In my first blog post, I talked a little bit about myself and my work experience. Today, I'm going to be focusing on Runscope, and hopefully answer two questions: What's Runscope? And why is API monitoring important?
Runscope is an API Monitoring solution that can help organizations be the first to know when their APIs are down. APIs are a crucial part of most apps nowadays, not only as third-party dependencies but even internally with the rise of the microservices architecture. APIs are so prevalent that whole companies are built around them, such as Twilio (communications), Stripe (payment), and SendGrid (email).
APIs are at the core of how applications work in today's world. A single application such as an e-commerce website can have dozens of API dependencies, from SMS, to payment processing, to authentication. Any one of those APIs breaking can have far-reaching impacts into a system, and affect the company’s bottom line.
Using Runscope's web platform, companies can create monitors for their APIs to continually check for what we consider the three pillars of API monitoring:
- Uptime: make sure your APIs are available, and be the first one to know if they're down.
- Performance: keep track of response times and stay ahead in case of intermittent problems that could cause outages, or poor customer experience.
- Data validation: ensure that the format, data, and the structure that your APIs return are what you -- and your customers -- expect.
Why API Monitoring?
So why is API monitoring so important? Well, one of the biggest problems when working with APIs can be summed up by one word: visibility. John Sheehan, one of the founders and CEO of Runscope, wrote this in his first Runscope blog post back in 2013:
"Over the past few years the number of web and mobile apps driven by web service APIs has exploded. Modern applications are increasingly distributed with their infrastructure, data and logic woven together across a network of internal and third-party web services."
It was true back then, and even more so now. Applications can have dozens of internal and external dependencies, and making sure they know how to talk to each other, and that new changes your developers are making are not breaking anything, is a big challenge. The applications can also rely on multiple different pieces to be working correctly, some of which are even outside of the developer's control: the application’s code; the server’s the application is running on; the server’s configuration and firewall settings; and the internet connection between the API and the application requesting the APIs information.
When one of these pieces break, it can be a big challenge for development teams to track down what is broken, and how to fix it. Even worse, as a customer reported to us before they started using Runscope, sometimes bugs would happen and they could go unnoticed for days. Using an API monitoring solution can give teams the ability to be the first to know when an API is down, and have a better understanding of what went wrong and how to fix it. That means less downtime, fewer support tickets, and faster time to resolution.
Another benefit of API monitoring is improving communications across teams. When APIs go down, not only engineers are affected. The support team must be notified so they can have the required information to help customers who might be affected by any issues. Sales must be notified as well in case they’re actively talking to customers and have scheduled demos or presentations, as well as the customer success team. And, QA can be more integrated into the development process by working together with engineering to create new use cases that can be used not only in a staging environment, but across the whole development lifecycle.
Where Can I Learn More?
I'm not going to cover everything about Runscope here, but hopefully this is a good start on why Runscope was built, and why API monitoring is so important.
If you want to learn more and also see a live demo of how Runscope works, we're having a webinar with JohnCBenbow and Sam Aybar ( aybsa01 ) on February 13th, at 11am EST. They'll be covering how to set up your first API monitors, and how to leverage Runscope to check not only if your API is up, but if it's returning the correct data, and also performing well.