API integration testing is the future. The digital world is really just an expanse of application interactions and communication. If your product cannot participate correctly and efficiently in the worldwide give and take of automated endpoint dialogue, it will break.
API testing moves the scrutiny of this functionality into the build process within staging and development environments. The resulting tests ensure core functionality, are quicker than functional GUI testing, and are easily integrated with GUI tests.
As with any aspect of QA, however, there are challenges that arise. It takes time for your QA experts to become familiar with your API. There are limits to the number of test scenarios that can be completed against time constraints, resulting in the need to prioritize. There is also a heightened need to use the correct test case design and test framework to accommodate changes that occur ahead of the UI phase.
API integration testing is the future, but you have to overcome the following challenges in order to experience it.
The API Integration Volume Challenge
One of the most common frustrations with API integration testing is the sheer volume of input parameter combinations. APIs cope with intersystem communication by assigning values to parameters and assessing these through data requests. In a complex project, it is necessary to test all possible parameter request combinations in search of problems pertaining to specific configurations. Every time you add a parameter, you radically increase the number of possible combinations.
To ensure good API test coverage, different API test parameters and their combinations should be carefully considered. This process can be streamlined by prioritizing release applications. By containing initial release to non-critical applications, you can see how the API is used and determine any configuration changes necessary ahead of a general release.
The API Call Sequence Challenge
Often, API calls need to flow in an inflexible order before they will work. It requires a sequence where the request of one element is dependent on the response of the previous one. This solution depends on your test framework. Your test should cover end-to-end API scenarios so your engineers can visualize your API call flow and integrate them faster—without causing detrimental knock-on effects.
Your QA expert should have experience with a variety of different tools and frameworks and bring an agnostic approach to your project so you can implement the right combination of API testing solutions for your product.
The API Schema Updates Challenge
Finally, your API integration test has to cope with change. As the process often runs parallel with development and bug report actions, your schema has to be maintained constantly. Any changes in APIs, such as the addition of new features or any new parameters, require immediate updates to the test cases and automation scripts.
These changes can be time and resource drains, often leading to wholesale downtime. You can spare the end user drama by testing live applications in Beta prior to general release, but the best way to accommodate change is to build expected delays into your initial QA plan.
Change is going to happen. Weakness and fault are going to arise. That is the purpose of the QA process. It is best to expect the unexpected on all projects.
The Data Tracking Challenge
Your API integration testing has to work correctly with your data tracking and system monitoring services in order to analyze response and performance. This process is often left until late in the QA process but has to be able to monitor call response across a number of geographical locations to ensure their robustness.
When writing API test cases, the endpoint should be explicitly declared. This kind of regulation has to be written into your QA process at the design phase to ensure it is not neglected.
Robust API Integration Testing Is the Future
While we are thinking about the design phase, there are several best practices that should guide you through your API integration testing. You should always ensure:
- API test scenarios are self-contained and independent wherever possible
- Automation tests cover end-to-end scenarios
- Testing covers areas that cannot be tested through the UI
- API function calls are prioritized by application under testing workflow
API integration testing requires careful planning. Your QA expert should be able to help you map out the API testing phase ahead.
API integration testing goes to the core of your product’s functionality. That functionality is what determines the end-user experience. That user experience is how the success or failure of your product is judged.
The scale, structure, and change experienced during API integration testing make it one of the most complex and controversial uses of automation testing. The rewards, however, are better quality products produced quicker. It is a challenge well worth undertaking.QASource can provide you with API testing experts who can guide you through all the critical establishment phases that ultimately define your product’s success or failure. How your API communicates with the wider digital world is crucial to your user experience. Make sure you get your QA right. Contact us for a free quote or call +1.925.271.5555 today to find an outsourcing solution for your critical software testing.