The value of an API testing framework
API testing frameworks are necessary for any company with an API strategy. But what are APIs? APIs or Application Programming Interfaces, are the main components that allow companies to share and integrate data with each other.
APIs have become so valuable within the enterprise; for example, the Connectivity benchmark report 2018 found that APIs have helped companies realize increased productivity (58%) and increased innovation (48%). Beyond these benefits, APIs are also a source of revenue for some companies. In fact, companies surveyed in the Connectivity Benchmark Report revealed that 25% of their revenue is generated from APIs.
Why API testing frameworks are necessary
APIs are becoming increasingly important in the enterprise. APIs, like any piece of software, must be tested in order to identify bugs, security vulnerabilities, inconsistencies, or failures within the API. Failure to test an API can lead to an inefficient and ineffective piece of software; this, in turn, can hinder API adoption.
For example, imagine that an API developer releases an API without testing it. Shortly after, an API user attempts to leverage the API, but finds that some of the API calls aren’t working and stops using the API. In this case, failure to implement robust API testing led to lower API adoption.
Types of API testing frameworks
API testing is critical for every API’s success. In order to test APIs, however, companies must go through a series of testing frameworks to ensure their API is working correctly. This includes testing for the following components (this list is not comprehensive):
- Functionality: Does the API work?
- Reliability: Can users connect to the API and achieve consistent results?
- Load: Does the API load appropriately?
- Usability: Is the API easy to work with?
- Documentation: Are there documents that guide the user into the purpose of the API and how to use it?
Further, when testing APIs, companies have the option of testing manually or automatically. In general, automated testing is recommended for APIs, as it increases efficiency, reduces the time required to test and complements agile development and continuous delivery cycles.
Finding the right API testing tool
It’s not enough to understand the types of tests necessary to ensure that an API is ready to be released. Rather, companies must also use the right tools to perform these tests. There are various API testing tools in the market, including some that are open-source. Examples include Postman, SoapUI, REST-Assured and more.
The above tools allow developers to perform simple manual tests on their APIs. However, tools like MUnit, MuleSoft’s unit and integration testing tool for APIs and Mule apps, enable companies to perform more detailed, automated tests on APIs and applications. Using MUnit, users can conduct unit and functional tests in their local environment, or in their continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) settings. With MUnit, users can:
- Design and test Mule apps and APIs, graphically or in XML, all within Anypoint Studio
- Integrate testing into your existing CI/CD process more easily
- Minimize manual work with auto-generated tests and coverage reports
- Leverage local DB/FTP/mail servers to make testing more portable through the CI process