How Trace Based Testing Leverages API Observability

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APIs are the backbone of modern software applications, offering a wide range of functionalities and driving seamless integrations. However, as businesses increasingly rely on APIs, there’s a growing need to monitor their performance and behavior effectively. Enter API observability, a critical component in API management that helps you gain insights into the health and efficiency of your API ecosystem.

With a plethora of API observability tools and monitoring solutions available in the market, choosing the best fit for your needs can be overwhelming and the cost involved can be intimidating. There are both open source options which are self hosted, and managed vendor provided solutions. With these tools in place, your ability to view and understand how your APIs are functioning and performing is enhanced, and the ability to generate full distributed traces from API calls enhances the ability to troubleshoot production issues and reduce MTTR.

How can you drive more value from your investment in API Observability? The same visibility used to troubleshoot in production can be leveraged in your CI/CD pipeline to proactively test before pushing to production. This is done via a technique called trace based testing, and is enabled by Tracetest.  Tracetest is a complementary tool, working with all the leading API observability tools to enable tests which utilize the observability information captured. In this article, we’ll explore how Tracetest accomplishes this feat.

What is API Observability?

API observability is the practice of gathering data and metrics to better understand the behavior, performance, and state of your APIs. It involves collecting logs, metrics, and traces to gain a holistic view of your API landscape. API observability tools enable you to detect issues, troubleshoot problems, and enhance performance.

Trace-Based Testing with Tracetest

Trace-based testing takes the observability game to the next level by utilizing observed behavior captured from each API call or transaction from start to finish and leveraging this trace data for integration testing. This is particularly beneficial for microservices architectures, where multiple services interact through APIs.

Here’s how it works:

  • Utilizes existing observability data: Tracetest does not require any changes to your application or API observability tool, but uses existing observability data from these OpenTelemetry-based systems to create tests.
  • Renders and analyzes the trace: API observability tools rely on consistent and properly instrumented applications to be able to analyze production systems to identify bottlenecks, failures, or performance issues. Tracetest analyzes the trace as part of your development or CI/CD flows to find problems with instrumentation, missing attributes, naming conventions, and potential security issues. It acts as a linter, ensuring quality instrumentation across all your teams and microservices.
  • Performs integration tests: Tracetest allows you to perform integration tests, quickly validating your code works as intended before pushing to production.
  • Increases confidence to deploy: Test coverage, particularly against an end to end flow, has always been slow to create and expensive to add. Utilizing the same data you capture for your API observability solution, Tracetest allows you to quickly and visually build tests.
  • Increases the value and usage of your investment in API Observability: SREs rely on API observability to troubleshoot production issues, but they need organizational buy-in and support from the developers to add and improve the instrumentation. Enabling the same observability data to be used to make tests easier to build provides value to other teams in the engineering organization, such as the developers and QA engineers.

Why Tracetest Stands Out

Best API Monitoring Tools

Tracetest's trace-based testing makes it one of the most complimentary tools available for existing API monitoring tools. With Tracetest as a starting place, teams can connect with popular API monitoring tools via Tracetest's integrations. This list includes leading observability providers such as:

Comprehensive API Troubleshooting and Testing

API observability tools can use distributed traces to provide a 360-degree view of your API ecosystem, helping you identify issues that may not be apparent or easy to troubleshoot with other metrics such as logs or metrics. Tracetest adds better testing to the value derived from your investment in API observability - a win / win!

Easy to Use

Tracetest’s user-friendly interface ensures that you don’t need to be a monitoring guru to make the most out of your API testing and monitoring. In addition to its intuitive web interface, Tracetest empowers users to streamline their testing processes further through comprehensive test automation. With the convenience of a Command Line Interface (CLI), users can effortlessly run tests programmatically, enhancing efficiency and ensuring seamless integration into their development pipelines. This dual functionality not only simplifies manual testing but also facilitates a robust automated testing framework for comprehensive software quality assurance.

The tests visually created in Tracetest are stored in a simple YAML format, and can be locked down in your git repository. This makes version control and utilizing tests in your test automation pipeline a breeze.

Conclusion

Tracetest’s approach to trace-based testing brings a revolutionary change in API observability, adding new value for API tools and API monitoring tools alike. With Tracetest, you can confidently deploy changes to your API, secure in the knowledge that you have proper test coverage and high quality trace data.

About Tracetest

Tracetest lets you build integration and end-to-end tests 98% faster with distributed traces. No plumbing, no mocks, no fakes – test against real data. Assert against both the response and trace data at every point of a request transaction. Validate timing of trace spans, including databases. Assert against side-effects, including Kafka and message queues. Save and run tests visually and programatically with CI build jobs. Get started with Tracetest for free and start building tests in minutes instead of days.