A Beginners Guide to API Monitoring

An API (Applications Programming Interface) is a computing interface that allows applications to communicate and share data with each other. They are being used in almost every other application and device that we use today, for instance, if you look at IoT trends enhancing business processes, you will find that they are all linked to APIs.i

This means that deprecating or changing it can cause problems that could lead to a lot of losses in terms of money, resources, and information. This gets even worse for public APIs. Public API developers are supposed to make sure that their APIs work well and meet the requirements of their consumers.

Things that affect the performance and quality of an API such as downtime, server load, controller code quality, encryption level among others need to be looked at at all times.

Developers are supposed to test all these factors that affect the performance of an API before they offer it for consumption. However, you also need to monitor the same factors even after deploying your API since some problems might surface when it’s being used. You can set it up with RapidAPI testing to make sure that all tests are done properly.

Monitoring an API

As a developer, monitoring APIs you consume or provide should be an essential part of your development strategy. As a beginner, you might find yourself wondering about the things to monitor or even how to monitor your APIs. In this article, we will talk about some of the things to get you started easily.

Using Functional Tests from Development

This is an important aspect of monitoring and testing APIs especially for developers using or providing their own APIs. They can re-use functional tests they created during the development and testing phases of the API. This has a number of advantages;

  • If you set up your functional tests during development and testing to give you error messages in case of an issue, you will be able to get detailed information on errors during the API monitoring making analysis easier.
  • The functional tests will scrutinize the functionality of your API during monitoring instead of getting just the availability reports. 
  • It is easier since you know how the functional tests are written and helps in saving time.
  • If the functional tests are written to show statistics on the expected usage of the API, they can be used during monitoring to show how your APIs are being used and how they will be used in the future. This can help in improving the API to meet future demands.

Creating Tests that Mimic Actual Use Cases

Developers integrating public APIs with their applications are supposed to make sure that they not only know how those APIs operate, but also about any failures associated with them before their application users notice the failures.

This means that developers are supposed to create monitors that mimic how an API is used in their applications. For instance, if you are using a Facebook API that shows the feed of a certain page, your API monitor should be doing the same thing, not doing anything else.

It is also important to monitor all your use cases. Some developers monitor a single request, especially the first one, and think that they are monitoring their APIs. All requests should be monitored in sequence just like they are used by your application.

Using a Dedicated Account

APIs require one to use their access key or credentials in their requests. When monitoring an API, it is important to use a dedicated account to make sure that monitors are run with the same access rights as the API users.

Conclusion

API monitoring is an important part of the API lifecycle. It helps developers to avoid problems or to solve those that arise quickly. Since APIs are part and parcel of running applications, developers should make sure that they develop strong mechanisms to protect them from failure.

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