This week on the API Intersection podcast, we interviewed Alex Cherynak, CEO of ZAPTEST, a software organization specializing in software automation testing and merging automation with RPA. ZAPTEST also automates business processes, using APIs and UI steps to overcome specific customer integration challenges.
We chatted with Alex to learn more about automation testing, the role APIs play in that, and why an API-first approach is essential to better performance at ZAPTEST.
Benefits of Automation Testing
When testing software, developers can choose between manual and automated software testing. Alex emphasizes the importance of using automated testing tools to make the testing process more efficient and effective. Manual testing requires more time and is often quite tedious, which is discouraging. On the other hand, software testing automation can streamline this process and make testing a more accessible and integrated part of the software and API lifecycle.
The benefits of automated testing include improved testing efficiency, more continuity, reduced operational costs, more coverage, quicker feedback, enhanced ROI, and greater scalability. Overall, the most significant benefit is that automation testing can reduce product development life cycle costs and time to market.
Although load and performance testing for APIs is relatively simple and clear-cut, many still will only sometimes do it diligently due to a lack of knowledge or lack of flexible technology.
Performance testing of the technology is historically more expensive than functional testing technology, which can deter developers from properly conducting it. However, testing is crucial to getting your API right the first time and should not be overlooked.
The Importance of API Testing and an API First Approach
"API testing is not just about making sure that your endpoints return the right data, but also ensuring that your API is secure and performs well," shares Alex.
API testing is a crucial aspect of software development, and it is critical to thoroughly test APIs to ensure they function correctly and provide a good user experience. In our conversation, Alex emphasized how API testing requires more knowledge and experience in the development and technical side compared to UI testing, which is more intuitive and can be picked up easily by a business-type stakeholder.
His team utilizes a center of excellence (COE) approach to their work but with a hybrid model that optimizes processes and drives faster automation while also unifying artifacts and processes. I have mixed feelings about the COE approach, as I feel it sometimes creates organizational bottlenecks, but they combine that with an API-first approach to all that they do which seems to work well for the ZAPTEST team.
ZAPTEST's API-first focus revolves around the two types of automated testing being driven by APIs and graphical user interfaces (GUIs), meaning they deal with APIs and integrations quite frequently within their testing software. The API-first approach comes into play when Zaptest runs API-driven performance testing, where they can leverage the same API script that they created for functional automation and run it into performance testing.
"If you're not testing your API, then you're not really testing your application. API testing is essential because it's the backbone of most modern applications," shares Alex.
For truly exceptional developer experience, you’ll want to incorporate API testing AND mocking into your development workflow. For more on the differences between the two and how to incorporate mocking with your testing practices, check out this helpful blog.
Ultimately, it's obvious the API-first approach plays a vital role in the impact of testing and automation as a whole. We all know that APIs are the most robust way to integrate systems, so being API-first is a must when going the automation route. It was a pleasure learning more about ZAPTEST and the testing world with Alex. For more insights from industry leaders, check out the API Intersection podcast.