Performance Monitoring with API
If you are in a room with 20 engineers and you ask, “explain what an API is to a non-technical person”, you will get 20 different analogies. An API is like the on button to your TV connecting you to a variety of shows and systems, or an API is like a waiter taking your order and serving you from the kitchen. An API is like a library card catalog, or it’s simply a tool that connects you to other tools.
Classically, the User Interface (UI) is the level at which humans see, and the Application Programming Interface (API) is the level at which machines see. API is the place where machines and humans meet to interact.
If you want a catchier explanation, allow us to transport you back to 1999.
To the tune of I want it that way by the Backstreet Boys
ain’t nothing but a gateway
ain’t nothing but an interface
I never wanna hear you say,
that I can’t GET it that way
APIs are about requesting and manipulating data. We talked to some API power testers to dive deeper into how API testing platforms like Postman can be used to set up and manage your uptime and performance monitoring programmatically.
What Uptime.com Provides
First, let’s cover the tools you have to work with. Uptime.com provides interactive API Documentation, Browsable API directory, and an open API to import into your API workspace, all of which make customization and account management easier.
The schema you get when you import the open API workspace from Uptime.com into your environment is organized by feature type, and even further by feature processes and API commands (PUT, POST, PATCH, GET, etc.)
Uptime.com’s REST API supports the full range of UI functions from creating a check, to managing status page updates, and even handling those actions in bulk.
What’s Going On at the Machine Level?
We’ll answer this question with a question: “Why do you need to monitor your site beyond a simple HTTP check for status 200 OK?” It’s noticeable when something is broken, when a site is not accessible, or an application fails. What isn’t so obvious is why the failure happened in the first place. The only way to uncover the answer is to review metrics, requests, and responses to pinpoint what went wrong and correct it.
Using a tool like Postman allows you to create requests and present examples of flows that are easy for humans to read and understand.
API testing platforms help you test with assertions to validate the health of your integrations, and allow you to perform functional and regression testing.
Assertions verify if the actual and expected values match after the execution of a test. In monitoring you can validate that an HTTP(S) check returns status 200 OK, and further validate that an expected string exists on a page. Assertions in API testing follow the same concept.
Functional testing helps you verify the logic of an endpoint. If your endpoint can only receive a numeric value and you send it a string of text like “burrito”, your test will fail.
Regression testing monitors your core functionality over many changes made over a period of time and validates that the purpose of your application is not compromised by updates or alterations.
Requests can be numbered, and files organized so that the least technical person is able to open up a tool like Postman and execute or play the flow to get the right information.
If you aren’t an engineer, it can be hard to grasp the benefits of using API in your monitoring. If the API provides the same function as the UI, why do you need to make things harder on yourself by interacting with yet another tool?
The answer is that APIs allow for a lot of customization and freedom when it comes to setting up an environment to manipulate and monitor your third-party tools, integrations, and applications – all in one place.
Would it surprise you to learn that many Uptime.com users never actually login?
APIs let you validate multiple processes from multiple sources, and incorporate and manage a variety of third-parties or process you want to customize
- Amazon API Gateway
- Microsoft Azure API Management
- SAP Integration Suite
- Postman API Platform
help you understand the construction and logic of your processes, so that when you send requests out you understand what you are getting back and what that means for the health of your system.
Uptime.com provides superior alert escalation structures, however, using an API tool like the ones listed above, allows you the ability to set up additional scheduled monitors, or export everything you’re doing with your monitoring into the command line function of your API tool.
You can then upload your environment to a repository (github/github actions) to run tests on a schedule and set up your own additional systematic processes that cover not only your Uptime.com account, but other interrelated systems.
Does the Uptime.com UI provide a customizable dashboard of metrics? Yes. Does the UI integrate the metrics of other third-party tools you may use? Not on its own, but you can do this using the REST API.
Health means a lot of different things. It means knowing the current status, uptime metrics, and response times of your applications and endpoints. It also means being able to identify trends over time for speed or for status.
With monitoring, it’s not always about catching something when it breaks – sometimes the more insidious problem is solving for a decrease in response time over a period of time – and having a structure set up to catch those metric fluctuations and identify trends.
In the Uptime.com UI we offer automated and scheduled reporting for the checks in your account. With an API platform you can combine the metrics of other external tools programmatically into a similar dashboard to help automate your testing and your analysis.
The Freedom to Create
API platforms allow for testing using a graphical user interface – just a visual way of interacting with your machines. Beyond testing, API tools are about creating testing environments to meet your specific needs, and covering all of the tools that you need to monitor.
Ultimately, using an API is about optimizing your time, and Uptime.com makes that even easier with ready to access tools like our REST API and open API resource.
Minute-by-minute Uptime checks.
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