Integration & IT Modernization

How to Solve Common API Testing Challenges

Testing teams face several unique challenges when testing application programming interface (API) implementations. API testing is part of the integration testing process, facing compatibility and communications issues.

In our work with customers, we implement custom solutions. However, there are some common challenges we run into as well. We list them here:

  • Challenge #1: API Testing Setup – Manual testing helps confirm whether something works. Automated testing is necessary with APIs to gauge how well they perform under pressure. Getting the testing infrastructure up and running is often one of the most challenging parts of the process, not because it is particularly difficult, but rather due to the stress it places on teams. To avoid testing challenges, figure out how you want APIs to look in the design phase to make sure your APIs have 100% uptime.
  • Challenge #2: Updating API Schema – In today’s API economy, having an ever-changing API helps facilitate demand. However, when APIs are updated the data formatting that handles requests and responses need to be updated as well. To avoid any downtime challenges, thoroughly test the API in beta and alpha environments. The chances of issues decrease to 90 percent when testing in these environments.
  • Challenge #3: Sequencing API Calls – In many cases, API calls need to appear in a specific order to work correctly. This creates a sequencing challenge for the testing team. For example, if a call to return a user’s profile information goes through before the profile is created, the request will return an error. The process only becomes more complicated with more applications involved. We recommend making a flowchart to visualize the API calls. This will help developers build API calls and integrate them faster without causing issues.
  • Challenge #4: Tracking System Integration – It’s important to make sure the API testing system is working correctly with the data tracking system. This is necessary to bring back correct responses on whether a call is working correctly. It’s also used to passively monitor API performance. To avoid challenges here, think about your application in the design phase and how it will integrate. Make sure you aren’t causing applications to fail by testing in parallel with critical integration systems. This can be accomplished by implementing and including load testing in your continuous delivery.
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About the Author

Albert Qian is a Marketing Manager at Perficient for our IBM PCS, DevOps, and Enterprise Solutions Partners focused on cloud computing technologies.

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