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How Mature Is Your API Testing Process?

Assess where your organization's API testing currently stands and see what’s involved in moving forward

Without an enterprise-level automated solution for ensuring the integrity of APIs and API-driven composite applications, organizations risk:

  • Brand erosion as faulty software drives away customers
  • Time-to-market delays that diminish market share
  • Exposure to legal liability associated with application failure
  • Failure to comply with applicable regulatory standards and technical contracts

API Testing solutions help organizations reduce the risks, costs, and resources associated with exposing and consuming APIs. The application of API Testing solutions can range from very simple ad-hoc or reactive efforts to highly-complex test environments driven by business risks.

Ad-Hoc API Testing
With ad-hoc API testing efforts, no formal process or tool is used to unit test or exercise the API. It is assumed that the API is exercised via manual testing of the UI. Ad-hoc API testing characteristics include:

  • Organization has invested little in test automation.
  • Manual test efforts are the primary driver for QA.
  • Defects are commonly found in deployed applications.
  • Test breadth is severely hampered by lack of automation.
  • Limited understanding of the dependent endpoints.

Any pockets of maturity at this point are based on the experience and initiative of individuals. There is no centralization of assets; it’s every man for himself. Along the same vein, testing assets are typically created as one-off solutions and stored on a local machine, inaccessible to anyone but the creator. There’s no test automation here; it’s all manual, ad-hoc execution.

Organizations are driven to move to a mature level of API testing when:

  • Proliferation of APIs exposes weakness within the quality process, requiring an API-centric view for testing.
  • Brittle manual tests impede agility.
  • Composite applications with dependencies beyond the group’s direct control add complexity.

Optimized API Testing
With optimized API testing efforts, business risks drive the testing process and the optimization of associated policies. Optimized API Testing characteristics include:

  • Optimized environment for goal-oriented, business-driven scenarios significantly reduces application risk.
  • Test scenarios are reused as components of complex end-to-end transactions.
  • Consistent, continuous environment access enables more extensive and accurate testing to occur with or without access to a staged test environment.
  • A Center of Excellence is established to optimize and manage policies, procedures, and standards.

At this point, there’s seamless integration and orchestration of Service Virtualization with virtual test lab management systems. Automated regression suites are called and executed against complex environments and environment-based views deliver perspective on coverage and business risk.

API Testing Maturity Model

APITestingMaturityThis is just a brief introduction to the two extremes of API testing maturity. Most organizations today fall somewhere in between these two polar extremes.

Parasoft has developed an API Testing maturity model that provides a detailed look at the five different levels of API testing: Ad-hoc, Reactive, Proactive, Managed, and Optimized.

If you want to assess where your organization currently stands and see what’s involved in moving forward, download the complete API Testing Maturity Model.

More Stories By Cynthia Dunlop

Cynthia Dunlop, Lead Content Strategist/Writer at Tricentis, writes about software testing and the SDLC—specializing in continuous testing, functional/API testing, DevOps, Agile, and service virtualization. She has written articles for publications including SD Times, Stickyminds, InfoQ, ComputerWorld, IEEE Computer, and Dr. Dobb's Journal. She also co-authored and ghostwritten several books on software development and testing for Wiley and Wiley-IEEE Press. Dunlop holds a BA from UCLA and an MA from Washington State University.

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