In API development, API virtualization is the final frontier. After creating and testing with individual software parts, like stubs or mocks, API developers finally encounter a full virtual copy of the API. Given that the virtualization mirrors all the important specifications of the API, it enables developers to cover a lot of ground.
But API virtualization isn’t only good for testing. It can be a valuable tool for streamlining the API development process as a whole. If your team is relying on a comprehensive API testing tool and employing the best API testing practices, it will make a world of difference. Combined, these will make the workflow faster, more efficient, more resilient, and better with resources.
Here’s a treatise on how important virtualization can be to API development. These should give you a new perspective on how to approach the virtualization phase.
Working with API Virtualization is Great Practice before Working on the Real Thing
Newbie developers might think that it’s cheaper and more efficient to test on the live API. But that isn’t necessarily the case. It’s actually very risky to test with live services. A live service is likely to still have inconsistencies such as fluctuating latency of response. Setting off anything in the production copy could break the API designers’ momentum and create new obstacles in their workflow.
Therefore, it’s best to leave the work-in-progress alone and do testing in a virtualized environment—it mirrors the API’s specifications, but affords testers less risk. You can test without fear on a 100% available virtualized copy, and then later apply what you’ve perfected in the virtualized environment to the real thing.
You Can Test for Individual Problems in the Service More Thoroughly
With the API virtualization, testers can concentrate on case and context-based testing. They will be able to do so without building, then scaffolding all over again. That energy can be driven towards fine-tuning and resolving specific problems in depth. The extra time and focus on individual problems will definitely pay off before the API goes live.
You’ll Save Costs after Acquiring the Virtualized Copy
Another big difference between testing on the live API versus on the virtualized copy is that doing the former may incur incremental charges. Costs like this can stack up and eat away at the resources you’ve allotted for your API development. Beyond your initial purchase, it could be much cheaper to do work in the virtualized environment.
You Can Test Edge Cases in a Secure Environment
The virtualization can also help you address edge cases, or the problems in the API that can only occur during extremes. These are not often foreseen in the design phase, but you can be more actionable about them during virtualization. During this phase, you can test with extremes related to hostile data, intentional overloads, and the like without worry of the live product crashing.
You Can Give Better, More Honest Projections about API Development to Company Reps and Clients
It’s not good to oversell your API, for example by exaggerating uptime, when you show your progress to your company reps. Your account of the API’s progress directly affects how these reps present the API to clients. It’ll be more honest to show a comparison of your currently achieved uptime in the virtualized copy versus your projected uptime for the API. Your client will appreciate the solid numbers you got from comparing the virtualized copy and live API. Make sure to explain the rationale to company reps who need a little more technical knowledge of API virtualization.
There’s no escaping the reality that having a virtualization made will cost you. In addition, the API testing team may need a little time to familiarize themselves with it completely. But it will be worth it for how much you can streamline your API’s development, from testing to client integration.