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Charles vs Postman: What are the differences?

Charles is a web debugging proxy tool that allows you to intercept and analyze HTTP and HTTPS traffic. On the other hand, Postman is a user-friendly tool to test and interact with APIs. Let's explore the key differences between Charles and Postman:

  1. Proxy Functionality: Charles is primarily designed as a web debugging proxy tool that allows developers to intercept, view, and manipulate network traffic between a client and a server. It provides comprehensive features for capturing and analyzing HTTP/HTTPS requests and responses. Postman, on the other hand, is an API client tool that focuses on creating, sending, and testing API requests. While Postman includes some proxy functionality, it is not as extensive or specialized as Charles in this regard.

  2. GUI and User Experience: Charles provides a dedicated desktop application with a feature-rich graphical user interface (GUI). It offers advanced features like request/response inspection, SSL proxying, request recording, and more. Postman also provides a GUI but has a stronger emphasis on API testing and collaboration. Its interface is designed to facilitate the creation and management of API requests, offering features like request organization, environment variables, test scripting, and team collaboration tools.

  3. API Testing and Workflow: Postman provides features like automated testing with assertions, variable substitution, test result reporting, and collection sharing for collaborative testing. Postman's GUI is optimized for managing and executing API requests, making it a comprehensive tool for API development and testing workflows. Charles, on the other hand, is more focused on network debugging and capturing traffic, making it ideal for troubleshooting network-related issues but with less emphasis on API-specific testing and workflow management.

  4. Pricing and Licensing: Charles is a commercial tool with a one-time license fee for usage. It offers a trial version with limited functionality and a licensed version with full features. Postman provides both free and paid versions, with the paid version offering additional features and team collaboration capabilities. The free version of Postman is suitable for individual developers, while the paid version caters to larger teams with advanced testing and collaboration requirements.

In summary, Charles is primarily a web debugging proxy tool that specializes in intercepting and analyzing network traffic, while Postman is a comprehensive API client with extensive testing and collaboration features.

Advice on Charles and Postman
Needs advice
Swagger UISwagger UI

From a StackShare Community member: "I just started working for a start-up and we are in desperate need of better documentation for our API. Currently our API docs is in a file. We are evaluating Postman and Swagger UI. Since there are many options and I was wondering what other StackSharers would recommend?"

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Replies (3)
Jagdeep Singh
Tech Lead at | 8 upvotes 路 383.1K views

I use Postman because of the ease of team-management, using workspaces and teams, runner, collections, environment variables, test-scripts (post execution), variable management (pre and post execution), folders (inside collections, for better management of APIs), newman, easy-ci-integration (and probably a few more things that I am not able to recall right now).

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I use Swagger UI because it's an easy tool for end-consumers to visualize and test our APIs. It focuses on that ! And it's directly embedded and delivered with the APIs. Postman's built-in tools aren't bad, but their main focus isn't the documentation and also, they are hosted outside the project.

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Sadik Ay

I recommend Postman because it's easy to use with history option. Also, it has very great features like runner, collections, test scripts runners, defining environment variables and simple exporting and importing data.

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Decisions about Charles and Postman

OpenAPI is an excellent tool for creating interactive and hosted documents when releasing an API to the public. We will leverage this, specifically for the public facing APIs that customers can integrate into (to automate creating projects and storing experiment data). Postman is more complicated to share with others and is not as rich for documentation.

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Stephen Fox
Artificial Intelligence Fellow | 1 upvote 路 338.4K views

Postman supports automation and organization in a way that Insomnia just doesn't. Admittedly, Insomnia makes it slightly easy to query the data that you get back (in a very MongoDB-esque query language) but Postman sets you up to develop the code that you would use in development/testing right in the editor.

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Pros of Charles
Pros of Postman
    Be the first to leave a pro
    • 490
      Easy to use
    • 369
      Great tool
    • 276
      Makes developing rest api's easy peasy
    • 156
      Easy setup, looks good
    • 144
      The best api workflow out there
    • 53
      It's the best
    • 53
      History feature
    • 44
      Adds real value to my workflow
    • 43
      Great interface that magically predicts your needs
    • 35
      The best in class app
    • 12
      Can save and share script
    • 10
      Fully featured without looking cluttered
    • 8
    • 8
      Option to run scrips
    • 8
      Global/Environment Variables
    • 7
      Shareable Collections
    • 7
      Dead simple and useful. Excellent
    • 7
      Dark theme easy on the eyes
    • 6
      Awesome customer support
    • 6
      Great integration with newman
    • 5
    • 5
    • 5
      The test script is useful
    • 4
      Saves responses
    • 4
      This has simplified my testing significantly
    • 4
      Makes testing API's as easy as 1,2,3
    • 4
      Easy as pie
    • 3
    • 3
      I'd recommend it to everyone who works with apis
    • 3
      Mocking API calls with predefined response
    • 2
      Now supports GraphQL
    • 2
      Postman Runner CI Integration
    • 2
      Easy to setup, test and provides test storage
    • 2
      Continuous integration using newman
    • 2
      Pre-request Script and Test attributes are invaluable
    • 2
    • 2
    • 1
      <a href="">useful tool</a>

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    Cons of Charles
    Cons of Postman
      Be the first to leave a con
      • 10
        Stores credentials in HTTP
      • 9
        Bloated features and UI
      • 8
        Cumbersome to switch authentication tokens
      • 7
        Poor GraphQL support
      • 5
      • 3
        Not free after 5 users
      • 3
        Can't prompt for per-request variables
      • 1
        Import swagger
      • 1
        Support websocket
      • 1
        Import curl

      Sign up to add or upvote consMake informed product decisions

      What is Charles?

      Charles is a web proxy (HTTP Proxy / HTTP Monitor) that runs on your own computer. Your web browser (or any other Internet application) is then configured to access the Internet through Charles, and Charles is then able to record and display for you all of the data that is sent and received.

      What is Postman?

      It is the only complete API development environment, used by nearly five million developers and more than 100,000 companies worldwide.

      Need advice about which tool to choose?Ask the StackShare community!

      What companies use Charles?
      What companies use Postman?
      See which teams inside your own company are using Charles or Postman.
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      What tools integrate with Charles?
      What tools integrate with Postman?
        No integrations found

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        What are some alternatives to Charles and Postman?
        It is a free web debugging proxy for any browser, system or platform. It helps you debug web applications by capturing network traffic between the Internet and test computers. The tool enables you to inspect incoming and outgoing data to monitor and modify requests and responses before the browser receives them.
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        Git is a free and open source distributed version control system designed to handle everything from small to very large projects with speed and efficiency.
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