Challenges in API testing

Initial Setup of API testing

In API testing, both manual and automated testing matter. While manual testing confirms whether the app works, automated testing helps to check how effectively the app performs under pressure. Setting up the test infrastructure get it working is considered among the most challenging tasks of the testing process, as it is not only particularly tricky but also a significantly motivation-killer. However, it will be a long-term benefit once the team gets through those challenging setup process.

To avoid these challenges, teams need to start the API testing in the early stage, specifically in the design phase and make sure to conduct the interval checking of APIs for 100% uptime.

Update the Schema of API testing

The schema (data formatting which handles requests and responses for the API) should be maintained during the testing process. Any changes in the program that create additional parameters for the API calls must be reflected in the schema configuration.

In today’s API economy, the changes in API helps facilitate the demand, but those changes can cause downtime. To avoid this issue, the team needs to test the API in beta and alpha environments, which is seen to reduce 90% of the chances of issues happen.

Testing Parameter Combinations

APIs handle communication between systems by assigning data values to parameters and passing these parameters through data requests. Testing all possible parameter request combinations in the API is necessary to detect the problems regarding the specific configurations. A more significant project would end up assigning two different values to the same parameter, or create instances where numerical values appear when text values should be. Adding parameter will aggressively increase the number of possible combinations.

This challenge can be solved by picking some applications that aren’t very critical to daily operations to utilize the API and release it to those applications only. By doing this, testers can know how the API is utilized and whether there are any changes should be done for a general availability release.

Sequencing the API Calls

It is a challenge for testing teams when API needs to be in a specific order to work correctly. For instance, a call to return a user’s profile information goes through before the profile is created, the request will return an error. The process can become even more significantly difficult when involving more applications.

To help overcome this issue, a flowchart is recommended to visualize the API calls. Developers then can build and integrate API calls faster with less unexpected problems.

Validating Parameters

Software testing team may find it challenging invalidating the parameters sent through API requests because of the sheer number of parameters and use cases for those parameters. Testers need to ensure all parameter data uses the correct string or numerical data type, fits within length restrictions, fits within the designated value range and pass other validation criteria.

To solve this problem, testing team can use the continuous synthetic API monitoring to detect the problem early. Besides, it should be combined with an APM solution to get the 360-degree view.

Tracking System Integration

Ensuring the API testing system is working correctly with the data tracking system is another challenge in API testing. This integration is essential in bringing back the appropriate responses on whether a call is working properly. It is also useful in monitoring the API performance. Tracking system integration is a late stage in a whole process, which cause the team not to give it enough attention.

It can be improved by planning since the design phase to see how it will integrate with other systems. Each application has various requirements that need to be met. So, the team should not test in parallel with other critical integration systems. This can be achieved by implementing and adding load testing in the continuous delivery.