for reference.

Youtube video shows an early attempt to work out evaluate block using FQL

Summary

This feature is finally coming close to General Availability. And it feels it too – Flows is much more polished and functioning well. It is worth getting the early access version just to play around with some of these features, especially for folks who are either completely new to Postman or are regular users who want to keep up to date with what it can do.

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