Liason Technologies

During a recent interview, Liaison Technologies QA Manager Nital Patel discussed the benefits of SmartBear SoapUI Pro. The software streamlines testing of the application program interfaces (APIs) that play a critical role in the integration and data management solutions Liaison Technologies provides to customers. With an easy-to-use graphical interface and enterprise-class features, SoapUI Pro allows Liaison Technologies to rapidly create and execute automated, functional, and compliant API load tests in a single test environment—with complete support for all standard protocols and technologies.

How long has Liaison Technologies relied on SoapUI Pro from SmartBear?
We began using the SoapUI Open Source version near the end of 2011 and then started using SoapUI Pro early in 2012.

How does the SoapUI Pro version help your team beyond the capabilities provided by the Open Source version?
Our software developers actually still use the Open Source version, and it’s helpful to us to have the option of using both SoapUI Pro and the Open Source version to manage our licensing costs according to each user’s need.

  • When working with large-scale tests that include data intensive services and where data quality is critical, SoapUI Pro automatically gives us the data source to drive the tests. We just import the data source we want.
  • SoapUI Pro also enables functional-based verification. Verifying data is easier because of the way SoapUI Pro uses assertions, which we can then create in in a few easy steps.
  • We also benefit from the ability to read data through XML files. SoapUI Pro provides overviews of the actual data within XML messages as well as a simple interface for entering data into the requests.

What first prompted the company to consider SoapUI Pro?
In 2011, we began converting our UI-based applications into API-based applications to streamline the process of exchanging data with our customers. Each of our applications requires 50 or more APIs, so we needed an efficient way to test how well the APIs work before customers interact with the applications. If the APIs don’t work well, our customers can’t exchange data with us, so API performance is critical.

At the time, we did not have a user interface for testing APIs. We thus needed a tool that enables us to send requests and receive responses to verify each API implementation. One of our key requirements was the ability to conduct data-driven API testing, since our customers exchange so much data with us when using our applications.

Did Liaison Technologies consider other API testing tools?
Yes, we tried a couple online tools but found them difficult to install and use. For example, one of the tools required us to run batch files through the command line. We had to open the command line window and run tests from there, which creates a lot of extra work. Given the difficulty of using these tools, we kept looking for a more efficient solution.

Why did the company choose SoapUI Pro?
We were already familiar with SmartBear Software, having already deployed TestComplete and QAComplete to assist with our software development processes. We decided to try the SmartBear SoapUI Open Source tool to test our APIs. As more developers and testers deployed SoapUI, we realized how it easy it was to use and how effectively it identifies bugs.

While some of our developers continue to use the Open Source version, our testing team requires advanced features, so we also invested in the SoapUI Pro version. SoapUI Pro offers compatibility for different technologies. For example, we can test both REST and SOAP protocol APIs.

In comparing SoapUI Pro to the other alternatives, the other tools we tried required us to work within the command line console window, which requires us to remember all the commands and the different syntax for sending data. The other tools also required different configurations each time we tested a SOAP or REST API.

But SoapUI Pro is much easier to use and requires only a one-time configuration. After the initial configuration, we just log-in, send a request, and receive the response. SoapUI Pro also provides responses identical to the way end-user customers receive responses. We found the other tools require extra massaging to see the responses in a way that closely mimics the customer experience.

Because SoapUI Pro supports all the common standards, we can use it with multiple protocols, such as SOAP and REST. We found other tools would work well with one protocol but not the other whereas SoapUI Pro works with both. Using the same tool to send data to both protocols saves us a lot of testing time.

What role does SoapUI Pro play in your daily operations?
In addition to testing every new and updated API of our customer-facing applications, we also rely on SoapUI Pro to test APIs within the internal applications that our staff relies on to provide services to customers. When customers send data to us that we need to process, we must make sure the applications we use internally also process data efficiently. This is possible only if the APIs work well. As an example, SoapUI Pro helps identify when input data is not valid. It also helps our developers know when and where to run the specific error messages so end users always know when the input information is not valid.

How would you rate your SmartBear support experience?
Because of how well SoapUI Pro works, we have not had to contact SmartBear all that often for technical support. But when we do, we always receive a timely response. We can also easily train our developers and testers how to use SoapUI Pro on our own. Because the software is so intuitive, they can then execute just about everything they need on their own.

How does Liaison Technologies measure the ROI delivered by SoapUI Pro?
We can now conduct API quality assurance through many types of testing much more efficiently than we could previously—and well before customer applications move into production. Given this capability, SoapUI Pro ultimately helps us develop higher-quality software products compared to our competitors. Because we can conduct more tests over a shorter time frame, we can also bring our applications to market faster than our competitors

From a resource cost perspective, SoapUI Pro reduces our testing time by as much as 50 percent—because of how easy it is to learn and how quickly we can execute the tests. If we relied on a different API testing tool, the learning curve would be higher, and we would probably need two tools to take the place of SoapUI Pro. Using multiple tools also negatively impacts efficiency by increasing the learning curve; this may discourage testers from using the tools, but since we use SoapUI Pro, we don’t have to worry about this issue.

By making sure applications run better, we can ultimately ensure our customers have a better experience interacting with our applications. We simulate how they interact with our applications and how they exchange data with us. By easily identifying bugs, we improve the quality of our APIs, which leads to better services for our customers.