The SmartBear API Platform: Driving Quality, Consistency, and Collaboration Across Your Development Workflow

Thursday, May 19, 2022

APIs have never been more instrumental in business. Organizations use them to deepen partnerships, accelerate development, integrate capabilities, and generate revenue. These business drivers, combined with the rise of microservices, drive incredible growth in the API space.

According to the most recent State of Software Quality API report, 61% of survey respondents chose microservices as the technology that will most likely drive API growth.

Our Daily Challenge

As organizations look to use APIs for an increasing number of functions, it’s critical that teams align around development. This puts pressure on the beginning of the API development lifecycle, with ideation through documentation becoming more complex as business and user requirements evolve.

Legacy API lifecycle management platforms have classically focused on runtime and operations – but these platforms lack consideration for both developer workflows and API quality. They form silos among development teams.

However, as API estates grow larger and more complex, siloed design, testing, and documentation is no longer sufficient. Organizations want their teams to move quickly and collaborate by taking advantage of common services that deliver information in a governed and standardized way.

The bottom line: Developers are constantly asked to do more. It requires a universal platform that breaks down silos and focuses on the dev experience.

Helping API Developers Deliver

Why do developers face an uphill battle with shifting to microservices and an API-first culture?

Because it’s very difficult for them to efficiently discover, design, develop, test, and document APIs inside their own development teams.

These operations also happen across disparate toolsets. They require constant context switching, and fail to provide a complete view that the whole enterprise can implement. This makes creating and maintaining a quality API estate nearly impossible.

As we recognized these challenges at SmartBear, we saw an opportunity to extend our current expertise. We could easily add to the API design and functional testing, and provide developers with a platform that fits into their workflows.

Open to Opportunity

Through talking to our customer base, we’ve discovered that teams are looking for a platform that is open and universal, the developer’s choice, and enterprise ready.

  • Open & Universal: Teams constantly use new protocols to solve business problems, and their API development platform needs to support them with common workflows and experience. It’s also important that everything they use can be plugged into their existing development process.
  • Developer’s Choice: Context switching is a killer of productivity. That is why it is critical to integrate into the tools developers already use, and provide a consistent user experience inside a platform.
  • Enterprise Ready: Companies need to be able to manage their users and how their APIs are created. This includes their teams, what they can modify, and ultimately how they interact. It also includes governing how APIs are built across teams, so that everyone can meet the standards set out by leadership.

These concepts come together to form the three foundational pillars of our API development platform. They are the guiding principles we use as we pursue the creation of a platform that makes it easier for organizations to discover, design, develop, test, and document quality APIs reliably.

Introducing the Next Level of Development to Our Platform

Traditional API testing technologies do not address the needs of developers who are working in modern microservice architectures, that is where the need for robust contract testing arises: Introducing Pactflow.

Contract testing is an emerging technology that serves as the aspirational model for how organizations want their API providers and consumers to work together. Teams have been looking to move in this direction for years. They have been challenged by existing solutions that have focused on end-to-end integrated testing which has its merits, but is slow, complex and ultimately lacks scalability.

It also doesn’t integrate well with developers who are taking on more of the testing responsibility in today’s API development.

That is why it is with great pleasure SmartBear is welcoming Pactflow – built on top of the leading open-source consumer driven contract testing framework Pact – to our API solutions. Pactflow provides developers with the ability to easily create contract tests as either an API consumer or provider.

As microservices continue to grow, this ability will be critical. It allows teams to move faster while ensuring potential breaks in that integration are discovered through contract tests.

Fast, Reliable Testing

As enterprises continue to grow their API estates, contract testing will help foster trust and collaboration between API providers and consumers. Both parties can trust that a deployed API will work as designed and not break.

We’re excited to add Pactflow to the SmartBear developer toolkit.

This opportunity keeps us aligned with our foundational pillars of partnering with software engineers as we face the challenge of efficiently developing quality APIs – together.