Why is automation crucial in API testing?
The digital disruption in this business landscape has forced organizations to continuously upgrade and add new features. The pressure has also been on adding support for cross-platform operations and accelerating the time-to-market. This requirement has made innovation, speed, and agility the need of the hour and the key aspects of driving the business towards success.
With intense pressure to handle, organizations are now leaning towards developing smart methods to automate the API functioning and use complete lifecycle automation throughout the software test automation process. This is done in order to spawn a higher product quality, resolve manual testing shortcomings and reduce the overall time-to-market.
To enable capabilities such as digital transformation, cloud environment testing and business success, companies are now shifting from the monolithic system to API based distributed landscape. These API based systems help in monetizing the core assets in order to develop new services and improve the existing reach.
With this shift from the monolithic system, modern applications are no longer self-contained. Thus, the end-user experiences are now powered by APIs that facilitate the communication between the applications, code modules, and back-end systems, thereby justifying the usage of software test automation in API testing.
Thus in order to expand the capacity quality assurance (QA) and development teams must test every layer of the application and end-to-end transactions. This would only be possible if software test automation is leveraged for comprehensive API testing best practices in addition to traditional testing methods.
Why is Automation testing for APIs important?
Since the intervention of agile methodology and development, it has been a standard practice to use it with CI / CD. It has also significantly changed the ways in which software is developed and automation testing is done. Prior to this intervention, the automation testing was done for the graphical user interface with tools like Selenium.
Thus the need for test automation of APIs rose due to these fragile, time-consuming, and complex GUI tests. These custom made GUI test automation frameworks consumed large sums of money and other resources that too for a smaller period of time. For certain agile practices such as continuous builds, every time a new code was punched in the feedback response time went way higher than the acceptance levels.
Advantages of API automation testing
Automation testing for APIs offers several advantages over conventional GUI testing such as improvement of test cycle coverage, resource conservation, quicker results, and efficient deliveries. Automation testing services for APIs, in this case, produce better results depending upon the requirements such as the project roadmap, integration requirements, and expected functionality. Automation testing is a far better approach irrespective of the location of the test i.e. in-house or with offshore QA testing vendors. These advantages include:
Reduced testing costs
Without an automated API testing solution, the conventional forms of testing in an organization included cumbersome manual testing. These manual testing forms leveraged home written scripts with an assortment of open-source tools where the scope or error was significantly high. With an automated testing solution not only the testing costs were reduced for defining the test and its execution but also it enabled the lesser experienced testing resources to perform complex testing operations.
Core functionality testing
Automation testing for the APIs gave access to applications without a graphical user interface. Software test automation also tests the core for complete code functionality which evaluates the overall build strength. This helps in identifying the mini loopholes that have the potential of transforming into bigger threats at a later stage. Testing the core functionality also helps in fostering communication between the in-house testing team and offshore QA testing vendors.
Software test automation for API is not only faster and accurate but also reduces the overall risk of missing out on defects by manual testing. Automation also screens the entire category of risks that are often left out by the manual testing efforts. Automated API testing solutions can easily simulate a daunting array of security attacks, check the behavior of the backend process and make sure that the best practices are already being followed. These tasks are often neglected during manual testing.
Improved testing efficiency
Test automation of API or automated API testing has a visibly significant effect on its efficiency. The automation tools used in API testing follow a ‘building block’ testing approach which signifies that the testers and the QA engineers need to initiate the process from the beginning. The test begins with an auto-generated set of functional test cases, which are rearranged to suit load testing as well as security testing services. Due to this automated testing process, every single member of the testing team can focus on value-added tasks.
Choosing the correct API automation tool
JMeter - Experts believe that an open-source tool like JMeter can be leveraged in several more ways than only performance testing of applications. It helps in effective test automation with its ability to clone and download the source code due to which the testers can freely contribute to the issues page or develop and distribute their own customized JMeter Plugins. It is majorly recommended due to its open-source nature which gives a number of wrappers and APIs that offer cogitation or abstraction when it comes to detailed reporting, analysis, and execution. Some of the benefits of JMeter are:
Seamless execution with cross-platform capability
Identification of potential bottlenecks
Helps to find out the number of users who experience no deterioration in UX
Examines the speed of server API of other web services under extreme load conditions
Builds a multithreaded framework for convergent sampling
IBM Rational Functional Tester (RFT) - Developed for the automated API testing of mobile and web applications. Its supported list of languages and technologies includes Visual Basic, Siebel, SAP, PowerBuilder, Web, .Net, Adobe Flex, Java, and Dojo Toolkit among others. It also offers a ‘storyboard testing’ feature that enables test engineers to visualize and edit tests using screen grabs from the application itself. The ScriptAssure feature of RFT also helps the developers to build test scripts that are immune to changes in the UI while the application is under test.
Automation testing services for APIs help in detecting the overall integration issues across the chain of services and not for a single element. It also saves a lot of testing efforts and troubleshooting time of the manual resources. It is considered one of the most important tests as it gives a clear picture containing the pain points that need immediate attention.
Written by Erna Clayton
Edited by Alexander Fleiss