Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) define how a software program should interact with another through a set of routines, protocols and tools. They enable businesses across various industries such as insurance, travel, logistics, healthcare, finance and more to monetize data, engage and connect with other businesses/ customers through web, mobile and social applications. These industries are being transformed almost entirely with the widespread ability to get real time data using APIs, streamline their business operations and serve customers better.
APIs are helping businesses with everyday tasks and accelerate data sharing, resulting in a seamless interaction between external and internal applications. This improved speed and delivered business value. As more businesses develop and integrate APIs, there is an increased number of challenges and software application complexity because of the technology changes. This creates an incessant need for effective software testing.
What is API Testing?
API testing involves testing APIs directly as a part of integration testing to ensure APIs meet requirements at various levels such as, Functionality, Integration, Reliability, Performance and Security of an application.
Potential testing needs at API level
For businesses, to forge strategic business partnerships, bring innovation and growth to the next level, it is important to have effective API testing strategies in place. API testing mainly focuses on a Business Logic layer. It ensures businesses provide truly secure, scalable & reliable connections and transactions between external platforms or businesses.
Types of API Testing:
Unlike User Interface testing (GUI), which tests the interface part of an application with a key focus to test the look and feel of it, API testing tests the entire business layer of an application. It involves the following types of testing or practices:
1. Functional Testing – It tests the functionality of a broader range of scenarios to validate whether the API functions work as expected.
2. Integration Testing – It tests third-party applications integration, validates it and exposes a range of faults during the integration as well as interaction between external applications.
3. Automation Testing – It leverages a tool to speed up the API testing process, removes human error, and supports DevOps & CICT (Continuous Integration and Continuous Testing). Among various API testing, Functional API testing is a common test that is automated. Whereas automation can be applied for both Performance API Testing and Security Testing.
4. Performance Testing – It determines the number of requests an end-point can handle in API, calculates the response time of API, and validates the overall API performance by considering every instances as a part of integration testing.
5. Security Testing – It ensures that integration and implementation of API is secure from external threats. Also, it assesses session management and finds potential vulnerabilities from external sources.
Benefits of API testing in B2B landscape:
1. Faster execution
Because API tests are faster in terms of execution, they can be done during the development stage rather than slightly at the end stage. This provides an early evaluation and early detection of errors in an application.
2. Reduces testing costs
API test provides faster results and offers maximum test coverage. It identifies bugs at early stage and thus, helps reduce the overall project cost.
3. Technology independent
The data transfer modes in API testing are completely technology/language independent, allowing enterprises to automate their API testing for their application by selecting any core language.
4. A wide range of API testing tools
There are a wide range of API testing tools that present a friendly GUI (Graphical User Interface) for constructing requests and reading responses, a few of them include: JMeter, Test Manager, Eclipse IDE, Robot Framework, Postman, and more.