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Postman Premier - The Minimal Postman you need to Learn

 ·   ·  ☕ 7 min read


Welcome to my Fullstack with Santosh. Today we are going to learn about how to use Postman as a backend engineer to make our daily life easier. Postman is an API testing tool where you can test your REST APIs. It has now developed into handling many different kinds of interfaces, but today we are going to focus on the REST APIs.

Make sure you have Postman already installed. I work on Ubuntu and the way I install is sudo snap install postman. You can find instructions about your platform on the downloads page:

When you open Postman for the first time, you might see a screen similar to this:

Postman home screen
Postman home screen

Your home screen might appear a little different because 1. I have already signed in. 2. I have already created some workspaces. 3. I have changed the theme to dark.

Create a collection

Before you even start to test endpoints in your server, the first thing you’d do is create a collection. Press that little + button on the left column.

Create new collection
Create new collection

Give it a name. I’m going to name it Postman Premier.

There are a lot more things that can be done with a Collection. But for now, let’s not get deep into it.

Note: If you don’t have an API to test, you can refer to my previous blog posts: Building a Book Store API in Golang With Gin and How to Integrate Swagger UI in Go Backend - Gin Edition where I show how you can develop your simple CRUD server in Go. It’s worth a look.

Working with Requests

I am going to test my gingo server, which is a CRUD server I have developed before. I already have linked them above.

Creating a GET Request to get introduced to UI

I have already run my gingo server and I am going to make a GET request at http://localhost:8090/api/v1/books.

Creating a request is straightforward in Postman. Let’s start with creating a GET request.

When you expand your created collection on the left column, you’ll see a link called Create a request. Click on that, and a tab will open in the main column.

In that window, a text will already be selected. This is the identifier of the request. I like to name my request the same as the path of the endpoint. In my case, I’m going to name it /books.

The next thing you do is select a verb. There is a dropdown just below the name of the request. This will by default be GET. For this particular request, we don’t modify that.

Next, we’ll input the address of the endpoint we need to hit. I’ve input http://localhost:8090/api/v1/books.

We don’t need any other setting for now. Don’t be intimidated by the UI if you don’t understand it yet.

I have recorded a gif for your reference. Here it goes.

Create a GET request
Create a GET request

What we covered in this section: Creating a request, request name, request verb, and request path.

Path Parameters

We can get all books. Let us get a specific book; by ISBN.

The quickest way to create our next request is to duplicate the previous one and modify the duplicated one.

Let us name this new request /books/:isbn. For the path, we’re going to use localhost:8090/api/v1/books/:isbn. As soon as you write :isbn in the path input, Params section will be highlighted.

When you navigate to that tab, you’d see isbn is already added as KEY in Path Variables section. You need to provide value. You can get ISBN from the response of the previous endpoint we tested. E.g. 9781612680194.

When you do this much, you should see a single book in the response, unlike the previous response, which had all the books.

Below is a gif for this section.

Working with path params
Working with path params

Creating a POST Request and working with Body and Headers

Duplicate the first endpoint we created again, but this time, change the verb to POST.

In the previous section Params section was highlighted. This time you need to highlight the Body section.

When you highlight Body, you’ll see a group of radio buttons. Click on the one labeled with raw. A dropdown will appear at the right with the text Text. Click on the dropdown and select JSON.

When you select JSON from the dropdown, a new header is added to the request. You can see the header when you highlight the Headers tab. In this tab, you can see many other headers already added by Postman.

When the header is set, use the following body to make a POST request:

    "isbn": "9780137081073",
    "title": "The Clean Coder",
    "author": "Robert C. Martin"

Here is a gif of me doing the same thing.

Working with body and header
Working with body and header

For those who don’t know. Headers are not limited to POST requests. It might be required for a GET endpoint to have an auth token in its header.

Making requests for other verbs such as DELETE and PUT is no different. I left it over for you to try with those.

Working with variables

Using Collection variables

We have different variable scopes available when working with Postman:

Global > Collection > Environment > Local

They all have their use case:

  • Global - Global variables are global to all the collections you have in Postman. This should be mostly avoided.
  • Collection - This one is my favorite. You can have collection-level variables for say credentials, baseurl, etc.
  • Environment - If you are testing a collection with multiple data sets or conditions. Environment variables come to use.
  • Local - Local variables are local to request and will override all other scopes variables.

I’ll demonstrate Collection variables, but all behave the same way and have similar UI.

Click on the Postman Premier collection and you’ll see 4 tabs. Authorization, Pre-request Script, Tests and Variables. Click on the variables.

Collection Variables use case: We are doing a lot of repetitions in each of the requests. We are inputting the base URL of the server each time. If we had to somehow modify the port address, we would have to modify it for all.

Let us change that to use a variable. If we ever need to change the value of the baseurl, we’ll only be changing that in a single place.

When you see the variables tab, you’ll see a table with 3 columns. Namely VARIABLE, INITIAL VALUE, and CURRENT VALUE. Set VARIABLE = baseUrl, INITIAL VALUE = http://localhost:8090/api/v1, CURRENT VALUE = http://localhost:8090/api/v1. INITIAL_VALUE and CURRENT_VALUE are the same here, but CURRENT_VALUE can be programmatically changed during request-response life cycle.

Working with collection variables
Working with collection variables

Now change all the occurrences of http://localhost:8090/api/v1 in the collection’s URL section to {{baseUrl}}. This will be a manual process, but this is worth it.

Saving response data in variables

Why would you want to save response data in a variable?

That is a good question to ask. One such use case is user login. When you log in to a service, you’d get some kind of token with a certain validity time. That token is needed to make further requests. We can add a header using Pre-request script using the variable we save.

Our gingo server does not have a user authentication module right now. Let us try saving isbn from a GET request.

This may sound a little bit misleading, but anything you want to do after a request goes inside the Tests tab. This also includes setting a variable for a session.

Go to the Tests section of /books/:isbn and add this javascript code:

const body = pm.response.json()
pm.collectionVariables.set("isbn", body.isbn);

The code is straightforward. We are storing the JSON response in a const called body. Then we access the collection variable using pm.collectionVariables. We then set the variable name isbn with the value of body.isbn.

Here is me doing the same thing.

Saving response data in variables
Saving response data in variables

Similar to collection variables, we can set any scope of variable we discussed above.


In this post, we saw some basic use cases of Postman. In upcoming posts, we’ll see more advanced use cases. Until then, subscribe and stay updated.

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Santosh Kumar
Santosh Kumar
Santosh is a Software Developer currently working with NuNet as a Full Stack Developer.