Introducing Talend API Services: Providing Best in Class Purpose-Built Applications
Have you heard? Talend Fall ’18 is here and continues on Talend’s plan to meet the challenges of today’s data professionals around organizing, processing and sharing data at scale. Earlier Jean-Michel Franco wrote up about the Data Catalog portion of this exciting Fall 2018 launch. In this blog I’d like to focus on our new API features.
For many organizations, APIs are no longer just technological creations of engineers to connect components of a distributed system. Today, APIs are directly driving business revenues, enabling innovation, and are the source of connectivity with partners.
With our Fall ‘18 Launch, Talend Cloud will include a new API delivery platform, Talend Cloud API Services. Our delivery platform provides best in class purpose-built applications for API-first creation, testing, and documentation. Essentially, this platform enables organizations to be more agile in their API development. The platform provides productivity gains compared to hand coding through easy to use graphical design supporting both technical and less-technical personal.
Additional enhancements to existing tools for API implementation and operation ensures organizations have a comprehensive approach to building user-friendly data APIs. And finally, Talend Cloud’s full support for open standards such as OAS, Swagger, and RAML makes the Talend API delivery platform complementary to existing third-party API gateways and catalogs. Allowing for easy implementation with your existing gateway or catalog.
Talend Cloud API Designer
With Fall ’18, Talend Cloud provides a new purpose-built application for designing API contracts visually instead of having to go the traditional route of hand coding. Developers can start from scratch or import an existing OAS / RAML definition. The interface allows developers to define API data types, resources, operations, parameters, responses, media types, and errors.
Once a developer is finished defining their contract, the API designer will generate the OAS / RAML definition for you! This can be used later as part of the service(s) creation or imported into an existing API gateway / API catalog. I took a quick screenshot to show what the interface is going to look like.
Now I know how much everyone likes to write documentation (or maybe not). Thankfully with the API designer, the basic documentation is auto-generated for you. Users can then host it on Talend Cloud and easily share it with end consumers in a public or private mode. Talend Cloud API Designer also provides users with the ability to extend the generated documentation through an included rich text editor. Below is an example of the documentation generated by Talend Cloud API Designer.
Talend Cloud API Designer also provides Automatic API mocking that can act as a live preview for end consumers, decoupling support for consumer application development while the backend services are developed. Mocked API’s can return data specified during the contract design or automatically generate the data based on the defined data structure.
This mock is kept up to date throughout the development process and enabled using the interface below. This will be a huge benefit for the consumers of my API, they won't have to wait for me to finish building the back end before they start writing their applications. It’s pretty easy to turn on inside API designer. A single click and users are off to the races.
Talend Cloud API Tester
Fall ’18 also includes a new application within Talend Cloud called Talend Cloud API Tester. Though this interface, QA / DevOps teams can easily call and inspect any HTTP based API. It works with complex JSON or XML responses enabling teams to validate the API’s behavior. Calls made are stored so I can easily look back into my history for what I’ve done before. An example of the interface is shown below.
My favorite feature of Talend Cloud API Tester is the ability to chain API calls together to create scenarios. These chained requests can utilize data returned from a previous call as parameters in the next call enabling teams to create real-world examples of how the API will be used. Thankfully this will keep my notepad++ tabs down to a minimum. An example of this scenario design is provided below.
Throughout the testing process, I can define assertions to help validate API responses. Responses can check payloads for completeness, how timely a response was or even if a field has a specific value. Here’s an example of an assertion I made recently.
The last benefit I’d like to highlight is that test cases created using API Tester can be exported for use within a continuous integration / continuous delivery pipeline ensuring further updates to the API’s maintain consistency.
Talend Studio for API implementation
We’ve made it simple to start working with the API’s built-in API designer. There’s a new metadata group called REST API definitions. A couple clicks and I’ve downloaded the API and am ready to start building.
We can use this contract to bootstrap a service using the contract’s defined URIs, media types, parameters, etc. This approach expedites delivery of the backend service by reducing the complexity of defining the various functions.
There are also some updates to Talend Data Mapper, I can use the defined schema from the API definition as the return schema from TDM! It is a lot easier converting data into the expected media type/structure.
Talend Cloud for API Operation
Yep, Talend cloud can now manage the services you’ve built in the studio, just like we manage data integration jobs. If this is your first time hearing about Talend Cloud, it provides a managed environment that enables developers to publish services developed in Talend studio into the Talend Management Console’s artifact repository or a third-party repository and manage the various environments the service needs to be deployed as part of the QA / DevOps process. An example of this management can be seen in the snippet
As you can see there is a mountain of functionality available in the new Talend Cloud API services. If you’d like to see more of this stay tuned we have a series of videos/enablement material to get you all up to speed.
I look forward to hearing about the API’s you plan to build and stay tuned to upcoming blogs from Talend if you’re looking for some inspiration. I’ll be following this blog up with a series of use cases we’ve seen and are hearing about!