Runscope, which develops tools that monitor API traffic, has launched a new automated API and backend service testing tool to improve the quality of mobile apps.
The new Runscope Radar service, launched at the AWS re:Invent conference in Las Vegas, is designed to alleviate the concerns that come with changing backend APIs. It allows app maintainers to verify that their backend services are returning the data their apps expect with the intent of reducing the frequency of app crashes. But testing can be a fragile process that if it goes wrong can cause a poor experience for the customer. Runscope Radar is designed to help customers change their apps’ backend services without breaking it. The intent is to provide ways to improve the service without disrupting the customer experience.
With Radar, a developer starts with a list of requests and sets the parameters to determine if the API is working. The tests are based on real requests made from apps for high-fidelity recreations of real-world situations.
A customer receives notifications based upon the completion or failure of any test. The service integrates with services like CircleCi, GitHub, Heroku, Jenkins and TeamCity to run API tests on commits, builds or deploys.
For example, a developer consuming an API just wants to make sure that it is not affecting the end-user experience. If an API breaks it disrupts the communication.
“Broken services, broken apps,” said John Sheehan, CEO of Runscope, to me at the conference after his presentation. “Even internal services powering your apps need to be always available.”
APIs are now widely used by developers but reliability is still an issue, as there can be any number of issues with the numerous devices and platforms people use.
There are still few ways to manage API reliability. Companies go through a process of checking with API providers to determine if they can be counted on.
Runscope is a company that offers a service that will become more in demand as APIs become ever more common. The process to test APIs is for the most part a manual one that needs to be more automated. This is especially true as more startups emerge that are pure API services offered as mobile apps.