What is API Automation Testing?

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Constantly evolving digital landscape is pushing businesses to continually upgrade and offer innovative features in their digital offerings. Modern businesses need to offer cross-platform applications within a shorter release cycle. Therefore speed, agility and innovation have become key driving forces of any business to achieve customer satisfaction at scale. 

To handle increasing pressure of delivering quality at speed, automation test consultants are now leveraging API automation to achieve end-to-end functioning. It also enables robust lifecycle automation during the automation of testing of applications and decreases time to market. 

Organizations have now started leveraging API based distributed landscape to shift from monolithic systems. It has helped businesses to accelerate digital transformation through cloud environment testing at a scale. API-based systems are helping businesses to monetize core assets by developing new services and enhancing the existing systems. 

The shift towards API-based systems means that new-age applications are not self-contained. A lot of APIs work behind the scenes to deliver a flawless experience to the user. These APIs enable communication between apps, back-end systems, and code modules to meet the business objective. 

Hence, to ensure a flawless customer experience, quality assurance (QA) teams need to test all the application layers and transactions. And this is only possible when API automation testing is leveraged to test all the functionalities of APIs related to the application. 

Importance of automation testing for APIs 

Ever since developers have started using Agile practice for software development, it has been used with CI/CD. This has changed the methods in which software development and test automation is done. Earlier, automation testing was leveraged for graphical user interface (GUI) with automation tools including Selenium. 

Hence, businesses have started using automation testing for APIs to avoid spending resources on fragile, time taking and complex GUI tests. The custom GUI automation testing frameworks used to cost a lot of money and other resources for a short span of time. 

Here are a few more points to help you understand the importance of API test automation. 

  • You can run tests more on a more frequent basis and at a faster pace 
  • Give more frequent and faster feedback to developers 
  • Identify and fix code gaps and UI defects at an earlier stage 
  • Develop easily maintainable and reusable test suites 
  • Achieve simpler validation of the business logic, compliance, security and performance aspects of the application 
  • Reduce the severity and number of errors passed in the production phase 

Advantages of API automation testing 

API automation testing has several advantages including improved resource allocation, better test cycle coverage, faster results and more efficient deliveries. However, the benefit of API automation testing would also depend on the integration requirement, project roadmap and required app functionality. Here are more details: 

Enables microservices 

Businesses are leveraging microservices for application to enable faster and more efficient deployment. It helps in updating a specific functionality or area of the app without affecting or interrupting the functionality of other areas. All the app sections have different commands and data stores to interact with the backend. Hence, only automation testing of APIs can ensure smooth user interface for applications using microservices. 

Reduced testing costs 

Automated API testing solutions have replaced legacy forms that were used for testing. The cumbersome process used to leverage home written scripts and open-source tools leading to higher chances of error. 

API automation testing has helped in reducing errors, time-to-market and the overall cost of the test. On top of that, even less experienced test engineers can perform complex test operations. 

Core functionality testing 

Automation testing also tests the core of entire code functionality which helps in evaluation the entire build strength of the application. It helps to identify loopholes in the code that could transform into a bigger flaw at a later stage.  

More efficient development 

API test automation enables the developer to gain access to the application without a functional UI (User Interface). It helps the test engineer identify errors at an early development stage instead of finding them at a later stage. This helps in saving a lot of time and money during the development process. 

Reduced risk 

API automation testing screens end-to-end risk categories that are often missed during manual testing. API testing is also done using extreme conditions to remove vulnerabilities and make the more robust to defend external attacks. QA engineers can easily simulate security attacks to validate the behavior of backend during such situations and ensure best practices are followed. 

Types of API automation testing 

Multiple API test automation types are leveraged to make sure the proper functioning of application programming interface. 

Validation testing 

Validation testing helps to identify whether the built API is correct for the desired business case or not. It also checks whether the API is working as per the requirement including whether it is fetching the right set of data or not. Validation tests are also done to gauge the efficiency of APIs and identify any codebase errors affecting the API performance. 

Functional testing 

Functional testing is done to ensure APIs are performing exactly as per the expectations of the end user. It analyzes functions of the app with codebase to make sure app is performing within the expected parameters. 

Load testing 

Load testing helps in identifying the number of calls an API can handle at a time. It is often performed on the entire codebase or a specific unit to determine the actual capability of the application in real-world conditions. 

Security testing 

Security testing includes both aspects of penetration and fuzz testing. However, it also validates the encryptions used by the API and the access control design. It also helps in validating the authorization checks to access resources and management of users. 

Wrapping Up 

It has become a crucial part of the QA process to deliver flawless customer experience on digital applications. Automation testing services for APIs can help in identifying end-to-end integration issues across all the offered services. It also helps to save a lot of precious resources and testing efforts that you would have spent on manual testing. With apps becoming more feature-rich and complex at the backend, API test automation will become even more important in the coming years. 

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