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API Testing in the Production Environment

Tamir Hyman
By Tamir Hyman
5 min read
API Observability
API Testing in the Production Environment

Testing in a development environment is great. You can control your entire environment, ensuring all your APIs are connecting as designed. In the development environment, you can catch bugs and prevent errors from reaching production code. In a perfect world, the development environment enables developers to prevent glitches from creeping up when actual users start using the application. 

The problem with testing in a controlled environment, though, is that it doesn’t assure stable performance once the application is released into the real world. Users may have a different approach to using an application than developers intended and the demands placed on a system can change when it goes into production.

For successful API testing, it isn’t enough to spend time in a controlled testing environment. You need to take the software out for a spin in an uncontrolled production environment to ensure it will meet the performance and functionality demands of its users. 

Testing in Production

Testing in production means your application is being tested on live user traffic rather than in a staging area. At the end of the day, passing production tests are much more important than passing tests in the development environment. Users don’t really care if the application works in a controlled environment; they want to be sure that the software works when they use it. 

developer working

Production testing offers real-time performance monitoring of your APIs, with user traffic and application data in flux. It enables developers to get a clear view of API performance to resolve potential issues. 

Developers also get a better view of bugs, which may have been hidden in the development environment. Moving to a live production environment helps uncover bugs that may interfere with API performance. 

Testing in production helps developers deal with system anomalies more effectively. It helps them improve the user experience, protect the brand’s reputation, and generates more revenue, as the software is more resilient and less prone to crashes. 

Challenges of Testing in Production

There are a number of different challenges facing developers in a production environment. One of the bigger issues is the need to test with production data to trigger some of the bizarre edge cases that come up once software goes live. 

While some edge cases are minor and may only impact a small user group, such as iPhone users who are using a Google Chrome browser, other edge cases can cause the system to crash or distort data. 

In addition, it’s important that developers include regression testing as part of their production environment testing. This ensures that APIs work before any type of adjustment and continue to work after an unrelated fix has been made.   

Types of API Production Testing  

API testing

There are a number of different types of API tests you should  run in production. 

API Baseline Testing

Baseline testing sees how your APIs perform and develops a baseline for future tests and discerns how it compares against any service level agreements you have. The test should help demonstrate the normal response for your API and can be used to set up the assertion for other tests.  

API Regression Testing

As bugs are fixed and software continues to be adjusted, it is important to run API regression tests. These tests are performed to ensure that other changes didn’t lead to unintended consequences and the APIs are still functioning as designed. It helps manage the risk in development.  

API Monitoring Testing

Monitoring tests provide development teams with feedback on how well the API testing is going. It helps to confirm that APIs are performing as expected. 

API Reliability Testing

Reliability testing measures whether your API is producing consistent results, in addition to showing whether the connection between platforms are constant.

API Contract Testing

Contract testing checks to ensure that services, such as APIs, are integrated correctly and are able to communicate with each other. 

API Positive and Negative Testing

Positive API tests are those where the software receives valid inputs through the API and checks whether the API works correctly. Negative API tests, on the other hand, test how the system performs when given invalid inputs. For example, if you had a field that required a 10-digit telephone number, a positive test would enter a 10-digit number to see how the system reacted, while negative tests would see what happens when a user enters fewer or more numbers into the field, or tries to enter alphabet characters.

Testing in Production: Part of any Modern Quality Strategy

Today's developers are turning more and more toward production environment testing, and it is vital to include API tests during that stage. Production testing helps detect problems in scenarios that are difficult to replicate in a production environment. The natural usage patterns that take place when software is live needs to be measured and evaluated. It can also help create a more effective disaster recovery process as test results can highlight issues that the software is dealing with. 

With Seekret, you can gain observability into production and really learn the ins-and-outs of your APIs. Testing APIs in production environments is part and parcel of any production testing and can go a long way to ensure that your applications and other software create an outstanding user experience. 

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