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1 Jun 2021

3 Checks You Need to Verify When Integrating an API

Making sure that an API is functioning properly is important, especially if you are running an e-Commerce platform that has a low tolerance for poor performance, inconsistencies or unplanned downtime

Below are a few checks that are necessary to carry out to verify that your API integration efforts have been a success, or if there are still any kinks that need to be ironed out.

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Put response times through their paces

First and foremost, you need to establish the responsiveness of your API by looking into how long it typically takes to respond to a request.

Choosing any of these management tools will provide you with the means to test response times, determine whether or not they are satisfactory and perhaps take remedial action if necessary.

Poor response times will obviously mean that your ecommerce site will feel sluggish and may leave customers twiddling their thumbs when trying to browse products or make a purchase.

There are of course lots of elements that impact page load speed, and your API is just one of them, but it is worth ensuring that it is up to scratch sooner rather than later, as if left unchecked it could cost you customers.

Likewise if you know that certain APIs you use are sporadically slow to respond, implementing a maximum response time limit and using this to indicate whether or not a request has failed could be worthwhile to avoid overly long wait times.

Orchestrate your endpoints for convenience

Whether you are using a single API or integrating multiple in order to enhance your ecommerce platforms functionality, the act of verifying that everything is running smoothly can be made more complicated than is necessary if your endpoints are disorganised.

The solution is to group these together logically, whether they are related to creating groups, recording user data, or pulling in information from a third party resource.

It may increase your workload initially, but it will be worth it in the long run as it should make your testing, verification and ongoing maintenance duties less of a chore.

Test endpoints thoroughly & avoid flakiness

Checking on the health of endpoints is straightforward enough with most APIs, as you can send an HTTP request and, so long as everything is in order, you should receive a 200 OK status in response.

Of course this will also alert you to any issues which may be present, such as if an API endpoint is afflicted by downtime.

Checking and testing for this is all well and good, but it is also important to be aware of flaky checks, which can effectively return false positives even if an API is actually operating normally.

Ultimately with time and experience you will gain a greater understanding of how API testing and monitoring can help in an ecommerce context, so treat your early experimentation as a learning experience to overcome initial jitters.