Nowadays a lot of software depends on external services and APIs. We can write automated tests such as acceptance and automated tests for internally built tools because we control the whole flow, some platforms (such as Salesforce) allow the creation of sandbox environments that could be used for testing purposes, but often smaller SaaS do not have such support.

How does one test integrations with such systems?

2 Answers 2


Testing external integrations is a critical aspect of software testing as it ensures that the software being developed works seamlessly with other systems and APIs. Usually there is no size size fits all kind of best practise. Here are some important practices and approaches for testing external integrations:

  1. Identify the Integration Points: Before starting the testing process, it is essential to identify the integration points between the software and external systems. This will help in understanding the scope of testing and the potential risks associated with the integration.

  2. Define the Test Scenarios: Based on the integration points, define the test scenarios that need to be executed. It is crucial to identify both positive and negative test scenarios to ensure that the integration works as expected in all scenarios.

  3. Use Mock Services: To test external integrations, it is often beneficial to use mock services. Mock services are lightweight, simulated versions of the external systems that mimic their behavior. This approach can be useful when testing with systems that are either not available or not stable.

  4. Perform API Testing: API testing is a critical part of testing external integrations. By testing the API endpoints, it is possible to identify any issues with the integration before the system goes live. API testing can be performed using tools such as Postman, SoapUI, or JMeter.

  5. Use Contract Testing: Contract testing is a technique that tests the compatibility of two systems by defining a contract between them. The contract specifies the expected behavior of both systems, and the tests verify that both systems adhere to the contract. Contract testing can be used to test external integrations, especially with systems that are not under your control.

  6. Use Integration Testing: Integration testing is a type of testing that verifies the interactions between two or more systems. It tests the functionality, reliability, and performance of the integration. Integration testing can be performed manually or using automation tools.

  7. Monitor and Test Continuously: External systems can change frequently, which can impact the integration. To ensure that the integration continues to work correctly, it is essential to monitor and test continuously. Automated monitoring and testing can be used to detect any issues and trigger alerts if necessary.

  8. Performance testing: It is important to perform performance testing on external integrations to ensure that the system can handle the expected load and response times are within acceptable limits. Tools like JMeter can be used to perform load testing.

  9. Security testing: It is important to perform security testing on external integrations to ensure that sensitive data is not exposed to unauthorized parties. Tools like OWASP ZAP can be used to perform security testing.

  10. Error handling: Test scenarios should be designed to verify that error conditions are handled gracefully. For example, if an external service is unavailable, the system should display an appropriate error message and handle the error condition.

  11. Version compatibility: External integrations may be updated over time, so it is important to ensure that the system works with the latest version of the external service. Test scenarios should be designed to verify that the system works with different versions of the external service.

  12. Integration with multiple systems: Sometimes, a system may integrate with multiple external services. In such cases, it is important to test the system with all the external services to ensure that they work together seamlessly.

  13. Monitoring: It is important to monitor external integrations in production to ensure that they are functioning properly. You can generate custom logs for monitoring or you can also use tools like Nagios or Prometheus.

  14. Documenting: It is important to document the testing process and results, as well as any issues that were encountered during testing. This documentation can be used for future reference and can also help in identifying areas that need improvement.

By using the above and a starting point and identifying the best practices and approaches suitable for your needs, it is possible to ensure that the integration works seamlessly with external systems and APIs, reducing the risk of errors and downtime.

  • 2
    Question is about beat approach for testing external integrations. When it comes to best practice, there is actually no one size fits all. One can actually use the points mentioned to build on a best practice for their specific needs. Also writer.com/ai-content-detector thinks the answer is mostly written by a human. Mar 14 at 2:23

Pact has recently released the bi-directional contract testing approach.

With consumer-driven contract testing, one will create a consumer contract and the producer will drive its development by using this contract.

The problem arises with 3rd parties dependencies, that won't design their API based on one's particular needs.

With bi-directional contract testing, one creates the consumer contract and Pactflow verifies if it matches the producer API specification, e.g. OpenAPI (previously known as Swagger) docs.

If the two specifications are compatible, the consumer's developer will know they can integrate with this particular API version.

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