API Virtualization: A Strategy for Uniting Teams
Recently an analysis was completed by SmartBear to gauge the sense of what software professionals believe is the core value provided by API virtualization. It was concluded that software professionals, including developers, testers, managers and architects believe that the biggest benefit of virtualization is that it brings teams together by allowing them to collaborate. In total, 18% more respondents indicated that virtualization has more value in uniting teams than it has in adding speed to delivery or reducing costs.
We ran our test via email to a broad sample of our customer base -- about 36,000 email addresses in total. This involved randomly sending one of three different subject lines to each address. The topics of these subject lines positioned API virtualization as a strategy for doing one of the following:
- Uniting dev & test teams
- Delivering APIs faster
- Reducing delivery costs
We measured the interest of the email recipients by tracking which people opened these emails. From there, we dug into the results by job role and job title – bringing us to the conclusions below.
What team members think about virtualization
API virtualization is increasingly becoming another avenue which allows software development teams to collaborate more.
The results were enlightening. We found that the majority of the respondents engaged more with content around uniting teams rather than reducing costs or saving time. 81% of the developers indicated that they find virtualization valuable in uniting teams. Only 15% thought that virtualization helps in delivering APIs faster.
Results from our base of managers and senior managers was a bit different, many of these managers are senior executives. Many managers indicate that costs and speed are important, 20% and 35% respectively, but interestingly the majority (i.e. 45%) still indicate that virtualization provides excellent value in uniting teams.
We also sent this study to Software Architects, architects almost unanimously thought that uniting teams was the best value virtualization could offer, 81% engaged more with the content that indicated virtualization unites teams, the remaining 18% indicated making API delivery faster was a good value that can be derived from virtualization.
API Virtualization and software delivery
The results of these tests strongly suggest that, in software delivery, there is an increasing pressure on teams to work in close collaboration. Developers, testers and managers are not just concerned about time and money but also in the way their teams work closely and cooperate.
Service virtualization enables team members to share their work with one another. This is what that process might look like:
- A developer creates a set of API calls that mimics the actual APIs that are still under development.
- A tester can now test off of the virtual API.
- Now, the developer and tester can code and test in parallel. Virtualization also enables sharing of services across geographies.
For example: A subject matter expert in OFX (a protocol used in financial APIs), who is located on Wall Street, can ideate, and quickly prototype a virtual service and share it with a development team in India through service virtualization over internet. Proprietary, sandboxed and firewalled environments now can be made accessible across the world with just a few clicks.
API Virtualization and costs
Besides tying teams together, virtualization makes it easy to work with services which are not under your control. Services and APIs that cost money to access can be replaced with virtual services. Thus for testing and development purposes there is no need to connect to the live service, teams can finish development and testing with just virtual services.
For example: Imagine you are using Google maps API for your software and you need to load test. You can record and virtualize the maps API and replay it for the load testing. Specially in this scenario, you should isolate your software and load test, you should not inadvertently load test the Google maps API. Sophisticated virtualization allows you to create real world scenarios through throttling and limiting the virtualized Google maps API. Thus enabling developers and testers to test against real world situations and error scenarios.
A good virtualization solution should provide capabilities to fully simulate the actual service, and provide hassle free switching between virtual and the actual environment. ServiceV Pro is a virtualization solution from SmartBear that provides all of the above, it also allows you to share your virtual services and control your virtual environment to generate realistic scenarios. The tool is a part of the ReadyAPI suite of applications and allows you to very quick capture and create a virtual service from a single user interface. Teams can get up and running with ServiceV Pro in minutes, create sophisticated virtual services and start coding and testing against them.
To learn more about uniting your teams with ServiceV Pro, watch this video: