Built Technologies Takes an API-First, Repeatable Approach to Development on Postman

Postmanaut working with Built A P I. Illustration.

About

Built Technologies provides a digital platform that helps construction finance lenders and borrowers make better lending and spending decisions. Built's platform supports both commercial and residential owners, lenders, contractors, and other industry vendors to improve the flow of capital throughout the construction ecosystem.

APIs are critical to the Built platform, helping to reduce manual data entry, errors, and inefficiencies, as well as to prevent bad practices that compromise cash flow and reduce overall risk from construction lending. The company's APIs integrate with multiple third-party solutions in the general business, accounting and construction technology space to streamline finance processes. Postman enables Built's engineering team to optimize an API-first, repeatable approach to development using Postman Enterprise features and low-code platform tools like Postman Flows.

Results

Streamlined, standardized development

Better cross-team collaboration

More robust, consistent documentation

Higher quality code


The Challenge

The Platform team at Built is responsible for the company's reusable API layer. Currently, this is an internal API network, but eventually it will expand it to include a partner API network and make some APIs publicly available.

Previously, Built's connections to critical third-party platforms were largely in house, but as the company multiplied its customer base year over year, the team knew that APIs were strategic assets that needed to be maintained, measured, and scaled to meet the growing demand for their now multiple solutions. Therefore, Built decided to productize their APIs, which included standardized development processes and documentation.

Built team members had used Postman in product development for a number of years, but not at a corporate level. After a thorough review of the Postman platform, Built's team decided to optimize existing processes with an upgrade. The company upgraded to Postman Enterprise and adopted Postman's API-First methodology to help teams utilize the best of the platform throughout the API lifecycle.


The Solution

Built worked closely with the Postman account team to upgrade the company's account and maximize use of Postman across the organization. Postman Enterprise offered a range of features that helped the organization increase productivity, improve quality, and establish a governance structure that helped everyone work better together.

We received incredible support from our Postman account reps, which made moving to the Postman Enterprise platform seamless for us.

Thomas Schlegel, Director of Engineering, Platform, Built Technologies

Standardizing documentation processes

One of the most important areas of improvement was around documentation. With Postman, the engineering organization at large now had a central hub for generating and referencing API documentation, which made it easier to standardize their processes. Developers could easily add notes during development, and Postman's API documentation tools automatically kept the documents up to date with any changes.

Creating a repeatable set of API calls

Another important focus area was creating a playbook of repeatable API calls that could be used across multiple APIs. Thanks to the close partnership with their Postman account rep, Built became an early adopter of Postman Flows, a new tool that could help them more easily support dozens of similar use cases. This was especially important as Built needed the platform to scale as quickly as the company's fastest growing business demanded. Using the API workflow builder in Flows, developers could connect APIs logically, chain requests, and handle data right from the Postman workspace. The visualization interface in Flows makes the process simple to set up and configure for a specific use case, which is especially valuable for non-technical team members.

Postman Flows gives our non-technical team members a low-code tool to build, document, test, and implement an API workflow. That is the sweet spot for us.

Thomas Schlegel, Director of Engineering, Platform, Built Technologies

In a recent use case, the team used Flows to merge two databases together in the Built platform and migrate data and associated business rules through an API. Doing it through reusable components in Flows, rather than manually, helped the team accomplish the task faster, easier, and with fewer errors, which, ultimately, helped Built's customers get up and running faster.


The Outcome

After standardizing API processes on Postman, Built has seen a number of improvements across the organization, including streamlined development, better cross-team collaboration, robust and consistent documentation, and automated testing. Developers new to an API can ramp up quickly and start contributing with lower cognitive overhead. All code is written, tested, and released in the same way, with as many repeatable components as possible.

Postman has helped us deliver software with more repeatability and more predictability, which has improved our quality quite a bit.

Thomas Schlegel, Director of Engineering, Platform, Built Technologies

Going forward, Built intends to look for more ways to maximize their use of Postman across the organization and create more repeatable processes using low-code tools like Postman Flows.

Postman is an incredible tool for API development. It gives engineers what they need most, day in and day out.

Thomas Schlegel, Director of Engineering, Platform, Built Technologies

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