How Hoppscotch is building an open source ‘API development ecosystem’

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As companies continue their transition from on-premises, monolithic software to the cloud and a microservices-based architecture, this has opened the door for myriad companies to capitalize on the booming API economy. In 2021, APIs (application programming interfaces) are the glue that holds most software together — they are what bring data to sales and marketing teams; privacy to banking and health care apps; and maps to your fitness-tracking app.

APIs and microservices give companies greater flexibility and agility in terms of developing and scaling their software — even with all the resources in the world, why would a company such as Uber develop its own in-app messaging infrastructure, when it can tap purpose-built APIs from a company such as Messagebird instead?

And it’s against that backdrop that Hoppscotch is setting out to build what it calls an “API development ecosystem,” with open source at its core. Founded out of Kerala, India, in 2019 by Liyas Thomas, Hoppscotch has steadily gained traction over the past couple of years, and claims some 500,000 developer users — and many from major companies such as Google, Microsoft, Salesforce, and IBM are leaning on the open source project to develop and test their APIs.

To take things to the next level in pursuit of commercialization, Hoppscotch today announced that it has raised $3 million in seed round of funding led by OSS Capital, with participation from WordPress.com parent company Automattic and a slew of angel investors.

API collaboration

The Hoppscotch platform constitutes multiple integrated API development tools, aimed at engineers, software developers, quality assurance (QA) testers, and product managers. It includes a web client, which is pitched as an “online collaborative API playground,” enabling multiple developers or teams to build, test, and share APIs. A separate command line interface (CLI) tool, meanwhile, is designed for integrating automated test runners as part of CI/CD pipelines. And then there is the API documentation generator, which helps developers create, publish, and maintain all the necessary API documentation in real time.

Hoppscotch for teams, which is currently in public beta, allows companies to create individual groups for specific use-cases. For example, it can create a team for its entire in-house workforce, where anyone can share APIs and related communications with anyone else. They can also create smaller groups for specific teams, such as QA testers, or for external vendors and partners where sensitive data needs to be kept separate from specific projects they are involved in.

Above: Hoppscotch for teams

While APIs are integral to most software these days, they also serve as a gateway for sensitive data — whether that’s personally identifiable (PII) information in a health care app, or tokens and passwords used for access to databases and other critical infrastructure. And this is why Hoppscotch has adopted an open source ethos from the get go — companies can elect to host Hoppscotch entirely in-house, giving them full control and visibility over their data.

“An API tooling system connects directly with the backend and database infrastructure — telemetry and tracking information in proprietary services are hidden almost every time, [but] this should be transparent and flexible,” Thomas told VentureBeat. “Open source tools provide visibility into how such a tool handles companies’ sensitive information, allowing the community to collaboratively improve the user’s privacy and security of APIs under management.”

There are some obvious incumbents in the API development tool space, including the likes of Postman which is now a $5.6 billion company following a mammoth funding round a few months back. And in the open source sphere, there is Insomnia which Kong acquired back in 2019.

However, with $3 million in the bank, Hoppscotch is aiming to build out a commercial product with specific enterprise-grade features, extending through the entire API development process.

“Right now, there is no other open source API tooling infrastructure capable of providing continuous integration throughout all API development lifecycles,” Thomas said. “Hoppscotch seeks to bundle design, development, testing, consumption, and documentation of APIs under a single umbrella for developers and consumers.”

In the coming months, Hoppscotch will start rolling out a hosted cloud service, enterprise-grade features such as support for single sign-on (SSO) authentication, and premium support and services for on-premises deployments.

“We started Hoppscotch with a simple insight — building and testing APIs has increasingly grown in complexity,” Thomas explained. “The current approach is to layer on more processes and cumbersome tools. We want to see a world that unwinds all of this complexity by providing the practices and tools that fit the developers workflow, empowering teams to focus on the act of building. This funding, along with the support from our investors, gives us the resources to really accelerate and go after defining the new standard for software development.”

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