Top 5 Challenges in API Testing An API, expanded as Application Performance Interface, sets out rules, protocols, routines, tools, and logic required to establish a proper communication among several applications and systems. Let’s consider, and the application pyramid consists of three layers, namely the data, server, and the presentation layer. An API, in that case, will form the middle, or the server layer of the pyramid.
Several apps consider API testing as a necessity today. The server layer, also known as the logic tier of the testing pyramid mentioned above, and this tier comprises functions like messaging queues, web servers, calls among apps, etc. Here, data from various databases are gathered by multiple technologies and then presented to the end-user, if more emphasis is laid on API testing, the quality of the final product can be enhanced manifold and the product reliability also increases considerably.
However, software testing teams that are responsible for testing API implementations, often face some distinct challenges throughout the testing procedure. Since it is a part of the integration testing process, it witnesses communications that happen between two systems. One of which is not under the control of the software testing professional.
Let us go through some of the significant challenges faced in API testing:
1. The API testing setup
While manual testing confirms the proper functioning of the product or application under test, in case of automated testing, APIs are necessary parameters to assess how a product performs under high-pressure situations. Quite often, the trickiest part of the procedure is to set up the testing infrastructure and get it to run. Although it is not mainly a complicated process, the laborious nature of it takes a toll on the motivation of the testers. However, once the team is motivated enough to go through the setup phase successfully. It will be truly worth the toil!
Solution: An excellent solution to this problem would be to start API testing right from the phase of design. It would be best if you determined then onwards regarding how you will test the API. You should also check your APIs at regular intervals for a 100% uptime.
2. Tracking the API inventory
An application utilizes numerous APIs. However, each of these APIs works independently without having to rely on each other. Rapid updates are an integral part of API testing and that again is also a challenging part. It becomes tough for software testers to keep track of all the rapid updates and again to manage the way these updates affect the functioning of the application overall. It is, however, an important task to maintain the inventory of APIs because, without a proper update, tests may fail, or there can be errors in evaluating the recent updates or changes in the APIs or the application.
In other words, proper maintenance is required in the schema of API testing. This schema refers to the data formatting, which manages the responses and requests for the API. Thus, through a difficult job, the schema should be configured in such a way that it reflects every update to the APIs.
Solution: In today’s scenario of software testing, where API is are of utmost importance, continuously changing APIs assist in meeting the changing demands of the customers. However, these frequent updates may cause downtime. A viable solution to this is to do API testing in alpha and beta environments. When testing in these environments, there are minimal chances of issues related to the rapid updates.
3. Testing the combinations in parameters
To successfully manage communications among different systems, APIs assign parameters with specific data values and then pass on those parameters through the data requests. Since there might be problems related to specific configurations, it is a mandatory practice to test all the possible combinations of parameter requests in the API. At times, in cases of large projects, the same parameter is mistakenly assigned with two unmatching values. In some other instances, in the place of text values, numerical values occur. Therefore, to increase the count of the likely combinations, we should consider adding up an extra parameter.
Solution: It is a good practice to select a couple of applications on which the API can be utilized and then release it to those specific applications. In this respect, you should choose applications that are not crucial for daily operations. This will provide you with a clear picture of the utilization of the API. Moreover, you will also understand whether you need to make any changes in configuration to be ready for a GA (general availability) release.
4. Arranging API Calls in a Sequence
On many occasions, there should be a specific order in which API calls must appear. So that it can function the way it is expected to. This kind of sequencing is, at times, quite challenging for the software testing and quality assurance teams. This procedure becomes even more complicated when testers need to work with applications that are multiple-threaded. For example, even before a user profile, if a call goes through to return the user’s profile, the request will produce an error. Therefore, proper streamlining of the calls after sorting the stages is crucial.
Solution: The right solution for the above challenge would be to create a flowchart that will assist in visualizing the API calls. This kind of flowcharting will also assist the development teams. To not only build the API calls but also integrate them at a faster pace without any glitches.
5. Proper Integration with Data Tracking System
The proper functioning and integration among the API testing system. And the system responsible for data tracking is the final challenge. Ensuring this proper functioning is essential to determine whether a call has been functioning correctly. In addition, to fetch accurate responses about the correct working of the call. We can monitor API performance through this. This process being at almost the last stage of API testing. Moreover, testers may become quite tired and pay less attention to this aspect.
Solution: To solve this issue, the integration of the application with all other systems must be kept in mind right from the design phase. Another great practice is to include and implement load testing in the continuous delivery process.
In conclusion, apart from keeping the above solutions in mind. API testing challenges can be met through proficient software testers, ones who are well versed with a vast range of API protocols. Proper monitoring and sequencing of all the tests and tasks can help in the smooth testing of APIs.