Mastering the Box API with Postman – Rory Paap, Senior Sales Engineer at Box

When I started my journey at "Box.net" more than two and a half years ago, my first job at a software company, I didn't know what Workday, Jive, Splunk or Zendesk were, and I hardly knew what Salesforce.com was. Sadly, I didn't even know what Evernote or Dropbox were! Software as a Service (SaaS) was a completely new concept to me. I previously logged my 8-hour days in procurement for one of the largest value companies in the world, a defense and aerospace company. My education background was in finance, not computer science. And somewhat needless to say, the business tools for collaboration at my previous employer weren't exactly cutting edge, so I had little exposure to them.

While cutting my teeth in my first software gig in the customer success organization, I had the fortune of sitting next to Box's very first post-sales technical consultant. One of his favorite tools happened to be none other than Postman. I spent my first couple of quarters focused on becoming a product expert to consult with customers on their basic use cases and deployment of Box. Mastering that, my attention and curiosity quickly shifted from basic product features to questions about how mobile apps worked, how sync worked, how customers automated certain processes in Box, and the intricacies of custom development. While sitting next to my new colleague I was able to soak up a lot of information.

Armed with one of my new favorite tools, I set out to better understand what it was all about and how it worked. I started out small: doing things like getting an auth token and listing the items in the root of my Box account. Before long, I realized the best way to ramp up my knowledge would be to reproduce every call that could be made to Box's API and save them as collections. Without ever writing a single line of code, I had come to understand what was possible using the Box API.  (There's also little doubt that Box's shift from a SOAP-based API to an elegant, easy-to-use RESTful V2 API flattened my learning curve!)

Nowadays, in a matter of minutes, a question on whether a particular action is possible via Box's REST API is answerable by using my favorite Postman feature: collections. At least a few times a week I find myself in Postman, verifying that a certain request is possible based on a team member, customer or developer inquiry, or even occasionally discovering and reproducing a bug that I can report to our engineering team. Knowing first hand that it's a great educational tool, myself and others use it to educate colleagues at Box and even use it in discussions and platform demonstrations with customers.

So while Postman is a delightful tool for developers to test APIs and even showcase their recent dev work via post-sprint demos, it can also be a wonderful education tool that can elevate someone with curiosity and a willingness to tinker around to the point of being quite knowledgable about the use, possibilities and limits of a particular set of REST APIs. I know I personally owe at least a portion of the credit for my transformation from a non-technical procurement professional with no software experience to a senior sales engineer at Box in fewer than two and a half years to Postman.

If you're interested in getting a copy of the Box Content and Box View collections I created, you can get them here. And please come to Box Dev at Fort Mason in San Francisco on March 26. Don't come to see just me and many more Boxers, including my CEO @Levie, come to see amazing speakers like Steven Sinofski, Ben Horowitz and Phil Libin. You can sign up here.

Rory is a Senior Sales Engineer at Box.com. You can follow him on Twitter @paapfly

This post is part of an ongoing effort to showcase how developers and companies are doing amazing things with Postman. If you want to share your experience on this blog, do email me at abhinav@getpostman.com! – Abhinav (@a85)