Many SmartBear testers who use SoapUI Pro to tackle their automated API functional testing know the importance of end-to-end testing of the entire back-end. Making sure those critical web services like REST, GraphQL APIs, and others are functioning is why testers use SoapUI Pro to create, run, and analyze complex tests. Creating comprehensive end-to-end tests is the best way to validate the entire workflow of your APIs from either an API definition or live endpoints. With those tests, the back-end of your web services are able to flow and function smoothly.
Soap functional testers are adept at creating, running complex functional tests and finding bugs with APIs. Most APIs are consumed by other services and in a large number of cases by UI layers in web, mobile and desktop apps.
The functionality of APIs can be validated by exercising the APIs or the services that call them. An alternate or truer mechanism can be the exercising of the application workflows as end users do using the UI layers of the web, mobile and desktop apps. These end-end workflow tests when created and tested have the dual advantage of testing the UI layers and also testing the APIs that serve them underneath.
But what about the front-end?
As organizations are shifting left, becoming leaner and becoming more agile in an effort to delivery software faster with unsurpassed quality, functional testers are being tasked with testing the API layers and the UI layers. Additionally, the shift left movement means that API endpoints are being tested by more than just QA or SDETs, which benefits the final product. Revealing or discovering issues earlier in the process makes it easier and much less expensive for the team to resolve.
This is particularly true in smaller, fast moving teams and organizations and in instances where an older application has been retrofitted with a new services layer in an effort to support digital transformation.
Increasingly, we are seeing that API testers are becoming responsible for not just making sure the back-end of web services works correctly, but that the front-end looks and functions well too. Mobile and web testers are now tasked with tackling the entire functional testing lifecycle and getting more of that API experience.
When that test automation engineer is writing a test script for the frontend, ideally they are also keeping the backend in mind and writing a test script that matches up as well.
In a number of instances, especially for web apps and native mobile apps. Testers who are charged with testing both the UI and API layers have a few choices.
- Test the API layers and then test the UI which will also test the API’s
- Test the UI which will indirectly test the API layers
- Find a set of complementary tools that allow the use of an API functional test alongside a UI functional test tool. This has some overlap but it ensures that all use cases including edge cases are covered effectively
To that end, those testers need testing tools that play well together and are able to communicate in sync. More and more, we’re seeing SoapUI Pro users ask and using CrossBrowserTesting to test their web apps, as well as BitBar for their mobile app testing – both of which have API’s which are being tested using SoapUI
By further connecting your back-end and front-end functional testing, API testing should also fit neatly into your continuous delivery/continuous integration (CI/CD) pipeline. SoapUI Pro and both CrossBrowserTesting and BitBar are designed for test automation and for those automated tests to fit seamlessly into your DevOps or Agile development workflow.
Diagnosis of problems will also be quicker and smoother with the UI test driving the front end which in turn drives the APIs. Some visual bugs could be the result of bad code on the frontend or the API having an issue pinging the database the showcase the correct visual. Without this exercise of using the application workflow, the backend test automation test may not have catch issues that the front end testing does. The test automation engineer working on both parts will know that.
Whether you’re an API tester looking to branch into the front-end of your website, or a UI/UX designer looking to learn more about how APIs work on the back-end, SmartBear tools are designed to help you get there and manage that process more efficiently.