1 Why and how we test web APIs


This chapter covers

  • The challenges of building complex API platforms
  • The value and purpose of testing
  • What an API testing strategy looks like and how it can help

How do we ensure that what we’re building is of good quality and is valuable to our end users? The challenge we face when delivering a high-quality product is the sheer number of complex actions and activities that occur in our work. If we want to make informed choices that lead to improved quality, we need to overcome this complexity and develop an understanding of both how our systems work and what our users want from our products. This is why we need to adopt a valuable testing strategy to help us better understand what we’re actually building. So before we begin our API testing journey, let’s first reflect on why software is so complicated and how testing can help.

1.1 What’s going on in your web APIs?

In 2013, the UK government set out a digital strategy to move each department to a “Digital by Default Service Standard,” which included Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (also known as HMRC). HMRC’s goal was to bring all the UK tax services online to improve services and cut costs.

1.1.1 Complexity within web APIs

1.1.2 Complexity across many web APIs

1.2 How does testing help us?

1.2.1 Imagination

1.2.2 Implementation

1.2.3 The value of testing

1.2.4 Being strategic with API testing