Parasoft API Testing Upgrade Addresses Mobile Move to REST/JSON

Recognizing that RESTful APIs are becoming the de facto standard for mobile app development, Parasoft announced that its API Testing tool has been upgraded to address that trend.

"The demand for greater mobile access is driving the shift from XML/SOAP to JSON/REST," Parasoft said in its announcement last week. "In fact, ProgrammableWeb predicts that the number of new JSON APIs will exceed the number of new XML ones at some point this year."

While the XML data format and its development partner SOAP Web services are more established, longstanding technologies, JSON is becoming more popular for data delivery, partly because it's more efficient and compatible with JavaScript and other development languages in wide use by mobile app developers.

ProgrammableWeb, which keeps track of APIs in use by the development community, said "[our] historical API data shows that XML as a data format peaked in mid-2009, but that JSON has been rising for the last eight years."

In response, Parasoft said it has redesigned the interface of its tools for testing GUI-less apps to integrate with JSON-specific tools such as JSON Asserter and JSON Data Bank. That reportedly makes it easier for mobile app developers to configure extraction and validation of JSON messages and provides for easier customization of specialized tests.

The company also said its upgraded testing API Testing tool makes it easier to run complex load tests on remote computers, ideal for rapid load testing in distributed or cloud-based environments.

Other enhancements include better reporting of penetration testing and runtime error detection.

In addition to REST/JSON, Parasoft API Testing supports more than 80 other message formats and protocols, the company said.

The API Testing tools employ another growing trend, service virtualization, to simulate test environments. It can be used to simulate behavior in accessing a dependent resource, for example, from mobile apps, databases or existing systems, or to simulate API behavior in a testing environment that protects production systems.

Such service virtualization was earlier mentioned as a growing factor for developers in 2014 by industry watcher Theresa Lanowitz in an article. The founder of industry analyst firm Voke said the technique could become the center of the new application lifecycle. "The app lifecycle needs to be built using things like service virtualization, virtual lab management, and dev/test cloud," she said. "You want to give developers and testers environments as close to production as possible, so that the testers can test and immediately give developers the defects to remediate. This approach also reduces the provisioning time; developers and testers don't have to wait for lab environments. And you want to be able spin up a platform very quickly, and then replicate that platform throughout your software supply chain."

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.