I've a question for experienced API testers, especially those who work in large organisations. I've been tasked to identify any industry standards for documentation of API test plans. So far, I've found that IEEE 829 Standard and ISO 29119 could be used to inform software testing in general.

However, are there any best practices, guidelines or standards that exist for documenting API test plans specifically that you could recommend from your experience?

  • 1 - There are no "best practices", only good practices in context. 2 - What are your goals with this test plan document? Who are your target readers and what information do you want to expose to them? Sep 17, 2020 at 20:09

1 Answer 1


My personal take:

At a high level

Test the API Endpoints, Status Codes and Data with Smoke, Happy and Sad Tests

At a detailed level one needs to ask the following questions.
The answers will guide what and how to test.

  • What documentation exists ?
  • What functionality it provide ?
  • Does it support concurrency ?
  • What are the API endpoints ?
  • Is the API internal or external ?
  • Which endpoints are idempotent ?
  • Are endpoints stateless or stateful ?
  • Do any workflows*1 vary by client ?
  • Are there performance requirements ?
  • Do API endpoints make up a workflow ?
  • What validations are expected for data ?
  • What system or library is behind the API ?
  • Do we need to mock dependent services ?
  • Does it constrain traffic aka Rate Limiting ?
  • What (if any) versioning approach is used ?
  • Does the API support Multiple Languages ?
  • If already using SOAPui, how is it integrated ?
  • Is the API be restricted to a country or region ?
  • Does it provide client stubs in specific languages ?
  • What status codes are expected for given endpoints ?
  • What domain format and structure exists for the data ?
  • Does the API use HATEOS*2 for self documentation ?
  • What kind of data validation/ testing can be performed ?
  • What API is supported by the test framework I’m using ?
  • What actions are performed, e.g. GET, PUT, POST etc ?
  • Do we need to prepare dependent test data or services ?
  • What non-API approaches will be needed to verify data ?
  • Are there existing API definitions e.g. WADL, WSDL, Thrift ?
  • What non-API approaches will be needed to prepare data ?
  • What (if any) Authorization (‘what’) mechanism will be used ?
  • What (if any) Authentication (‘who’) mechanism will be used ?
  • Who will use it, external programmers or another internal module ?
  • What format(s): SOAP, REST, GraphQL, Thrift, ProtoBuffer, Other ?

*1 Workflows often require multiple API calls and may have dependencies between them

*2 HATEOS – Hypertext As The Engine Of Application State, which allows self-discovery of an API

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