The Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is the client-server network protocol powering you to surf the World Wide Web. Every time you surf the web, your browser is sending HTTP request messages for HTML pages, images, scripts, and styles sheets. Web servers handle these requests by returning response messages containing the requested resource, completing the HTTP request-response cycle.
In the Internet of People, we navigate the internet through web browsers and screens using HTTP requests which receive a response in the form of html data. Conversely, in the Internet of Things, devices are connected the internet but are limited in terms of battery, visual interfaces, and processing power. Like the Internet of Poeple, the Internet of Things needs a way to speak with the internet too. Connecting devices from the Internet of Things to the internet is done using "Application Programming Interfaces" or APIs for short. The APIs used across the web exist as a bridge between Internet of People and the Internet of Things. Using APIs, your devices can connect and interact with the web.
Furthermore, APIs are known to be “RESTful.” This means, among other things, that the API talks HTTP (the same protocol browsers use to communicate with web pages). Using a RESTful API, your data will use a HTTP method to manage data between the client and the server (here the client being the device). For a specific reference to a RESTful API Documentation, check out Ubidots API documentation to learn more about request messages structure and its subsequent response message.
In this guide we describe some available tools to you for simulating a HTTP requests from a client to a server like Ubidots. Let's get started! :)
Tools to simulate HTTP Requests
There are hundreds of tools available for generating HTTP responses, but in this guide will show you just the top 4 which we have found to be the most reliable. Is important note that many tools exists for generating HTTP responses. These include:
Browser Add-On Tools
The most common HTTP request tool is Online Request Tools. These tools are easy to use and produce a clean outputs. These are not necessarily the best tools because they are limited to the basis HTTP requests and therefore cannot run scripts, generate reports, or create web socket connections. But, as the most common HTTP request tools, we felt best to give an intro to the most commonly uses tools before getting more specific.
The Top Three
Before writing this post, I asked to the Ubidots Development Team which of all the tools available to generate HTTP request are most commonly used on a daily basis. Comparing the answers of the Team we arrived at these #Top3
Postman was designed from the ground up, to support all aspects of API development. Postman's apps are built on a single underlying layer, ensuring consistent performance and user experience. Postman also mirrors your existing API Development Workflow; it has Run, Test, Document & Monitor features, designed to work seamlessly together to make your current workflow fast, concise, and simple.
2. Insomnia REST Client
It is a powerful HTTP tool belt, in one intuitive app. You can get Insomnia from the Chrome Web Store as Extension, or download the app here. Insomnia REST client is free and open source on Mac, Windows, and Linux.
Insomnia allows you to create HTTP requests, specify URL, payload, headers, and authorization all in one place. You can also view the entire transaction, get details on every response, view the status code, body, header, cookies, and much more!
Insomnia REST Client even lets you organize everything, create work spaces or folders, drag-and-drop requests, and easily import and export your data.
3. Advanced REST Client (Chrome)
This tool allows for more advanced request debugging. Like Postman, it allows you to build a request by providing the request type and URL. However, it also lets you implement custom request types, enter raw headers, and define a custom parameter string.
You can save the request by clicking the Save button at the top of the screen and group multiple requests under a single project. Or you can store requests in Google Drive, and view a history of requests by clicking History in the sidebar.
In addition to HTTP requests, Advanced REST Client also supports WebSocket connections. On the left-hand menu, select Socket and enter the URL of the WebSocket server. If the connection is successful, you can transmit messages to and from the server effortlessly.
To get started with Advance REST Client, click here.
Now that you have the knowledge of some tools to test HTTP requests, choose one of these tools or any of the others available to you and confirm your client-server communication today.
This article was originally published in Ubidots' Blog on June 29, 2017.