Moving to extend the scope and reach of its service for designing and developing APIs, Apiary today launched an API testing service. In doing so, Apiary is joining an increasingly crowded market of solution providers that address the need for API testing. That list includes SmartBear, API Science, APIMetrics, Parasoft and Runscope, among others.
Based on an HTTP testing framework for APIs, previously known as Dredd, the API testing software developed by Apiary had previously been available as an open-source project on GitHub. Now Apiary CEO Jakub Nesetril says the company is making use of that code to provide access to API testing that is delivered as part of its cloud service.
The new testing service enables users to test API specifications with the backend implementation from their local environment as well as within a Continuous Integration framework. Prior to the availability of this testing service, Nesetril says Continuous Integration for API specification had been a tedious multi-step process requiring knowledge of command line tools to integrate services. Rather than writing manual tests that often require at least one line of code for each key, Nesetril says the testing service dynamically tests everything in an API Blueprint against the implementation. API Blueprint is Apiary's API description language and it competes with other API description languages such as RAML and Swagger.
In addition, Nestril says that the Apiary testing service automatically generates all the documentation associated with any API that is tested. While the Apiary platform is built on top of API Blueprint, developers can import Swagger/RAML files, but Apiary itself will not generate them.
Nesetril notes that Apiary is not testing how RESTful any given API is, but rather simply confirming that the functions that the API are supposed to perform actually work. Unlike traditional web services interfaces, Nesetril notes that REST APIs are more of an integration philosophy than an actual technical specification. As such, the Apiary testing service is focused on the robustness and security of the actual API implementation, says Nesetril.
In general, developers don’t like to spend any more time testing APIs than they do actual application code. And yet, these days they often wind up writing more APIs than generating application code. Rather than wasting time on manually testing APIs and then failing to document what’s in them, Nesetril says Apiary set out to make testing APIs as frictionless as possible.
As API development and management tools continue to evolve, testing and analytics services are increasingly becoming features of larger platforms. The degree to which various IT organizations will take advantage of these capabilities will naturally vary. But the one thing that is certain is the tolerance that organizations have for APIs that don’t live up to their promise gets less and less with each passing day.
Disclosure: MuleSoft, parent company to ProgrammableWeb, is a competitor to the company mentioned in this article.