How to turn a 403 into a 202 at the API Party

13th January 2023
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Ash Winter's profile
Ash Winter

Tester & Co-Author

Gwen Diagram's profile
Gwen Diagram

Head of Engineering

How to turn a 403 into a 202 at the API Party image
Talk Description

The Challenge

API design looks easy right? Lots of material, methods and examples to look at. However, we've not been on a team that hasn't struggled to build a clean interface for their consumers. From unconventional use of status codes, difficult to parse responses to endless debates about what to name endpoints. This is coupled with iteratively built API's, which potentially realise value and feedback earlier but may suffer from inconsistency over time.

Gwen and Ash believe that testing can help to overcome some of these challenges through some common patterns, that they've identified through experience:

  • 3 Amigos - being part of the conversation early and often, with the right people, based on not just the implementation but the wider impact on adjacent systems.
  • Test First - creating the right level of tests before implementation together can expose inconsistencies in data and structure. Documentation up front means that the API is usable by other teams before it is even written.
  • Exposing Complexity - designing the tests first can help expose issues with chaining multiple requests which may be a symptom of an overly complex architecture.
  • Scalability - identifying areas that need to be extremely scalable and those that don't by leveraging domain knowledge.

How it will help

By testing first, common errors with API design can be flushed out quicker, even before the code has been written. Design and architecture should not be left to the developers and architects, by following some of these guidelines, as a Tester you will be able to contribute to a consistent, transparent and maintainable API.

What you’ll learn

By the end of this talk, you'll be able to:

  • Describe what a REST API is
  • Outline the component parts of an HTTP request and response
  • Outline approaches to get involved in testing API designs
  • Describe approaches to testing API designs
  • Outline approaches to documenting API designs
Ash Winter's profile'

Ash Winter

Tester & Co-Author

Ash Winter is a consulting tester and conference speaker, working as an independent consultant providing testing, performance engineering, and automation of both build and test. He has been a team member delivering mobile apps and web services for start ups and a leader of teams and change for testing consultancies and their clients. He spends most of his time helping teams think about testing problems, asking questions and coaching when invited.
Gwen Diagram's profile'

Gwen Diagram

Head of Engineering

Gwen Diagram is a technology professional from Leeds who specialises in testing.  She is an avid automation evangelist with a focus on testing complemented by repeatable build processes with monitoring. She has had varied roles throughout her career including Scrum Master at a Start Up, Engineering Manager at a bank and DevOps kid at a large Financial Services organisation. She is currently the Head of Engineering at Glean in Leeds.

As a strong believer in making the tech industry as open and punk as possible, she co-organises a twice yearly free day long testing conference called the Leeds Testing Atelier.  She speaks regularly at local meet-up groups, Agile Yorkshire and Leeds DevOps, duels with creative types at events like the Tech Off, speaks internationally at conferences such as Nordic Testing Days in Tallinn and was the closing keynote at Agile on the Beach in Falmouth, UK in 2018.

Outside of work, you will usually find her hanging around a Natural History Museum somewhere in the world marvelling at how incredibly excellent dinosaurs are, feeding pigeons or ducks or obsessing over transport.

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