Welcome back incredible people! Today we’re trying and reviewing API Tester, a streamlined mobile app designed to help developers from all over the world connect to endpoints, test out integrations and much more.
What is an API?
Before we go any further though, it might be prudent to first briefly explain what exactly an API is and how it is used in the world of technology. First and foremost, API is the abbreviation of Application Programming Interface. And in short, this is a set of guidelines for how one program can send out data to another, and in doing so connect to each other, while still operating on two different software platforms.
Let us imagine that we are developing a new mobile app to let users find the cheapest hotels available throughout the entire market. The way it would work is by connecting to the API of websites such as hotels.com, booking.com and so on, getting their data and then displaying that data in our own app.
By using API’s we can make this process easier, as we do not have to write unique code for hotels.com and booking.com even though they might use totally different software.
Why use an API Tester?
Alright, so now we know roughly what developers use an API for. But what then is API Tester, and why do people need this service?
When you make an API request to a website, for instance hotels.com, you will get the data back in a JSON, XML or other file format. Each website offering API access tends to have slightly different result outputs, meaning that each time you want your own app to connect to a new service, you will need to sort through the output and only collect the important data that you need.
API Tester can try connecting to the API endpoint itself, as well as finding the correct data easily and fast from the resulting data. It is even possible to do all this from your mobile phone, with either the Android or iPhone apps, so you can troubleshoot and continue developing even when you are not in front of your work computer.
First impressions of API Tester
After downloading the Android app to my phone, I was presented with a clean and modern design that looked fresh and inviting. Now it was time to try out the various features of the app.
Incredibleplanet.net runs on WordPress which uses the so-called REST API. For many years most developers used this REST API, a certain protocol making standard connections and rules, but these days GraphQL API has become trendy and popular as well.
So I wanted to try out WPGraphQL, which is a free WordPress plugin that creates the GraphQL endpoints automatically. Once I had installed the plugin and set up my keys and other data, I was ready to use the app and try out some features.
After reading through the official documentation for running a GitHub GraphQL Query, I was quickly able to send various queries and requests with ease, and while I do know a little bit about API’s, I am not an expert by any means, yet it was still painless and smooth to connect to my WordPress API, something I had always had trouble with before using Postman or other services.
It never ceases to amaze me how much awesome and free software is available for developers around the world. API Tester is not only free, it is also incredibly well designed and offers a solid documentation to help anyone, whether they are beginning developers or experts with years of experience.
The fact that you can test both REST, GraphQL and SOAP API’s is another strong point of the app, which means you don’t need to download multiple testing apps for each type of API you wish to work with.