What Are API and API Testing?
API or Application Programming Interface can be described as a kind of communicating bridge or messenger between two different software. You surely know that applications need to rely on or collaborate with other applications to complete a task. So, API is the medium that they use to link themselves and share the necessary data for completing a task. For example, you see Google Weather as an app in your phone, so how does it provide you with the exact weather report of your current location even if you keep moving from place to place. Hence, you must know that it is using multiple necessary APIs along with Google’s location API that is immensely beneficial and necessary for finding out the simplest way to your destinations wherever you search for.
Now, as you got an idea of what APIs are, how they handle dependencies, you must know about checking the highest level of performance from no matter what API you are using (e.g. Rest API, Open API, Ready API, etc.). So, that form of software testing where you face the hassle for ensuring proper delivery of your API performance is called API testing. API automation testing also solves the purpose of making it sure if an API is capable of handling the amount and type of load that is going to be there as its responsibility for maintaining a smooth CI/CD pipeline.
APIs play crucial roles in the modern agile software development process and like most other aspects of agile methodologies, manual testing is never a popular choice for testing the APIs. That’s because manual testing of APIs forces the testers to write code to test them. Also, keep a point in mind that API testing is performed at the message layer due to the absence of GUI there. So, you can clearly see that automation testing and automated testing tools or automation framework are the choices testing your APIs. Let’s proceed further to know their importance and to get a detailed overview of the best API testing tools.
Importance or Benefits of API Automation Testing In Agile
You have already seen what importance API testing holds in agile methodologies and we have already discussed that automation testing is the most effective way to run the API test suites and stabilize the continuous integration part of your business. Now, let’s check out the importance of API automation testing in detail.
- One of the prime objectives of API testing is to make sure that the APIs are returning proper outputs under different circumstances. The common formats of APIs’ outputs are pass or fail status of any API call, data, or generating calls for other APIs. Hence, you can achieve better accuracy and test coverage in your API tests by proceeding through data-driven testing. And, you must know that an advanced testing framework or automated testing tool like PreFlight can help you fulfill your requirements easily.
- There are a few setups or environments to be taken care of before moving on with API tests. You have to configure the database and the server as they are required for the best test results. Then similar to smoke testing, the basic working of the API is checked by making an API call. When all these show positive results, you can proceed with executing your API test cases. And, all these can be done the best with the help of an automated test management tool.
- API testing consists of multiple important forms of tests such as functional testing, load testing, security testing, reliability testing, API documentation testing, performance testing, proficiency testing, etc. And, without an efficient automated testing tool, it will become next to impossible to handle such complex test suites.
- A truly codeless advanced test automation tool like PreFlight enables you to perform your API tests as early as possible. This exempts you from waiting for the complete software build to get completed and the quicker feedback makes you stay ahead of the traditional pace for the tests.
- API automation testing allows you to reach a good level in continuous testing that eventually enables you to achieve faster test maintenance and easy refactoring of code when required.
- Due to the capability to set up every aspect in automation testing, compared to user interface testing (UI tests), you become able to spot more bugs in less time. As a result, it becomes easier for the development team to perform a faster and effective debugging phase.
To cope with the pace of rapid development of software applications, the number of automated testing tools is also increasing at an enormous rate. So, to pick up the best API testing tool for you, if you try to check out all the tools available, you will probably need a lifetime to find out the best choice. However, focusing on some specific points can help you make your selection faster. We are providing a complete guide for the same below.
- Fulfilling Basic API Requirements: Before being able to match with the advanced requirements, a useful tool must be able to fulfill the basic API requirements. So, first make sure that the tool supports the majority of the HTTP requests. It must also allow you to import settings and artifacts from one project/test to another as it will make the test more time efficient.
- Less Complexity: One of the primary qualities of an automated testing tool is that it reduces the overall hassle for the testing process. If your selected tool is so complex that your team needs to acquire a long list of skill sets making the overall testing process insanely time consuming and significantly less efficient. Hence, make sure to select a codeless test automation tool like PreFlight that requires absolutely no coding skills to use it. Using PreFlight enables anyone from any department (e.g. Marketing, Sales, etc.) to create and run unimaginably efficient tests within seconds, and that too with numerous amazing benefits.
- Supports Popular CI/CD Integrations: While working with automated test suites, you often need to integrate with continuous integration systems like Jenkins, Github, Bitbucket, etc. The quality of an advanced testing platform is that irrespective of the type of tests being executed, it allows you to easily integrate with popular tools and technologies required in the CI/CD pipeline. We must mention that PreFlight allows all the popular integrations that you can even imagine.
- Ease of Use: Now this goes without saying that any tool that is easy to use is highly preferred by everyone. So, while selecting the best-suited API testing tool for you, make sure it provides you with the convenience of grouping API requests or organizing them into collections. Make wise decisions to select a truly no-code testing tool like PreFlight that allows you to easily access all its features using a super smooth dashboard and no involvement with coding enables anyone regardless of having technical expertise create and run effective test cases.
- Useful Features: The most useful features that an efficient API testing tool can offer are allowing you to run asynchronous tests to improve the execution time, providing you with quick sharing or synchronization options for teams, enabling you to generate API documentation directly from API testing tools, etc.
- Interoperability: It is a highly useful feature for most agile teams. Team members must be capable of connecting to communication platforms like Slack, project management systems like Jira, Git for version control or their own toolchain. Do remember to confirm this phenomenon while selecting your API testing tool.
- Compatibility For Non-technical People: We have already discussed the importance of having all your team members work collaboratively on every project. One quality of such a tool is that it will support BDD conventions and will be able to export easy-to-understand reports. An absolutely no-code testing tool like PreFlight allows anyone from any department irrespective of having any technical knowledge to work collaboratively in every project. Hence, make sure to book a demo first and select the best one for you.
Till now, you went through a brief idea about API & API testing, and got to know how you can select the best-suited API automation testing tool as per your requirement. Now we are diving into the list of 5 hand-picked best automated API testing tools that we found to be ticking all the qualities to be preferred by everyone.
- It is an absolutely no-code tool so, any member of your team from any department (e.g. Marketing, Sales, etc.) can easily create and run any type of test cases.
- Being a browser-based tool, it doesn’t need you to install any external parameters like plugins, proxies, etc.
- Its feature of auto-recording and saving the tests lets you reuse the test cases and analyze the test results whenever you want from the playbacks.
- Its awesome AI features such as context awareness, easy workflow, object detection methodologies make it easier and more advanced to successfully perform the tests.
- It provides you with the feature of parallel execution of tests so that you can achieve better test coverage in less time.
- You get the benefit of using a smooth dashboard and super easy to use interface to access the features of your tool.
This is a brief view of the numerous features that you can get from PreFlight. However, for a clearer understanding of the same, check out this article “10 Amazing Software Testing Benefits From PreFlight In 2022”.
It is really fascinating how this tool that was initially a chrome plugin has significantly expanded its capabilities upto being one of the most preferred tools for test automation. Postman has now achieved the position in the top line of exploratory or manual testing tools. It has an awesome API development environment that has three parts i.e. collections, workspaces, and built-in tools. The collections part helps you to run requests, test & debug them, create automated tests and mock, document, and monitor API. The workspace part solves the true purpose of being a workspace i.e. it enables you to complete all the collaboration works such as sharing the collections, setting permissions, and managing participation in multiple workspaces regardless of what your team size is. The built-in tools provide the developers with the tools required to work with an API.
Hence, Postman is a great choice in terms of API test automation. And, the best part is that it offers its services across both windows and macOS. Now, let’s break down its features to know them better.
- It helps you use rest services easily.
- It has a great interface that helps you extract all modern web API data.
- It offers availability for both automated and exploratory testing.
- It is not based on the command line and lets you write boolean tests.
- It offers you various integrations like support for Swagger and RAML (RESTful API modeling language) formats.
- It provides you with useful and efficient running, testing, documenting, and monitoring features.
Though here our primary focus is on finding a good API test automation tool, you must know that Testim’s capabilities are not limited to API testing. It is one of the most renowned tools for automating various kinds of tests. Testim is another tool that is worth mentioning and praising for its awesome AI features that create magic in the tasks like test suite execution, maintenance, and creation along with testing your APIs. Check out its remarkable features below.
- Its framework follows the forever learning approach and improves itself with every test suite execution and maintenance activity.
- It allows you to create API actions and validations for standard testing activities.
- It offers you the flexibility to isolate your UI testing by extracting data from your API and efficiently exercising the user interface.
- It provides you with the ability to parallely execute your UI tests and API tests.
4. Katalon Studio
If you look out for a tool that excels in all the testing domains i.e. API, Web, Desktop, and Mobile testing, Katalon Studio will surely be one of the most popular names. It is preferred by most users because it offers easy deployment of apps by including all frameworks, ALM integrations, and plugins in one package. Also, another reason for Katalon staying in the topmost list of API automation testing tools is the capability of combining UI and API/Web services for multiple operating systems (e.g. Windows, Linux, MacOS, etc.). This tool is also praised for its awesome customer support that includes paid support services for small teams, businesses, and enterprises along with the free support. Now, it’s time to take a look at its features.
- It supports both SOAP and REST requests, SSL certificates, various types of commands, and parameterization functionalities.
- Its easy-to-use UI and productivity-centric features are extremely useful for projects of all sizes.
- It enables test imports from Postman, Swagger (2.0 and 3.0), WADL, and WSDL.
- It supports native CI/CD integrations i.e. Jenkins, CircleCI, Azure DevOps, Dockers, etc.
- It supports the data-driven approach that improves the test coverage and reliability.
- It is popular for providing support for AssertJ, one of the most potent assertion libraries that leads to creation of fluent assertion with BDD style.
- It is a suitable tool for both automated and exploratory testing.
- It supports API test data setup using UI testing.
- Both beginners and experts can efficiently use the manual and scripting modes according to different requirements.
- It provides the advantages of using a wide range of pre-built customizable code templates.
- It has a built-in reporting platform for centralizing reports and activities across tool stacks like version control systems, CI/CD, test automation tools, and ALMs.
Apigee is a popular cross-cloud API testing tool that lets you measure & test API performance, support and build API. The popularity of this tool is backed by its preferability in digital businesses and data-rich mobile driven APIs. Also, we must mention its position as one of the leaders in the 2019 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Full Lifecycle API Management four times in a row. Let’s check out the features that got it there.
- It provides PCI, HIPAA, SOC2, and PII for apps.
- It lets the design have the flexibility to monitor, implement, and extend API.
- Since version 4.19.01 in 2019, Apigee users have more flexibility to manage their APIs with features (e.g., Open API 3.0 support, TLS security, Self-healing with Apigee-monit, Virtual host management improvements).
- It is capable of detecting issues related to performance by tracking error rates, API traffic, and response times.
- It allows you to create API proxies with the help of OpenAPI Specification and you can easily deploy them in the cloud.
- It is preferred for its compatibility with APIs containing enormous data.
This article tells you about how important API testing is, why you should automate it to achieve greater efficiency, and gives you an in-depth idea about the top 5 automated API testing tools that serve their users with different sets of amazing features. Hence, you can certainly conclude that API testing is one of the most important parts of the entire testing phase of your product and you can perform it the best using these efficient tools.
Nowadays, test automation is neither limited to API tests, nor it involves too much coding. Effectively no-code test automation tools like PreFlight lets you create any type of test without involving you into even a little bit of coding. Anyone regardless of being technical or non-technical can create and execute effective test cases within seconds. All you need to do is to book a demo and sign up with us.
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