5 Reasons You Need to Care About API Performance Monitoring
In this article, readers will learn about APIs, which are building blocks of online connectivity, a medium for multiple applications, a messenger, and more.
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Connectivity is so daunting. By far, we are all used to instant connectivity that puts the world at our fingertips. We can purchase, post, and pick anything, anywhere, with the aid of desktops and devices.
But how does it happen? How do different applications in different devices connect with each other? Allowing us to place an order, plan a vacation, make a reservation, etc., with just a few clicks.
API—Application Programming Interface—the unsung hero of the modern world, which is often underrated.
What Is an API?
APIs are building blocks of online connectivity. They are a medium for multiple applications, data, and devices to interact with each other. Simply put, an API is a messenger that takes a request and tells the system what you want to do and then returns the response to the user. Documentation is drafted for every API, including specifications regarding how the information gets transferred between two systems.
Why Is API Important?
APIs can interact with third-party applications publicly. Ultimately, upscaling the reach of an organization’s business. So, when we book a ticket via “Bookmyshow.com,” we fill in details regarding the movie we plan to watch, like:
- Movie name
These details are fetched by API and are taken to servers associated with different movie theatres to bring back the collected response from multiple third-party servers. Providing users the convenience of choosing which theatre fits best. This is how different applications interact with each other.
Instead of making a large application and adding more functionalities via code in it. The present time demands microservice architecture wherein we create multiple individually focused modules with well-defined interfaces and then combine them to make a scalable, testable product. The product or software, which might have taken a year to deliver, can now be delivered in weeks with the help of microservice architecture.
- API serves as a necessity for microservice architecture. Consider an application that delivers music, shopping, and bill payments service to end users under a single hood. The user needs to log into the app and select the service for consumption. API is needed for collaborating different services for such applications, contributing to an overall enhanced UX.
- API also enables an extra layer of security to the data. Neither the user’s data is overexposed to the server: nor the server data is overexposed to the user. Say, in the case of movies, API tells the server what the user would like to watch and then the user what they have to give to redeem the service. Ultimately, you get to watch your movie, and the service provider is credited accordingly.
API Performance Monitoring and Application Performance Monitoring Differences
As similar as these two terms sound, they perform distinctive checks on the overall application connectivity:
- Application performance monitoring: is compulsory for high-level analytics regarding how well the app is executing on the integral front. It facilitates an internal check on the internal connectivity of software. The following are key data factors that must be monitored:
- Server loads
- User adoption
- Market share
- Error logging
- API performance monitoring: is required to check if there are any bottlenecks outside the server; it could be in the cloud or load balancing service. These bottlenecks are not dependent on your application performance monitoring but are still considered to be catastrophic as they may abrupt the service for end users. It facilitates a check on the external connectivity of the software, aiding its core functionalities:
- Back-end business operations
- Alert operations
- Web services
Why Is API Performance Monitoring a Necessity?
With the emergence of modern agile practices, organizations are adopting a virtuous cycle of developing, testing, delivering, and maintaining by monitoring the response. It is integral to involve API monitoring as part of the practice. A script must be maintained in relevance to the appropriate and latest versions of the functional tests for ensuring a flawless experience of services to the end user. Simply put, if your API goes south, your app goes with it. For instance, in January 2016, a worldwide outage was met by the Twitter API. This outage lasted more than an hour, and within that period, it impacted thousands of websites and applications.
Organizations are open to performance reckoning if they neglect to thoroughly understand the process involved behind every API call. Also, API monitoring helps acknowledge which APIs are performing better and how to improvise on the APIs with weaker performance displays.
Users can specify the critical API calls in the performance monitoring tool. Set their threshold (acceptable response time) to ensure they get alerted if the expected response time deteriorates.
With the help of monitoring, we can realize whether all the services hosted by our applications are accessible 24×7.
Why Monitor API When We Can Test it?
Well, an API test can be highly composite, considering the large number of multi-steps that get involved. This creates a problem in terms of the frequency required for the test to take place. This is where monitoring steps in! Allowing every hour band check regarding the indispensable aspects. Helping us focus on what’s most vital to our organization.
How To Monitor API Performance
- Identify your dependable APIs—Recognize your employed APIs, whether they are third-party or partner APIs. Internally connecting or externally?
- Comprehend the functional and transactional use cases for facilitating transparency towards the services being hosted — improves performance and MTTR (Mean Time to Repair).
- Realize whether you have test cases required to monitor. Whether you have existing test cases that need to be altered, or is there an urgency for new ones to be developed?
- Know the right tool—API performance monitoring is highly dependent on the tool being used. You need an intuitive, user-friendly, result-optimizing tool with everything packed in.
Some commonly well known platforms to perform API performance testing are:
- CA Technologies(Now Broadcom Inc.)
One more factor to keep a note of is API browser compatibility to realize how well your API can aid different browsers. To know more about this topic, follow our blog about “API and Browser Compatibility.”
API performance monitoring is a need of modern times that gives you a check regarding the internal as well as external impact of the services hosted by a product. Not everyone cares to bother about APIs, but we are glad you did! Hoping this article will help expand your understanding of the topic. Cheers!
Published at DZone with permission of Harshit Paul, DZone MVB. See the original article here.
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