The process of testing APIs with your team is crucial for a variety of reasons, chief amongst which is the need to ensure that apps function as intended both immediately after launch and for as long as they are in regular use.
Understanding the ins and outs of API testing will put your dev team in a better position to work effectively, so here are a few points to consider when approaching this process.
Before delving into the deeper levels of what API testing sets out to achieve, it is important to appreciate the main aim at hand, which is to ensure that every endpoint operates according to the intended design without faltering or encountering any performance problems.
By perpetually monitoring whether APIs are working correctly, your team will be able to detect and troubleshoot issues as soon as possible, rather than being sideswiped by some unforeseen disaster further down the line.
There are a total of seven API testing types that need to be managed in conjunction with one another, each of which addresses a different aspect of how the API operates.
First, functional testing tackles the issue of endpoints and determines if they are behaving. Next reliability testing establishes if the API can reliably connect to different devices without being interrupted.
Load testing is important, letting you see whether the API is up to the task of fielding requests from multiple servers simultaneously. Stress testing is similar to this but focuses on monitoring API behavior in the event that its maximum number of requests is exceeded.
Security testing is designed to establish how resilient the API is from a data protection standpoint, with the correct use of authentication processes and permissions included here. Integration testing scrutinizes how several APIs communicate and roots out bugs, while finally, usability testing will tell you whether an API is intuitive and effective from an end-user perspective.
The automation options
As with a variety of testing methodologies, it makes sense to organize your API testing workflow in a way that embraces automation. This will allow you to make optimal use of the resources at your disposal and avoid your dev team being burdened with tedious manual tasks.
It is also important to prioritize the automation of API testing according to the layer which is being tackled. For example, it is less essential to automate tests of how the GUI operates as compared with unit testing, which should be your main focus for automation in a testing context.
Ultimately it is necessary for dev teams to be able to accumulate plenty of experience in the realm of API testing since this is an ongoing process that they will need to manage indefinitely. Efficient testing methodology using the right tools, and an appreciation of where checks need to take place will deliver slick API performance that does not sacrifice security or usability, particularly if automation is brought to bear on key aspects of this ecosystem.
This article was contributed by Claire Ward, a writer specializing in business and marketing related topics.
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