214: API Fortress Testing and Monitoring with Patrick Poulin

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Patrick Poulin API Fortress TestTalks

Enterprise software needs to innovate quickly to stay competitive. Manual testing of APIs is inefficient. But many teams struggle to understand how to programmatically tests APIs. There are many tools out there but which one is right for you? Today we’ll be Test Talking with Patrick Poulin one of the founders of API Fortress a powerful API testing platform to help eliminate testing bottlenecks. In this episode, you’ll discover why you should add API Fortress to your list of API testing tools to check out.

About Patrick Poulin

Patrick moved to NYC 10 years ago to pursue his technical career. Soon after he was managing the retail vertical for a company building the first mobile websites for over 75 major brands such as Tesco, Target, Macys, and MAC Cosmetics. After a (thankfully) short stint in adtech, he became the API Evangelist for Getty Images. This is where he first recognized the problem of a lack of proper testing for APIs. That experience helped kick off the creation of API Fortress with his co-founder. Patrick doesn't have any hobbies because he lives in NYC and his home is too small to support any.

Quotes & Insights from this Test Talk

  • Whenever there's a new technology when there's an Inception point with that technology the automated testing of that technology doesn't happen for five to six years. So when you look at when you thought like websites became really popular I think the mid-90s then things like browser automation really took off around 99 2000. Then with the iPhone 3G S Appium came out about five years after the iPhone 3G S. So in 2014 you notice that like APIs are really becoming popular. My assumption was always around 2013. So you extrapolate five years from 2012 13 you end up around 2017 2018. So it's actually just history repeating itself, to be honest. You build the technology you see if it works. Once you notice that it works and it makes the money you start putting money back into which really reinforced it and that's for testing and automated testing comes in.
  • These days people are coming to us with the problem and the problem is now that they've added automated testing to their website and their mobile apps how do we get that next level? So people say it's a shift left sometimes and say it's shift up to the API level but. The layer where the data for those web platforms and those applications come from. And so to get to that level they want to add that as part of their CI/CD process.
  • Back in 2014 I was working at Getty Images as the API evangelist and a customer was asking us how the API was responding the day prior and I honestly have no insight I would have to email the developers. Because at that time if you want to write and even a lot today if you want to write like a really good API test you have to write it in code. To do API testing to that level. If you could use a tool like SmartBear soapUI, which is a great tool but you had to write really detailed test groovy and getting from download to your first test takes a while and the same issue of using something like Parasoft SOAtest. Those are two big ones we saw back and we looked at the market in 2014. So my co-founder and I said there has to be something here and that's what we got into like Oh we know why this doesn't exist x it takes about five years for automated testing to become big so we sort of quit our day jobs focused on building a platform and waited for the market to turn and it's turning now and it's good timing because we've been building this product for a while and we're ready for showtime.
  • So the big differentiators are, first of all, we're not a downloadable application we're a web-based platform. So our whole platform can actually be deployed on premises at a large enterprise all with just a docker deployment. And so immediately there are big differences. The big changes between being web-based versus being a downloadable application. Think about it in terms of automation. We have webhooks and API integrations with slack and Hipchat and just think about collaboration standardization. Because right now every team since their downloading applications one team might be using Postman the other team might use SOAPUI and they may not have really detailed tests because what if it's a QA person with limited tech expertise. In our platform you actually just log into a website, you load up an API call, and then you push the generate test button and it generates 90 percent of the test for you in our own markup language which is human readable. Then you make adjustments from there and then you save it and you're good to go.
  • The best type of API test doesn't just exercise an endpoint. It actually goes through a whole user flow like 10 steps and that's really easy to do on our platform and then once you've created that test once you use it during development making sure that each deployment, each new version is actually working correctly and then you use it automatically as part of your deployments. To make sure you're deploying with confidence. Then that same test. Why not use it as your functional uptime monitor. There's a big difference between an API responding with 200 and in APM responding with a 200 and having a completely functional API work workflow. So that's really the big difference for us. It's like you don't need to do separate work for each of these stages. It's one good test used at every stage.
  • One really actionable piece. Just sit down and think about where you see your API testing needs needing to be down the road as opposed to just how you can solve the current issue you have. Because just adding it as part of your CI/CD may not also allow you to do proper functional uptime monitoring or may not be super valuable to your development team that's looking to continually improve upon the platform. So really taking into considerations all those things. Because we deal with customers that are constantly, they reach a wall and they have spent months working towards a wall that they can't get over and then they have to re-platform and redo everything.


  • API Fortress is a complete performance and quality solution for companies that care about their APIs. A web-based platform to help teams evaluate API accuracy, monitor performance, and simulate load. Reduce costs with automated test generation, save time with an intuitive interface, and validate deployments to catch problems before your customers or partners. To learn more about why companies are switching to API Fortress visit http://apifortress.com.

Connect with Patrick Poulin

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