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).
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
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.