IT automation is an essential business best practice that has enabled countless organizations to become more efficient. According to a survey by Salesforce, 95 percent of executives and directors see the value of automation, and 88 percent want to pursue automation as a key investment for their business.
This general tenet holds for the specific case of API automation as well. APIs are a highly underrated, yet critical, technology that underpins the modern digital ecosystem. But what is API automation, exactly, and how can API automation benefit your organization? Keep reading for these answers and more.
Table of Contents
- What is API Automation?
- Automation for API Generation
- Automation for API Testing
- How Integrate.io Can Help with API Automation
What is API Automation?
First, some background: an API (application programming interface) is a set of shared functions that defines the protocol for how two different software applications or services can communicate with each other and exchange information — even if different people know nothing about one another create these two systems.
The most popular type of API is a REST API (“REpresentational State Transfer”), a flexible and lightweight architecture that’s compatible with multiple data formats.
API automation, therefore, refers to the use of automation for building, deploying, and testing APIs. Using API automation can help make your business more flexible, productive, and cost-efficient, freeing up your employees to concentrate on higher-value activities.
Related Reading: Why You Need a Fully Automated Data Pipeline
Automation for API Generation
The first use case of API automation is the automatic generation of an API between two previously disconnected applications or services.
Depending on the use case and technical complexity, manually building an API can be a highly technical and time-intensive project — if you can even get your hands on a qualified API developer in the first place. Estimates for the cost of building an API can easily stretch into tens of thousands of dollars, with a project timeline of weeks or months. Also, these estimates don’t account for continual support and maintenance if the underlying services change.
But what if you could slash this timeline from weeks to just minutes? The good news is that you don’t have to imagine, thanks to production-ready API automation tools that can instantly generate new integrations between your chosen data sources.
The benefits of automated API generation include:
- Lower costs: API automation tools are much less expensive than paying the full-time salary of a human API developer.
- Easier management: Robust API automation platforms let you view and manage your generated APIs under one roof, making it simpler to keep track of them all.
- Greater flexibility and stability: Manually developing APIs can be brittle and unstable if something changes in the underlying technologies. API automation can fix these issues and keep your API running smoothly.
Automation for API Testing
Like with any other software product, you should test new releases of your API before you deploy it to production. This leads to another use case for API automation: running automated tests on the API to ensure that it’s functioning properly.
Successful API calls typically finish by returning the information requested — or at the very least, the “200 OK” HTTP code, which indicates that the operation was executed without error. If the API request was unsuccessful, the user will usually instead get back an error code that provides a clue to the specific issue. In rare cases, however, the user will have to wait indefinitely for a result — which indicates that something unorthodox is going on.
You need to test APIs at regular intervals, using the standard suite of automated software tests. These include:
- Unit tests to ensure that different functions or procedures in the codebase are working as expected.
- Functional tests to ensure that the API is performing its expected functions.
- Integration tests to check that different parts of the API are working together.
- Load tests to evaluate the API’s performance during unexpectedly high levels of demand.
- Security tests to hunt for flaws or vulnerabilities that could expose sensitive information.
How Integrate.io Can Help with API Automation
We’ve established that API automation can be a massive time-saver for your organization. There’s just one question left: how do you actually do API automation?
For many businesses, the correct answer is Integrate.io. This is a powerful, feature-rich platform for ETL (extract, transform, load) and data integration that enables users to connect their data sources with their enterprise data warehouse or data lake in the Cloud. Besides Integrate.io’s simple drag-and-drop interface and more than 140 pre-built integrations, one of the greatest features is its REST API connector.
Integrate.io’s REST API connector helps you automatically fetch data from third-party services with HTTP endpoints, and it is compatible with all the major websites: YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Shopify, etc. You can also use the Integrate.io REST API connector to gather data from internal systems that lack a fully exposed database layer. The connector includes advanced features as well (e.g., pagination for retrieving large amounts of data, and rate-limiting to avoid bumping up against a service’s usage constraints).
Want to see for yourself how Integrate.io can help with the API automation process? Get in touch with our team of data integration experts today for a chat about your business needs and objectives, or to start your 7-day pilot of the Integrate.io platform.