SmartBear Eases API Building, Testing With New Tools

SmartBear announced new technology to help developers build and test APIs. The company also released results of its 2016 API survey.

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SmartBear Software, a provider of software quality tools for developers, this week announced new API testing and building solutions that enable developers to find bugs faster and to simplify API design.

SmartBear's new Ready! API TestServer is an automated API testing solution aimed at Agile and DevOps teams that are tasked with turning out new software faster. The emergence and growth of the API economy, where businesses are using and sharing APIs to put together applications more quickly, calls for new solutions. Despite the faster pace of development, enterprises cannot skimp on quality.

"APIs have become a fundamental building block to many new technologies—Web, mobile, Internet of things, enterprise integration, big data and more," Paul Bruce, API product marketing manager at SmartBear, told eWEEK. "It is critical that they are designed and built quickly and as defect-free as possible, which is why we provide SwaggerHub and Ready! API to an increasingly mixed audience of developers and professional testing engineers."

SmartBear's Ready! API TestServer enables developers to build and execute tests to validate APIs. And they can use tools they are comfortable with to create test "recipes" that can be used for testing after each build, Bruce said.

With the new tool, SmartBear has made it easy and intuitive to write test recipes, either from Java or straight JSON (JavaScript Object Notation), soon extending out to other languages, as well, he said. The recipe represents basic semantics over how to interact with your API, and since everyone's APIs are different, the detailed semantics change, too. There are also tools to help automate the writing of recipes if developers start with a machine-readable format like Swagger, Bruce added. Swagger is an open-source API framework that SmartBear has taken a leadership position on.

"We provide a rich set of tools for engineers to create reusable tests," Bruce said. "Those tests can be run by other team members or as part of a continuous integration or automated deployment strategy. We provide a few different ways to create these tests, suiting the preferences of both developers who love to code via Ready! API TestServer or via our graphical Ready! API desktop tools. These tests go beyond the basic unit tests that developers use to test their code after the build process."

The product also automates both unit and functional testing with real data.

"Real data in functional and unit tests often exercises different logical paths in your API code," Bruce said. "Using a realistic set of data for testing often exposes issues that impact other data caching mechanisms and hardware resources, particularly in databases and proxies, that wouldn't otherwise be exposed by static, one-off testing. Data is part of every modern system, so testing without it is like only asking half a question and expecting a proper answer."