API testing can be defined as a type of software testing that checks APIs and their integrations for any flaws in reliability, security, functionality, and performance. Most companies have today moved towards the API model when developing their software applications. This means that they can integrate different parts of their applications with different datastores while implementing different commands.
APIs have also allowed businesses to build innovative solutions to make their day-to-day operations easier. For instance, they (businesses) are using augmented reality in marketing, powered by APIs.
In addition, APIs have made it possible for companies to deploy software components quickly. They are able to have parts of a software application working without issues while at the same time updating other parts. However, this model requires businesses to be careful when it comes to the performance, reliability, functionality, and security of their applications. They can do this through API testing.
How Should Businesses Test APIs?
There are many ways businesses can effectively test their APIs. They can employ manual or automated testing and use different tools to ease the entire process. This in-depth article gives a step-by-step guide on how to effectively test APIs. That notwithstanding, businesses can follow these steps when testing their APIs;
The API Testing Requirements Should be Documented
API testing should always start with the gathering of all requirements. Before businesses can start writing their API test cases, they need to make sure that they understand everything about their APIs. This documentation is very important when it comes to planning the API tests through the testing process.
Setting the API Tests Output
The next step involves setting the API tests output. This output varies depending on the API being tested. It can range from valid or invalid data and pass or fail reports to calls made to other APIs. It is important to make sure that every output is well understood for corrections to be made when the expected output is not returned.
Paying Attention to the Small Functions of the API
Testing APIs does not mean that you can just start by writing large test cases like other types of software testing. As discussed above, the output of test cases varies depending on the API being tested and its functionalities. This means that businesses need to build small test cases capable of testing different functionalities of the API then evaluate the output. If the output does not match expectations, then changes have to be made.
Automating API Testing
Initially, businesses relied entirely on manual testing when testing their APIs. Writing test cases and test code is one of the most boring tasks you can give to any developer. Additionally, the margin for error is quite high when manually testing APIs
Fortunately, there are many API testing tools that businesses can use today. These tools come with many features, automate the testing process, and eliminate any margins of error. Businesses should use the right tools that meet the requirements of their APIs.
Use API Functions that are Called Frequently
Creating API tests every now and then can be quite a task, especially when it comes to the functions that are called frequently. Apart from using the testing tools discussed above, businesses should hire automation engineers to help with automated testing.
These engineers should then write tests for every function that is called frequently and make sure that they do not repeat the process. They can do this by ensuring that each function in an API has its calls logged.
Conduct Security Testing
The security of an API is one of the most important things for every business. When an API has security vulnerabilities, there are chances that a business might get its information exposed to unauthorized access.
Through the testing tools and any other security testing procedures that developers might employ, businesses need to make sure that they eliminate all security vulnerabilities that affect API performance.
Finally, API testing is a continuous process. Businesses should not implement testing just once and assume that everything is okay and will work the way it is supposed to all the time. They should, therefore, understand that it is important for them to have the tests scheduled each day to make sure that the APIs do what they are supposed to do.