MuleSoft Releases API Workbench IDE for Modern API Design

MuleSoft,  an API-led connectivity Platform provider, has launched a beta release of API Workbench, an integrated development environment (IDE) that makes it possible for developers to build RESTful APIs based on a standard, design-first approach. API Workbench supports both RAML 0.8 and the newly launched RAML 1.0. RAML (RESTful API Modeling Language) is one of several API description specifications than can be used to design and document APIs. RAML was initially contributed to the public domain in October 2013 by MuleSoft (MuleSoft is the parent company of ProgrammableWeb).

Screenshot: The three panes of API Workbench as it appears in Github's IDE

The new API Workbench is free to developers who can use it for designing RESTful HTTP APIs as well as building, testing, documenting and sharing APIs. API Workbench is based on the Atom code editor by GitHub and is also built around RAML.

According to MuleSoft CTO and RAML founder Uri Sarid, "[With API Workbench,] API design is no longer a second-class citizen. Developers can now work on their RAML API specs wherever they are, while also taking advantage of built-in git support, in-line console, debugging, Mocking capabilities, code generation, test capabilities and more, all in a single plugin to GitHub's popular and extensible Atom editor. Using Atom, developed by Github, as its core - API Workbench can leverage every single package available inside the Atom repository to enhance and customize the experience for API designer."

API Workbench capabilities include (but are not limited to):


  • Desktop-based IDE that features advanced search, autocomplete, live debugging, symbol-based navigation, and more.
  • Dynamically-generated API console and API mocking service
  • RAML code validation and easy to use wizards
  • Built-in Git Integration for source control and Versioning
  • Integrated scripting engine and tooling for testing and use case Documentation

The free API Workbench plugin for the Atom IDE  can be downloaded from the website or through the API Workbench repository on GitHub.

Screenshot: Inside the Workbench, API Designer is able to create a structured RAML project that includes all the files to support an API's design. For example, not just the core design of the API, but also the different artifacts associated with it (i.e.: libraries, security shemas, annotations, data types, etc.). All project-specific files and artifacts are seamlessly integrated into the Atom-based IDE's U/X, thereby eliminating most if not all of the friction that's typically encountered when designing APIs. For example, in true IDE fashion, the IDE is always aware of all references in all files and artifacts in such a way that someone designing an API is supported with any relevant contextual information as well as auto-completion. The screenshot above shows how you have all of the different artifacts available on the left hand side of the Workbench and how each can be opened separately in a new tab that shows the content in an editor in the middle of the IDE.

One of Mulesoft's objectives for API Workbench is to promote a "design-first approach to designing APIs." Also Known as "API-first design," this approach encourages API designers to ignore any legacy issues (ie: pre-existing infrastructure) that could constrain an API's design. Instead, APIs should be designed "clean-room" style with the ultimate desires of developers and other consumers in mind. If, after the design is complete, it doesn't match the capabilities of the existing infrastructure, API-first design promotes the idea of fixing the infrastructure to meet the design before considering the reverse. API Workbench also helps to promote one of RAML's primary design tenants: simplicity. The goal of RAML is to make it as simple as possible to read, write, and reuse some or all of an API's design.

Screenshot: With API Workbench integrated directly into Atom, the main menu offers API designers direct access to all of the necessary tooling for designing APIs.

For more information about API Workbench, visit To learn more about RAML, visit

Be sure to read the next API Design article: Automating APIs Is a Good Thing--Some of the Time