Going Beyond The Conventional Test Pyramid: API Testing

Going Beyond The Conventional Test Pyramid: API Testing

by Alan Jackson — 2 years ago in Development 5 min. read

Test Pyramid is a blueprint divided into three parts that help Devs and QA professionals to get better results. Since the test pyramid increases the efficiency of a Dev team, it plays a vital role in the software testing strategy.

Like everything else, this strategy also comes with a toll. See, the traditional test pyramid consists of three layers: Unit test, Integration test, and End-to-End Test. As a result, it takes a lot of time and effort.

The Dev team requires three to six cycles on average to complete a whole testing phase with this idea. And it takes a lot of manual testing to go through. So, what’s the solution here?

Meet API testing. It’s a testing type that maintains short test cycles and handles frequent changes. In this article, I’ll give you a full-fledged idea about API testing and try to answer all your questions. So, let’s get to it.

What is API Testing?

API stands for Application Programming Interface. A software testing strategy that checks whether an API performs the way it should define API testing. In other words, it analyzes API’s functionality, readability, performance, and security.

In conventional testing, developers work with standard inputs and outputs. But in API tests, they use software to call APIs, get results and note down the system’s response.

You already know that the conventional test consists of three layers: presentation, business, and database. API works as an add-on to the middle layer (business) of traditional testing. The API test lies between the presentation and business layer in software development.

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Types of API Test

Different API tests are available to ensure the ongoing project’s API works as it should. Let’s get to know some of those.

Functional Testing

The definition of functional testing is simple. It ensures whether the software of the application is performing within the expected parameters.

This method analyzes the whole codebase and compares it with the intended output to get to a decision. The software can also prevent bugs outside the designed parameters in this process.

Reliability Testing

Reliability ensure consistency in software testing. It ensures whether an API can perform and function consistently in each testing environment for a specific time. In general, the purpose of this type of API testing is to ensure that the end product is error-free and reliable at the same time.

Validation Testing

Validation testing mainly checks the behavior and efficiency of an API. It’s a quality assurance strategy for determining if the product is ready to meet the dev’s and client’s expectations. The testing process is divided into three question sets to verify the entire development process.

  • The first set addresses the product. Checks if it’s correctly built, has proper baseline coding, how it solves an issue, etc.
  • The second set is about the API’s behavior. This means it confirms whether an API behaves as intended.
  • The third and final set of questions looks at the efficiency of the product.

Load Testing

In API tests, developers use load testing to understand how an API performs with the increased number of calls. This test helps the development team to agree on whether the product can meet certain real-life expectations under a high load.

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Security Testing

Security Testing gives the Dev team an overview of how the API will perform against cyberattacks. The process tests an API’s encryption methods and checks how it behaves with permissions and access controls.

Penetration Testing

You can call it “Security Test 2.0” because this process is the next level of security testing. In this type, the testers analyze different attacks on API from an outsider’s point of view. This helps them to design better security for the product.

Fuzz Testing

In this API test, developers input massive amounts of invalid data to see how the API responds to errors. It also checks if the API processes those errors or crashes badly.

UI Testing

The general idea of UI testing is to check whether the API or other integral parts’ user interface is running correctly. In terms of the codebase, UI testing is not a significant part of API testing. However, this process helps measure the health and efficiency of the app’s front-end and back-end.

Runtime and Error Detection

This type of testing is directly associated with the running of the API itself. Mainly, it monitors, overviews, and executes errors and resource leaks of a product.

Benefits of API Test

Traditional testing does not cover all the aspects of back-end testing. As a result, the final product has a high possibility of containing bugs, which is pretty bad. That’s why we need API tests to ensure connections among different platforms are safe and reliable.

However, there’re other benefits of using API tests as well. Let me cover some of those for you.

  • API test is language-independent. In the test, data is exchanged via XML and JASON format. It gives you an edge to use any language format you want.
  • One of the best things about API testing is that it lets developers access the app without using the user interface. This way, the tester can identify bugs beforehand in the development lifecycle.
  • API test gives you improved test coverage. Most APIs allow you to create an automated test with enormous test cases. This applies in both functional and non-functional tests.
  • It is already known but let me tell you one more time that API testing takes less time. It can save you up to eight hours.

These are some of the biggest benefits of using API tests. Since you already know it’s a software-dependent testing strategy, you must be expecting a few names to get started with the process.

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API Testing Tools

Every developer has two options to run an API test: Write a framework or work with the ready-to-go tools. Yes, both have pros and cons, but I’ll talk about the available software on the market.

There are a lot of API Testing tools out there on the internet. However, as the internet has become a tough place to find the best things, I’ll give you a few names to work with.

  1. SoapUI: Soap UI is one of the world’s most popular SOAP and REST APIs. Its open-source testing functionality offers inspection, simulation, development, and invoking of a web service. The best thing about this API testing tool is that it is entirely FREE. So, you can run, integrate, and simulate your project here without worrying about anything.
  2. Apache JMeter: Apache JMeter is a pure open-source Java application designed for functional testing, load testing, and performance testing. Generally, developers use it to analyze how much load a product can take or, in shorter words, load testing.
  3. Apigee: Apigee is a Google cloud-based API analysis and management software. The app first started its journey back in 2004. In 2016, Google bought the software for 625 million USD. You can use the tool for free for the first few times, but you have to buy it eventually.
  4. REST Assured: REST Assured is another Java application on my list. But the best thing about this tool is that it easily handles JAVA. With this one, source code becomes shorter and easier to read and understand.
  5. Testsigma: Testsigma is a cloud-based E2E API testing tool. The company gives you 30 days of free trial with the product. The tool features a simple setup with no coding policy. This way, non-technical people can also run and analyze test results.
  6. Swagger UI: Swagger UI lets the testers or the customers interact and visualize the API without any implementation logic in its place. The tool works in all development environments and supports all browsers. It is fully customizable, and the best part, you can easily handle it.
  7. Postman: Postman is a complete and customizable API testing tool that allows you to design, run, mock, monitor, and publish the APIs from one place.
  8. Katalon: Katalon is one of the most productive IDEs out there for API automation. It works with modern frameworks like most other API testing tools. The best part about the tool is that it’s low maintenance.

The Last Words

API test is more like conventional software testing on steroids. The main difference is steroids have too many cons, but API testing doesn’t. I’ve tried briefly explaining API testing and its benefits in the above article.

Yes, there are a few anti-sides as well. Since the number is way too less, I didn’t feel the urge to address them. One of the biggest problems with API testing is MAINTENANCE.

But I’ve already given you a list of automated tools as a big SOLUTION to this problem. I hope this article was enough to answer all of your concerns.

Alan Jackson

Alan is content editor manager of The Next Tech. He loves to share his technology knowledge with write blog and article. Besides this, He is fond of reading books, writing short stories, EDM music and football lover.

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