API design and development

6 Tools for API design, development and testing

May 25, 2022

Restful API best practice starts with using the right tools

With today’s businesses running a plethora of systems across diverse environments, taking advantage of the modern IT economy lies in an organisations ability to create value via their APIs and microservices.   While the process of building and managing APIs can be simple at its root (particularly with REST, which is extremely lightweight) there are many hidden complications during implementation. For this reason, we have put together this quick guide to the bests tools for API development to make your tasks easier.

Linx – Building and publishing an API

Linx API design

Linx is particularly powerful for creating or calling internal and external REST web services. It is on the fastest ways to extend an API that requires integration with other technologies. (e.g. you need to load or push data into a database, conjure up a rapport, push updates to notification steam. Or modify or encrypt data at any point, etc). But it’s just not one of the many REST API development tools in the market, Linx offers several other features from database to cryptography and cloud. So this creates tons of possibilities for integrating your API with multiple different technologies.

Designed for versatility and speed, it uses common programming logic and principles with pre-built functionality to replace large pieces of code. Particularly, for API design. Its features include allowing the assembly and publishing of both REST and SOAP web service endpoints and the choice between implementing your API from scratch – via a wizard. Or simply importing an OpenAPI definition.


Best Use Case

Creating and consuming APIs can be a time-consuming process. While configuring APIs is relatively easy for developers, they typically need some custom programming. With Linx, you simply drag and drop a module into your designer canvas and set up some configuration. Time saved.  If you are working with an application which requires consuming several APIs, the process of integration with external services becomes far more efficient. Furthermore, it can be handled by Business Analysts or IT pros alike with relative ease.

There are very few drawbacks to using Linx for your development processes. Whether you have existing applications that you would like to connect via SOAP or REST, or if you wish to build an entire software suite within Linx, the API functionality will work extremely well for making the connections today to enable your applications to “play well with others.”


Pros/Cons

Linx, however, is not a full API design tool in itself; testing, for instance, should be handled by a third-party application, likewise API documentation.

Read more The ultimate guide to building your first REST API in low code

 

Swagger – Documenting

swagger editor

 

Swagger editor is the leading API design tool on the market. It allows you to design and document APIs using a free web-based open-source editor. Also it is designed solely for creating OpenAPI-based APIs. It provides options to work web-based or in a local environment.

Best Use Case

Well-documented APIs are a necessary aspect of providing them. Creating documentation can be painstaking, however, if people can’t understand how to use your application’s APIs, they simply won’t use them. It’s very helpful for creating easily shareable documentation that can drastically improve the user experience for those attempting to use your APIs.

Pros/Cons

It provides instant visualization of the documentation as it is being created, and also has a number of customization options. Then it has some helpful auto-completion tools, and will help create server stubs for APIs in a wide array of programming languages. It does not, however, support hypermedia.

Postman – API Testing

postman

API design best practices don’t come much better than Postman – a complete API development testing and environment which can enable creating simple to complex APIs and to verify their functionality prior to building into your applications. You can manually create simple API calls using a straightforward user-friendly interface.

Best Use Case

As ensuring APIs work properly is its own issue, beyond any coding you may need to do, it can be extremely helpful to have an environment where one can verify if payloads are being sent and/or received properly prior to any development work.

Pros/Cons

Postman provides full integration with existing SDLC methods, ranging from various Agile and Dev/Ops environments to larger waterfall-type organizational models. This makes it well-suited for the professional development process. For this reason, it is regularly used by many software development teams. It is a little memory-intensive, so may run slowly on some computers.

SOAP UI –  SOAP and REST Testing

SoapUI is a complete API automation testing framework for both REST and SOAP methodologies. Features include API functional testing, performance testing, security, and API mocking, and contains reporting tools for viewing metrics of large-scale API testing procedures. SoapUI has a free open source and professional versions.

Best Use Case

SoapUI is ideal for developers who need to build APIs on a daily basis, and those who are required to manage large sets of connections. It provides the ability to monitor the activity and behaviour of large arrays of APIs with high levels of activity.

Pros/Cons

SoapUI boasts a wide range of functional testing features as well as many important security features, ranging to alerts from SQL injection to XSS and more. It provides an array of highly useful actionable alerts for any problems that may occur.

As it is open-source, developers may modify any of the source code to meet their own needs at any time. It is an advanced tool, so for many users, some pieces may be more complicated than they may be used to. The free trial version does not offer as many of the more user-friendly pieces.

Summary

Working with APIs may seem complicated, as it requires connecting seemingly unrelated applications and making it possible for them to work together. However, due to evolution from SOAP to REST (and soon, likely GraphQL), the process has gotten considerably easier.

The fact that applications use common communication formats like JSON makes it possible for a whole new range of development opportunities. APIs make it possible to create lightweight applications which can easily adapt and traverse the rapidly changing ecosystem of web software.

With the right API design tools, API development and management can become a seamless part of your development process and enable you and your clients to be able to remain agile in today’s competitive environment.