Rapidly Navigating Changes in APIs, Testing & Monitoring

by | June 12, 2015

If you’ve built your company’s online infrastructure around the skeleton of an API (or multiple APIs), it’s essential to always be prepared for unexpected changes that can dramatically impact your software.

Users of Twitter’s “Firehose” data feed encountered such a problem in April after the social media staple announced that they would be phasing out their API in favor of a more licensable model. This decision met with backlash throughout the social media community (particularly from the 3rd party data analysis resellers), but helps to highlight how quickly and unexpectedly the API landscape can shift.

Do you have a plan in place to navigate this rapidly changing technology? If not, your app could be at risk.

Changes You May Face

Fortunately, Twitter’s suspension of Firehose is a fairly uncommon occurrence. For the most part, changes take place over time and involve minor adjustments that can be addressed without too much cause for concern. In fact, if you use APIs, you should anticipate these changes as a regular part of working with these contracts.

As a result, you’ll see changes in new versions that can actually improve the way your app operates. If this change is unexpected, however, you may see a sharp decline in the performance of your app before you make the switch to the updated version. This has many developers look for an easy way to monitor their API to predict and respond to changes in the code.

Testing and Monitoring as Navigational Tools

You can’t predict the future. A change may blindside you and limit your app’s functionality, but if you’re constantly testing and monitoring its functionality and performance, you may have the competitive edge when it comes to keeping up with advancing technology.

API Testing

API testing services can provide you with valuable insight into API behavior and functionality. Many load testing service providers also offer API testing.

By testing the API in a variety of circumstances, you can remain confident in the knowledge that it can perform in diverse real-world scenarios. You’ll learn how it responds to high traffic, and when its performance is limited by something like an algorithm change.

API Monitoring

API monitoring services, on the other hand, will allow you to track changes in real time, without having to perform a test ahead of time. Testing is preventive maintenance for your application, whereas monitoring allows you to keep your eye on its upkeep at all times. You can choose to receive alerts when something goes wrong, which will help you avoid costly downtime or other errors.

An outdated API version can also dramatically impact your page load speed, so it’s vital that you use both testing and monitoring services to avoid the negative side effects of frequent changes. These are just a few of the benefits associated with testing and monitoring your application.

These tools can help you navigate the complex world of API changes. Whether you’re looking for one-time tests or regular app monitoring, testing services like Apica can help keep your API up and running at all times. Use an API testing and monitoring service to ease your concerns about unforeseen occurrences and maintain its high performance despite frequent changes.