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API test automation

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Guide to API test automation

With the technology moving with a lightning speed, testing has become an integral part of it. Everything to do with the user in technology has to go through multiple levels of testing.  Application Programming Interface (API) testing is creating a niche in the testing world for its capabilities. Just Like how a UI allows a human to interact with an application. APIs efficiently allow machines to communicate with each other. A typical application has three well defined layers: the presentation (or user interface) layer, the business layer, and the database layer for modelling and managing data. So let’s understand more about API test automation.

API is the middleware between the database layer and the presentation layer where API focus is mainly on business logic.  APIs are great because they represent characteristic features that developers can use easily without having to rewrite an interface every time they need machines to communicate. In the world of DevOps, agile development, and continuous delivery cycles, API testing is one of the areas where testing automation is frequent.

The 3 W’s of API testing

What is API testing?

API testing is a type of software testing that analyzes an application program interface. This is to determine whether the APIs meet the expectations when it comes to functionality, performance, reliability and security for an application. API testing is important, as API serve as the primary interface to application logic. API testing involves various different aspects and goes much further than just executing a few test cases. Testing needs to start at the primary stage and continue on until the production release. As API testing are often based on Protocols and standards which we do not see in any other types of testing, it becomes a challenging task for testers.

What are the different types of API testing?

Functionality testing: is a test of specific functions within the codebase. They represent specific scenarios to ensure that the API functions within expected parameters are handled well when the results are outside of the expected parameters.

Penetration testing: is considered the second test in the auditing process. Primarily, during API penetration testing, API’s functions/methods are tested, how they could be abused, and how authorization and authentication could be bypassed. In this type, users with limited API knowledge will try to assess the threat vector from an outside perspective, which is about functions, resources, processes, or aim to the entire API and its components.

UI testing is defined as a test of the user interface for the API and other integral parts. It focuses more on the interface which ties into the API rather than the API testing itself. UI testing gives an overview of the health, usability, and efficiency of the app’s front and back ends.

Security testing

There is a chance that the API’s can be hacked, security testing ensures that the API implementation is secure from external threats. The API has defined security testing requirements including authentication, permissions, and access controls. It also includes user rights management and authorization validation.

Load testing occurs after a specific unit. API load testing is going through this process by simulating multiple users sending requests to your server at the same time. It identifies when and where can your application can break, so you can fix it before sending it forward for production, automated load testing makes sure that your application can perform perfectly in all the scenarios.

Runtime and error detection is a software verification method which we use to analyse software application as it executes and reports defects that are found during the process. It can be applied during unit testing, component testing, integration testing, system testing (automated/scripted or manual), or penetration testing. This technique focuses on one of the below aspects: monitoring, execution errors, resource leaks, or error detection.

Fuzz testing

It is another step in the process. In fuzz testing, we will process a vast amount of random data (referred to as “noise” or “fuzz”) into the system to detect any forced crashes or negative behaviours, Which also helps you locate bugs and potential security issues. Here parameters are set to abnormal values in an effort to cause unknown behaviour and errors in the API posterior.  This approach tests the API’s limits to prepare for the information overload.” Validation testing takes place in the final step of the development process, especially after we verify the API’s elemental parts and functions. Where it verifies the aspects of product, behaviour, and efficiency, validation testing can be seen as a guarantee of the correct development.

Why does API test automation matters?

API testing matters

The API is the middleware; the heart of any application; its considered as an engine for the application. And if the product interface is not good enough then it shows an adverse effect on its viability. Applications are getting more complex due to the varying end-user needs. And in order to meet them, the API’s have become vital tools for businesses across every industry segment.  Failure of any API could lead to services not being available, processes not working as expected and even allow access to objects and data that are core for the user and not accessible to everyone. Another aspect of APIs is the fact that it’s not just the user facing functionality that we need to test, but often our APIs also integrate with other services or 3rd party providers.

Benefits of API testing

API testing can help in improving test coverage, save on cost and time to release a product. And protect it from malicious code or hacking. Let us have a closer look at the benefits of API testing.

Finding bugs at an initial stage of software development

During API testing, one can run tests without having to test the entire software. API test when run in the primary stage helps the tester to catch bugs in the initial stage itself. Hence they can fix it before it reaches the GUI stage. Thus saving on repeating cycles, hence,  saves a lot of time and money for the company that are expecting a quality assurance services.

Effective use of time

API testing takes much less time than GUI testing. In UI tests, a great deal of the time is we spend on loading and rendering web pages and UI elements that we may not even need in the final stages. With APIs, developers can quickly implement existing functionality instead of creating solutions from scratch. With API, you can leverage powerful state-of-the-art technologies and integrate them into your applications. This can save development time and amplify your companies productivity, allowing you to reach your goals faster.

Reduced testing costs

The costs of building an application depends on several factors; like complexity, the type of technology used, and developer’s skill. With APIs, developers can get most of the functionality from third-party providers or use their own internal APIs. API testing provides faster results with early defect diagnosis, which reduces overall testing costs.

Improved test coverage

Automated API tests are usually broader in coverage. API testing helps to identify potential defects in interfaces, servers, and databases. API level tests are specific to check if all system components work as expected. This, in turn, improves the overall quality of the software. Its interaction with users, especially in the current digital age when consumers demand top-notch experiences.

Language Independent 

The data transfer modes used in an APT test case is XML or JSON, which are language-independent.  When automating API testing, engineers can freely use any programming language that supports these technologies (JavaScript, Java, Ruby, Python, PHP, etc.).

Why to go for API test automation ?

API testing should be critically, extensive and automated, especially in the case of flexible software development processes. Automation of APIs simplifies integration and regression testing every time new changes are there. It also reduces execution time for the software development cycle, feedback, patches, and redeployments. All this makes applications more reliable and successful. To ensure high quality of software, it is necessary to conduct thorough and comprehensive automated API testing.

Conclusion: API test automation

As and when business and functional requirements change. APIs evolve and develop thus making it even more important to test them on a continuous basis. algoQA provides API testing which focuses on Performance and Security Testing to make sure the application is secure and strong.  We at algoQA, continuously aim and work to evolve our platform and processes in order to provide quality results, which takes your testing experience to an entirely different level, thus ensuring a higher degree of customer satisfaction.

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