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If you’re a programmer, you already know that API development is a long process that involves more than a couple of different stages. You also know that testing is perhaps the most important part of the development process.
Testing can help you find different security gaps, data processing mistakes, and even errors in basic functionality. Unfortunately, since most projects nowadays have short deadlines, developers often don’t pay enough attention to the testing process.
That results in poor products that fail to make the impact they should. Problems are usually kept around beyond the reasonable timespan. In order to help you avoid this pitfall, we’re going to examine some of the more common API testing errors.
Hopefully, this will help you improve your product before the launch date. Without further ado, let’s start, shall we…
Error #1: Outdated Caching
As you already know, caching is what makes the online world go round – saving information into public files, Internet users have the ability to access the same files without adding more load to the server. We couldn’t really imagine today’s online world without proper caching.
While having no caching is almost impossible, having an outdated caching system can really hinder your operation. Just imagine you have an e-commerce website with an outdated caching system – you’d be able to display your product information and pictures of products, but during high-traffic times, clicking on the item would only lead your customers to a 404 error page.
For that reason, you need to think about the way the end-user will interact with your API. If they are going to interact with it multiple times a day, an old caching system that can be used only during medium-traffic flows is not really an option.
Error #2: False Negatives
When you’re testing a piece of software, you’re generally expecting to get either positive or negative results. No matter the nature of testing, the point is to get reliable results that will tell you whether the software is working or not. However, in some cases, the development can get in a way of this and leave you with the so-called “false positives.”
When you’re testing an API, a result of 200 indicates that everything is fine but this is not true in all cases. You see, some API providers put a default state of their product at 200. That means some failures will result in a perfect 200 even after a few tests. For the developer, it seems that nothing is wrong, but for the end user, the story is completely different.
They can clearly see that they’ve encountered an error, even though the program says everything is fine. These situations can be really damaging to the overall user experience. The only advice we can give you here is to check and re-check the error response reports as often as you can. This will ensure that they are responding normally and that they are behaving the way they should.
Error #3: Lack of Communication
Unlike the first two items on the list, this one happens not due to system failure, but to human mistake. And it happens more often than you think. The matter of the fact is – people simply have a problem communicating with others from time to time. You cannot do anything to prevent this completely, because mistakes are bound to happen.
This also happens because teams are often split into different categories like the UX department, support lines, and of course, development department. The communication between these fractions is crucial to the success of your API as a whole, and especially of the testing phase.
Fortunately, the solution to this problem is rather simple: encourage communication between the teams as much as possible. So when you’re setting a blueprint for the whole project is pretty important. It can migrate a number of problems around one feature set additions. If your team members stick to the plan, there should be little to no issues during the testing phase.
Error #4: No Compatibility
When you’re adding a new set of features to your API, the communication between teams isn’t the only thing you should be concerned about. When the development paths are segmented, some people fail to check the compatibility of their segments properly. This results in huge issues during the testing phase.
For example, if your dev team pushes a code change and notifies the front end team about it, and they say they can support without checking if the code is interactive or searchable, you may have a problem on your hands tight there. They may end up rejecting the new feature set later.
Therefore, when you’re integrating a new feature set, you need to make sure that it has been thoroughly tested before and that it can do what you want it to do. You need to test every variation and permutation any a number of ways to ensure that every possible issue can be handled down the line.
Error #5: Not Checking the Readability
Last but not the least, we have readability. What you need to understand here is that the online world is now international. By that, we mean that there are literally millions of interactions every day between hundreds of different programming language and character sets.
The key phrase here is “character sets” – sets of letters, which support a certain programming language. Kanji, Umlauts, and Hiragana all require different character sets to function properly. If they are not present, their calls might fail and cause you huge problems with the API.
While we’re not saying that every language in the world needs to be present, you need to include some of the more common ones, such as English, French, and Chinese should be there. That way, you’ll ensure that all of your data is completely readable, and that is paramount to the success of the testing phase.
You the old saying; “Knowing is half of the battle!” Basically, by recognizing some of the mistakes your colleagues make often during testing, you’ll be able to notice them in time and hopefully avoid them in time. While there are many other errors that occur during testing, these are the most common ones and the most damaging. By keeping these problems in mind, you’ll be able to avoid numerous other issues down the line.
We hope you enjoyed our writing and that you found our API testing guide helpful. As always, if you have any questions or if you feel like missed something crucial, feel free to share it with us by leaving a comment below.