API testing in your workflow why you should use it

API testing in your workflow: why you should use it

Even if you don’t know what an API is, you’ve come across it. Authentication, online payment, built-in Google maps… This is not a complete list of what most application developers embed into their products using the API. However, like all good things in this world, the API needs to be thoroughly tested. In this article, we find out what API testing is, what tests it includes, and what benefits it provides.

To enhance your testing efficiency

If web and mobile application testing is a part of your daily routine, you probably need to test your product in different environments. You can perform smooth and fast testing by creating execution environments using Zebrunner Selenium Grid.

What is the API?

The application programming interface (API) is the interaction of an application with its components to exchange data.

Let’s consider the authorization process on Reddit to understand this definition better. If you want to comment and create your posts, you need to log in. The first option is to enter your username and password. You most likely don’t remember them, even if you’ve been reading Reddit for a long time. The second option is to log in using Google or Apple. Click, select an account – and here you are again a full member of the community. The whole process took us just some seconds and all thanks to the API. The system contacted your Google account, obtained the data it needed, and let you into the application.

By the way, the global API testing market is growing very fast. In 2021 the market size was $937 million. Nevertheless, it will reach $4,2 billion by 2027, Global Industry Analysts Inc reports.

The API reduces product development time because you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. You just take the functionality you want and build it into your product. In turn, API testing checks how well your product works with such functionality. Typically, companies automate API testing and make it part of their continuous testing process. The right test automation platform makes it possible to efficiently perform various types of API testing. Take a look at what tests are usually included in API testing.

Types of tests that are used to test the API

Functionality Tests. 

On the one hand, you test the work of those application components that you have implemented through the API. However, new structured parts of the software may affect existing ones. So on the other hand, functionality tests check the correct work of the entire application.

Stress tests. 

You verify how the API handles a high volume of concurrent requests. Generally speaking, stress testing is a type of performance testing that determines how reliable a system is under critical conditions. In particular, we examine how the application works if the server receives an increased load. Stress tests identify critical points after which the software stops working correctly.

Security tests. 

These tests inspect how the API responds to cyber attacks. Security tests can be combined with fuzz tests when you check how an API responds to a huge amount of randomized requests. It helps to achieve a more comprehensive application monitoring for vulnerabilities.

Validation tests. 

You verify the behavior and performance of the API within the product. Usually, QA teams run them during the final development stages.

What are the benefits of API testing?

Testing type without alternative

Some people think that UI tests can replace API testing. However, UI tests check how well the application processes user requests, and how correctly the visual elements of the software are displayed and work. API testing, as seen in the previous section, covers several key areas. Thus, API testing cannot be replaced by UI testing.

Guaranteed reliability

API testing provides reliable communications between all software components. You ensure the correct operation of all software as a complete product. Thus, situations when Google maps slow down the work of the entire application, and individual components of the product do not open at all, are reduced to zero.

Cost reduction

API test automation needs less code than the automation of some API alternative tests. As a result, the testing process is accelerated. So, you save on the working hours of the QA team. Moreover you can test the API in the early stages of development. In this way you fix bugs long before they turn into serious problems that require significant resources to solve.

Vulnerability elimination

API tests use extreme conditions and inputs when analyzing an application. This allows you to check the software for possible vulnerabilities and protect it from malware.

John Norwood
John Norwood is best known as a technology journalist, currently at Ziddu where he focuses on tech startups, companies, and products.