Monitor API Usage with Runscope

Any company involved in the development of APIs, or even those simply building web or mobile applications dependent on them, benefits from being able to analyze API performance before deployment to production. A tool combining this performance testing functionality with testing and monitoring capabilities offers a full range of features wanted by most software teams. Runscope is just this kind of application.

What follows is an overview of Runscope to help you determine whether it makes sense to add it to your organization’s API testing toolbox. It may just ensure your applications and APIs perform as expected in production.

A Closer Look at Runscope

Runscope is a relatively new product and company. Formed by two software engineers, John Sheehan and Frank Stratton, the initial version of the application became available in the first half of 2013. The primary goal of their API analysis tool involves trusting an API running on a remote server just like it was running on a developer’s local machine.

Runscope Monitoring Features and Functionality

Uptime monitoring of an API – in real-time – is a major selling-point for Runscope. The product promises the engineers responsible for tracking an application in a production environment will know if an API breaks before the client or customer. It integrates with a wide variety of popular notification and messaging apps, including Slack, PagerDuty, email, as well as offering support for webhooks.

An on-premises agent (supporting Linux, OS X, and Windows) allows for the seamless monitoring of private APIs. This is in addition to Runscope’s standard Cloud-based SaaS (located in 12 global data centers) used for public API analysis. The tool includes threshold-based notifications to lower the instance of false positives. 

Real-time performance data helps analyze an API’s response times as well as the ratio of successful calls to failures. Engineers are able to quickly detect any issues requiring closer analysis and debugging. Runscope’s data can be imported into third-party analytical tools, like Keen IO, Datadog, and New Relic Insights.

Additional API Testing Capabilities

Runscope sports other functionality aimed at the testing of APIs. You are able to verify data in the JSON and XML formats, as well as validate HTTP headers and response status codes. Advanced validations are also possible in code using JavaScript and the Chai Assertion Library.

Users are able to create dynamic test scripts for vetting API workflows, without any coding effort. Test plan creation in the Swagger format, among others, offers a more structured level of API QA. Runscope also integrates with Jenkins and other similar tools for organizations leveraging a Continuous Integration release cycle.

Interested customers can test drive Runscope on a free trial basis. Their premium service is structured across three tiers based on the number of API requests and users, with monthly prices ranging from $79 to $599; the higher two levels also include priority support and live chat. There is also a Premier level with additional custom features and extra traffic handling.

In short, Runscope’s full range of API monitoring and testing features, along with its compatibility with industry standard messaging and analytical tools, makes the tool worth checking out at any shop specializing in API development.

Stay tuned to the Betica Blog for additional dispatches and analysis from the software development and QA world. Thanks for reading, as always.

News from the Worlds of Software Development and QA – October 2016

Microsoft Teams is the next Slack competitor; How containers is becoming hot item on serverless infrastructures and more news this October!

With the Autumn season in full force and Halloween approaching, it is time to take another look at a few interesting recent news stories from the software development and QA industry. If you want to check out last month’s news digest, simply click on the following link. Hopefully, this month’s digest gives you and your team some inspiration and insight on your own development and testing duties.

Microsoft to release a Slack Competitor

With the Agile and DevOps methodologies requiring software development teams to communicate better with each other as well as business stakeholders, clients, and network engineers, highly functional messaging apps are currently in vogue in the industry. We previously talked about the growth of ChatOps, and Slack is another popular application aimed at fostering collaboration at the enterprise.

Those watchful eyes in Redmond have been taking note of Slack’s popularity, as shown by the recent news Microsoft is planning to release their own competitor to the app. Called Microsoft Teams – it was known as Skype Teams during development – the tool is expected to be available early in November.

In addition to text messaging, users are able to share files, aggregate texts into different channels, as well as embed emojis and other graphics. Integration with Microsoft’s Cloud-based storage service, One Drive is also expected, along with a built-in calendar. In short, these are many of same features provided by Slack.

ChatOps functionality, including integration with Microsoft’s Visual Studio and other third-party development tools, will make Teams more attractive to the software development community.

Docker making the QA Process more Efficient

Docker’s emphasis on container-like structures to hold development and testing environments continues to make aspects of software development and network management more efficient. This growing trend now impacting software testing was noted this month by InfoWorld magazine. The article serves as a primer for QA team leads and development managers hoping to leverage containers to streamline the QA function at their shop.

The author notes the small size of a Docker container enhances their portability, especially when compared to virtual machines. Their simplicity in Cloud deployment makes it easy to perform load testing on a web app or API. He also discusses how Docker facilitates the testing and deployment of individual services in applications using a microservices architecture.

Anyone interested in using Docker as part of their development and QA processes needs to read the full article, as it is filled with great tips and insights on how to implement the tool in QA environments.

Containers revolutionizing the Software Development World

Containers are definitely a hot item in the software development news this month. This week, the Wall Street Journal published an article describing how container infrastructures are ushering in an era of “serverless” computing. Seen by many industry pundits as a maturing of the Cloud services market, serverless computing essentially means an application is hosted within a container at a Cloud-based provider.

“If you’re moving into the next generation of big shifts like [artificial intelligence] and machine learning, the underlying infrastructure that supports that stuff will be serverless,” said the CTO for GE, Chris Drumgoole. One major Cloud provider, Amazon Web Services (AWS), has been offering a serverless product, called Lambda, for nearly two years.

Expect this trend to continue for the foreseeable future, as businesses of all sizes – and the developers building applications for them – strive for more efficiency and a stronger bottom line.

Keep visiting the Betica Blog for these and other insights from the always evolving worlds of software development and QA.

News from the World of Software Development and QA — September 2016

It’s that time of the month where we take a look at a few of the interesting news stories September brought to the overall software development and QA world. If you are interested in checking out last month’s stories — including news about the growing outsourced testing market — simply click on this link. Hopefully, this month’s news digest provides some insight into your own programming and testing activities.

Microsoft deploying a Cloud-based Bug Detector

The growth of Cloud-based testing services has been previously noted in this blog. Microsoft continues to emphasize the Cloud as part of its business line; most notably in their Azure commercial Platform as a Service product. The company also is making available a Cloud-based automated bug detector, known as Project Springfield

Springfield is a Cloud-based “fuzz” testing system aimed at finding critical security bugs in applications. Redmond used the product internally for testing Windows, Office, and other Microsoft applications. A key component of the tool — known as SAGE — found nearly one-third of the critical security holes in Windows 7 before that operating system hit the market.

Project Springfield leverages AI routines to perform a host of “what if” tests on issues possibly causing an application to crash or to be hacked. The tool runs multiple times trying to hone it on what it feels are the most critical problems with an app.

Springfield runs on top of an Azure instance, offering the convenience of a Cloud-based application. In addition to SAGE, Microsoft includes a host of fuzz testing tools along with a dashboard and user interface making Springfield easy to use for those who aren’t security experts. It sounds like a tool worth exploring for many development shops.

Localization Bug hampers Videogame Release

Testing localization routines remains important for videogame developers offering their products on a worldwide scale. Last week, Atlus released a game for the Nintendo 3DS called Shin Megai Tensei IV: Apocalypse which contained text untranslated from the original Japanese language. According to the company, the QA testers were so good at the game; they didn’t encounter the situation where the Japanese text appeared on screen.

This speaks to the need to employ the right testing procedures to ensure full code coverage. Atlus doesn’t expect to fix the issue in the current, cartridge-based game, but the company is redoubling its efforts on localization testing for future releases.

CIOs need to champion the QA Role

This week, CIO Insight published a slideshow and article detailing how CIOs can influence the critical testing and QA functions at their organization. The slideshow content is based on a survey of CIOs made by HP and Capgemini/Sogeti.

Security concerns are the lead reason driving QA initiatives, followed closely by simply releasing higher quality software. CIOs of companies following Agile principles noted the need to involve QA engineers earlier in the SDLC — a point discussed earlier this year on this very blog. The study also reported more companies are performing load and performance testing on third-party Cloud-based services used in their applications.

The rest of the slideshow offered additional insights on the changing role of QA in the modern business world, especially considering the growth of IoT applications. The need for improved processes for testing mobile and multi-channel application was also expressed.

Keep coming back to the Betica Blog for additional insights and news about software development and quality assurance.