Case Study: Mobility Software Firm

SoapUI Pro and ServiceV Pro reduce Time to Test Microservices—from a Day to a Few Hours— while Helping Developers and Testers Uncover Defects Earlier in the Development Lifecycle

Business Need

For many years, the internal software development team at a Boston-based mobility platform provider utilized a home-grown application to test API functional performance. But as the number of microservices that the company’s applications rely on began to reach critical mass, the director in charge of automation and quality assurance wanted to streamline the API test-creation process.

“With more than 30 microservices, we wanted to free up our developers from having to deploy all of the microservices on their laptops when running tests for a new API,” the Director of Automation and Quality Assurance explains. “We wanted to give them the ability to install just the one microservice they were working on, and then mock the others by creating virtual instances. This would eliminate the time spent on deploying so many microservices.”

The Director also wanted to expose API testing to the developer team, not just the QA team. This would enable the firm to discover API defects earlier in the development process, when it’s much faster and less costly to fix defects.

“But to get developers to conduct API testing, we need to give them a UI tool that’s easy-to-use,” adds the Director. “The complexity of command-line interfaces can sometimes discourage developers from creating and running tests—they end up wanting to leave all the testing to the QA team, where finding defects becomes more costly to our overall development process.”

"After completing all of our research for new API testing solutions and given our need for robust functionality combined with a low cost, there really was not a legitimate competitor to the SmartBear solutions. Both help us become a more agile and more streamlined software development team that delivers applications to market faster. And that is key in meeting customer needs."
Director of Automation and Quality Assurance

Targeted Solution

As the Director began his search for new API functional testing and service virtualization solutions, he first turned to free, open source tools. Despite the low cost, he discovered such tools do not offer sufficient test-creation and test-execution capabilities. Open source tools also require an exorbitant amount of work to integrate within the software development process.

When considering alternatives, the Director at first encountered high costs with non-open source API testing tools. “One of the solutions we considered offered the functionality we needed, but the cost would have come in around $50K—much more than we wanted to spend,” the Director says. “The software firm also did not offer a free download so we could test the solution—they did not seem to treat us as a serious customer.”

 

The Director wanted to find a partner he could collaborate with closely and found the answer in SmartBear. Right out of the gate, SmartBear demonstrated its willingness to help and considered the firm to be an important customer. “SmartBear wants us to succeed as much as we do,” the Director emphasizes. “And they offered free demos of two solutions—which come at a low cost with everything we need for API testing—SoapUI Pro and ServiceV Pro.”

  • For REST, SOAP and other popular API protocols, SoapUI Pro provides comprehensive and easy-to-learn functional testing capabilities. Based on open core technology proven by millions of community members, SoapUI Pro helps software development teams ensure APIs perform as intended while also meeting business requirements.
  • ServiceV Pro provides API virtualization and advanced features to enable rapid development. This helps software development teams deliver APIs on-time and under budget for a fraction of the cost of traditional enterprise service virtualization suites.

“These two solutions provide exactly what we need for creating API tests,” says the Director. “And the overall SmartBear suite of API testing solutions allows us to easily expand what we do when we’re ready to add API load and security testing.”

The Director particularly appreciates how ServiceV Pro enables the developer team to easily and quickly virtualize microservices so they can create API tests against them. Open source tools, in comparison, require a lot more set-up work. Other key features include how well the two SmartBear tools integrate with the firm’s APIs, and the UI that makes it easy for developers and testers to create and run the API tests.

“We also value the ability to reference custom property values in different test cases so we don’t have to code them,” the Director adds. “And it’s a big help to be able to switch environments quickly. We used to have to open a config file, make modifications and save. Now we just click on a drop-down menu to go into another environment. When something doesn’t work and we need to try it in another environment, it takes just a few seconds to switch.”

Benefits and Results

During the initial set-up and deployment of SoapUI Pro, the required set-up time was significantly less compared to the previous custom API-testing framework. Since the deployment of SoapUI Pro, the code for API testing is also much easier to maintain.

SoapUI Pro automatically takes care of a lot of things that we previously had to do manually, such as creating the looping logic to grab each row of data,” the Director explains. “We can drag-and-drop loops very easily. We can also drag-and-drop REST requests and quickly reference custom properties.”

The reduced code maintenance time allows the software development team to focus more time on adding functionality to its customer applications. When a SoapUI Pro test finds a defect in an API, it takes a lot less time to pinpoint the defect and fix it: Defects that previously required a full day to investigate and fix now require just a couple hours.

The API defects identified by SoapUI Pro also help software developers improve their coding over time so that fewer defects occur in future API revisions. The developers can also test for API defects earlier. This saves time for the QA testing team and provides a more cost-efficient process for repairing defects.

“If an API defect does not show up until the QA testing phase, we have to investigate it, write it up, and present it to the developer,” the Director says. “This takes a lot of time, whereas coders who discover a defect on their own can just jump on it—they are already immersed in the code and can fix it much faster.”

Looking ahead to the full deployment of ServiceV Pro, the Director anticipates reducing developer testing times even further. Software code will be delivered to QA faster because the developers won’t have to deploy and test every single microservice; they can deploy just one microservice, virtualize all the others, and then test the microservice they are working on.

The developers can also test API responses with different combinations without having to start coding other microservices. This is key because each application touches dozens of microservices. “We release software updates every two weeks as part of our sprint process and want to automate testing as much as possible, and  the SmartBear solutions play an important role in this mission,” the Director says.

In assessing the overall value SoapUI Pro and ServiceV Pro deliver, the Director concludes: “After completing all of our research for new API testing solutions and given our need for robust functionality combined with a low cost, there really was not a legitimate competitor to the SmartBear solutions. Both help us become a more agile and more streamlined software development team that delivers applications to market faster. And that is key in meeting customer needs.”

Business Challenges

  • Accelerate API testing to help deliver applications to market faster.
  • Expose API testing to developers to discover defects earlier in the development process.
  • Free up developers from deploying all microservices when testing APIs for just one microservice.
  • Identify solution with easy-to-use UI tool to increase the tool’s usage among developers.

SmartBear SoapUI Pro and ServiceV Pro

  • Provides comprehensive and easy-to-learn functional API testing capabilities.
  • Helps software development teams ensure APIs perform as intended.
  • Provides API sandboxing and virtualization to enable more rapid development.
  • Requires less set-up and coding time than open source API testing tools.
  • Costs significantly less than other non-open source API testing tools.

Measurable Results

  • Automates creation of looping logic, REST requests, and custom property references.
  • Allows development team to focus more time on adding functionality to applications.
  • Reduces time to investigate and fix API defects—from a full day to just two hours.
  • Help developers improve coding over time so fewer defects occur in API revisions.
  • Enables earlier API testing to create a more cost-efficient process for repairing defects.

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