These days, API testing forms an important part of testing a web application. This blog post defines API Testing, discusses the challenges, explains how it supplements other software testing approaches, and identifies how to overcome the issues that may arise.
API Testing Definition
API testing, which stands for Application Interface Testing can mean different things to various people. In general, API testing is defined as a way to “secure and optimize communication between different platforms, examining many elements including debugging, identifying inconsistencies, pinpointing weaknesses, locking down security and gauging performance”.
The Importance of API Testing
Web APIs constitute a critical component of many companies’ “public face”, empowering websites, office spaces and even sales staff. Their importance in the digital world, although mostly hidden, cannot be overstated as they are a crucial cog in the software’s machinery, enabling communication and data exchange between two or more separate systems. Ultimately, this impacts how an end user perceives the quality of the product. This reliance on APIs explains why their testing needs to be an integral part of every QA & testing process. And preferably, as soon as the APIs are ready, which is always early in the software development cycle. This is a good thing. A defect found at the API level can eliminate many more defects down the road! This leads to the question “How to do API Testing?”.
API Testing Approaches
Testing an API encompasses multiple testing methods requiring a variety of different tools, frameworks and libraries to automate the testing activities. In addition, API testing also supplements the white-box testing approach by looking at the internal workings of the application. This contrasts to black-box testing where the overall functional performance of an application is measured. Lastly, API testing contributes to better automation of the testing process.
Measuring the success of an API requires at least two different types of tests: unit and acceptance. Unit tests only determine if a specific module or code set is working as written. They don’t test the behavior and workflow of use cases. Which is why acceptance tests are required to make sure that an API takes certain actions and delivers certain outcome as specified beforehand.
Advantages Of API Testing
There are many benefits of API testing, as well as challenges. Starting with the benefits, API testing helps to uncover small issues before they become bigger issues. It is also time-effective, as it takes less time than functional GUI testing, leading to overall QA cost reduction. The transfer model for API testing is language-independent, meaning you can select any core language when performing API testing. API testing can also be a key part of integration testing, for example with the GUI at a later stage. Other advantages are creating an increased synergy among different development teams and generating a quicker outcome by reducing dependence on preconditions by isolating components.
API Testing Challenges
API testing is a valuable component to the QA process, because only performing end to end tests makes it easy to miss bugs, which then impact the API’s success later on. QA experts have warned about the complexity of API testing, since it requires a tester to understand the entire system he or she is working with. To overcome this challenge, a tester will need knowledge of programming languages, as API tests tend to be connected with a sequence of program calls. The tester must also understand the technology itself since disparate components or dependencies present in the software can impair testing if these are located remotely or owned externally by third party applications. Lastly, if dependencies are not available or fully developed, a tester must know when input to a component requires manual intervention.
If you need assistance conquering and addressing your API Testing Challenges, our dedicated team of experts at XBOSoft are here to help! To get started, please contact us today. Thanks!