Perhaps the rapid growth of today’s digital economy would not have been possible if not for Application Programming Interfaces or APIs. The unsung hero of the digital transformation paradigm, APIs seamlessly enable the exchange of data across applications or components within a larger application and plug into numerous data sources. APIs are at the very heart of high-performing digital business models that today’s businesses seek to master. APIs enable application to application communication and information exchange in desired formats. This enables functional code in the back end to work in tandem with business logic mapped to the front-end customer or user-facing interface to deliver amazing business outcomes.
APIs form an indispensable part of the modern digital landscape of business operations. Without them, the movement of data between business systems of different companies (or within a company) will be impossible. For example, you will not be able to let Google Now control your music playlist on your Spotify account playing on your Samsung TV if it were not for APIs that let all these devices and apps freely communicate and understand logical control information.
With the onset of 5G, as well as new innovations being deployed daily in the field of AI, the Internet of Things, and other emerging technology fields, the demand for the utility APIs offer is set to grow exponentially. In fact, by 2028 it is predicted that there will be a USD 13.56 billion market just for API management tools globally. While API management is one part of the equation for successfully enabling engineers to build robust and resilient digital applications, there is another area that needs equal attention – API Testing.
What is API Testing?
In simple terms, API testing refers to the validation of the API itself to ensure it works as intended by its purpose of existence. From a traditional software testing perspective, the primary focus would be on supplying input test data and validating the output. Other considerations would be the look and feel of the application in action and a few other related parameters. API testing on the other hand follows a different approach wherein the input is often a software function call and how the system responds to it is tested and assured for seamless and guaranteed performance.
Why is API Testing important?
Early detection of faults
Today’s consumers demand a great deal of connected experiences for the digital services they avail. Similarly, the enterprise tech ecosystem is replete with multiple point systems that perform specific functions. These systems need to come together to enable enterprise initiatives like automation, analytics, security, etc. Since APIs form a key component to enable this, API testing becomes even more significant.
API testing is done to validate the proper functioning of the business logic that is programmed within the API even before the actual user interface of the end applications is connected to it. This ensures that any defect or fault is detected very early in the development phase and before involving connections to the business’s own or 3rd party front-end services that need data from the API. By fixing the API in the testing phase for any errors or faults, it is easy to ensure that the data or information supplied by the API in real-time will not cause any issues for the connected user experience.
Multi-platform viability assurance
In most cases, the same API serves applications in multiple user devices like mobiles or PCs, or smart wearables to name a few. With API testing, it is easier for businesses to verify whether the same business logic works flawlessly across all mediums through which consumers access the content. By making adjustments to rectify any performance issues for any medium, businesses can ensure that there are no glitches when the application goes live for consumers and enterprise users across any medium.
Making the application secure
APIs are the gateway for front-end user applications including 3rd party applications to gain access to backend services and computational logic as well as information storage and repositories. Hence any vulnerability in the API’s inherent security framework can be exploited by fraudsters. This poses a risk to sensitive business data and logic residing on the backend. Through a well-planned security testing initiative exclusively for the API, it becomes possible to find any loopholes and vulnerabilities that may have been created unknowingly while building the API. By securing all interface points and enabling secure data transfer, the end application becomes more secure.
The API response often determines how the applications perform for the end-user. Hence optimizing the performance of APIs is important to ensure that the application as a whole is robust and works at speed to transfer the data and processed insights on-demand. API testing ensures that the API performs as desired on performance metrics and offers speed and agility to the overall application.
APIs will continue to play a significant role in enabling businesses to offer connected digital experiences for their customers. Ensuring that APIs perform at their best is thus a strategic priority for product owners and business decision-makers. In fact, successful companies are already aligned to this goal for prioritizing API testing as studies point out that the global API testing market will be worth over USD 1 billion by 2022. Get in touch with us to explore more about how to build your business’s digital experience with high-performing API guarantees through API testing.