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APIAutomation

API Automation: Automating Tasks with APIs

API automation

Automation is a boon of the digital age. Since its introduction, it has helped productivity, profit, and usability soar greatly, saving time and money wherever it’s implemented. For instance, tasks that required hours or days of manual work now take seconds to finish with API automation. Furthermore, automation significantly reduces the risk of human errors as well as the number of people required for a task. 

A common example is how much easier payments have become with automation. Recently, there have been more payment options for consumers, including card terminals and, more importantly, digital/electronic wallets. They allow consumers to have minimal contact with cashiers while taking way less time to finish. 

Software development is no stranger to automation tools. As software applications grow, requirements get more complicated and numerous. Thus, expert developers and businesses found ways to automate coding tasks and make development easier through APIs (Application Programming Interfaces). APIs are software tools that enable seamless communication between software. They help developers perform normally difficult tasks with ease by providing pre-built functionality or data. This reduces coding effort and keeps developers focused on the core features of their software. 

In this article, we’ll explore some APIs and how they help automate various development tasks. 

What can APIs automate?

API automation: Automating tasks with API

There are various use cases of API automation:

File Ingestion

One of the essential features of almost every modern website or application is file uploading. Take, for example, social media platforms, where users need a file uploader to upload and share photos, videos, or other media files. Similarly, online productivity tools allow users to share files conveniently with co-workers using file uploaders. 

File ingestion involves the transfer, storage, processing, and accessing/sharing of files. This covers tasks like file transformations (image editing, file conversion, etc.), file security, and even AI-based tasks. 

Because of the high demand for seamless file uploads and processing, businesses and developers need to integrate some kind of file upload solution that can automate file ingestion tasks. Hence, file ingestion experts developed APIs for processing files. 

API Automation for File Ingestion

A file ingestion API automates file processing by letting developers define tasks and connect them with conditional logic. This leads to easier and quicker file processing when developing complex applications. With a file ingestion API, you would only need to configure an ingestion process once and use or reconfigure it as many times as needed. Some of the best automation tasks that these APIs provide are: 

  • Image resizing, cropping/smart cropping, rotating, flipping, and watermarking
  • Image enhancement (colour correction and other operations to improve image quality)
  • Adding borders, effects, and filters to images
  • Facial recognition features (detect, crop, pixelate, or blur faces)
  • File conversion (image to PDF, images to GIF, etc.)
  • Video and audio transcoding

Without using an API to automate these file ingestion tasks, you would have to write plenty of code. That leads to more development time compared to simply configuring how the tasks should be handled. 

If you’re interested in learning more about automating file ingestion tasks with an API, read this comprehensive documentation on a file ingestion API

Software Testing Automation

Software Testing

Software testing is an integral part of the software development cycle. Thus, it must be done as accurately and as much as possible. Without proper software testing procedures, app-breaking bugs would be free to hinder an application’s functionality and performance. This, in turn, leads to user frustration and a loss of interest. 

Software testing, when done manually by humans, involves lots of repetitive testing, which is time-consuming and tedious. Additionally, manual testing often leads to inaccuracies due to human errors. That’s why automated testing emerged. As the name suggests, it involves configuring a program to perform test runs, generate results and analysis, and more. Moreover, testing automation tools often come with APIs to make integration and usage easier. 

Need to run plenty of tests that humans physically can’t? Want to run accurate tests quickly? Then, you should consider software testing through API automation. Keep in mind, however, that an automated tester is only as good as you configure it to be. 

Geography

A person working on a laptop

Many apps today integrate functionality for searching for cities, countries, currencies, and other geographic information. For instance, e-commerce apps need this functionality to enable users to select their city, country, and currency while placing orders.

In most modern apps, users would only need to select a country/city from a dropdown list instead of typing in the location. This leads to more data accuracy and a better user experience. Normally, developers would have to manually fill in database tables with geographic data, which would then be displayed in a dropdown list. However, with the sheer number of countries, cities, and other geographic data, this would be a pretty tough task. Fortunately, all of this can be made easier with API automation.

By using a Geographic Data Automation API, you can skip this daunting task and focus on developing your app’s core features. A Geography API automates the process of fetching geographic information by providing access to a searchable database that’s continually updated and maintained. This helps development teams stay focused on the more important coding tasks while providing a quick way to get geographic data for users. 

Email Validation

Automating email validation with an API

Nowadays, with the increasing number of fake or inactive email addresses, it is vital to have reliable email validation in place. Without one, you could waste time and resources by sending emails to non-existent or fake addresses. Furthermore, it could lead to exploits and easily allow the creation of multiple accounts for people to misuse or abuse. 

More importantly, validating emails allows you to send emails to genuine clients and prospects. Thus, it’s always better to have email validation within your app. However, creating email validation functionality manually can be a daunting task. But is there an easy way to do this? Yes, you guessed it – the answer is API automation!

We can automate email validation and verification with an API. Such an API lets you know whether an email address is reachable. Email verification APIs use a combination of techniques, such as regex and DNS (Domain Name System) validation. This is followed by connecting to an address’ SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) without sending an actual email. This approach goes beyond relying solely on historical data, ensuring that the validation process is as accurate as possible.

Whenever you need users to input an email address, be sure to validate it. And if you’ll be validating it, know that it’s much easier and better to automate it with an email validation and verification API. 

Paraphrasing

paraphrasing API automation

Reviewing and rewriting articles can be tedious. Sure, reading a few of them in one business day could be easy. But what if you have dozens or even hundreds of articles, each having thousands of words, to review and improve? It would be physically tiring, leading to even more errors. You would have to check every sentence for errors, plagiarism, or just plain quality. Afterwards, you’ll have to rewrite sentences in a way that improves them without losing their meaning. 

These issues persist everywhere you need to write and review, including blogs, tutorials, or internal documentation. Fortunately, software companies and developers have created paraphrasing APIs. 

A paraphrasing API lets developers implement paraphrasing in their apps automatically, eliminating plenty of effort from both developers and users. It can adequately rewrite sentences to remove errors while keeping the content original and coherent. This improves the quality of users’ writing while making it search engine-friendly.

With a paraphrasing API, you would only need to make a request with your API key and the content you want to rephrase. The API will then return the reworded content. 

What is API Test Automation?

People often confuse automating tasks using APIs with API automation. In reality, these two are different things. Automation with API can involve automating various different tasks. These include file ingestion, paraphrasing, email validation, software testing, and more. 

On the other hand, API test automation is basically automated API testing. It involves automating the testing of the Application Programming Interface itself using API testing tools, API tests, and test scripts. Automating API testing helps verify that the API functions correctly, performs as expected, and meets specified requirements.

When should you automate tasks with APIs? 

Before you start automating your tasks, you need to consider the following factors:

  • A better understanding of the manual process: You should automate a task if you already know how to accomplish it manually. Having this knowledge would give you better insight and mastery over the API. 
  • Upgrading a current system: If your system is in dire need of an upgrade and needs to boost its performance or enhance the user experience, then you should automate some tasks. API Automation saves time on all sides and can make users of your app more likely to use it again. 
  • Difficulty in development: If you find some features of your app too difficult to implement, you can rely on API automation. As we’ve discussed earlier, opting for APIs lets you skip the tough parts of development. 

Conclusion

In this article, we looked at some popular APIs for automating development tasks. Automation has become an essential part of development, as it simplifies usually complicated tasks while enhancing the user experience. We’ve discussed how different APIs can automate various tasks and the basics of how they work. 

When integrating APIs, it is necessary to assess:

  • What problems they can solve
  • How they automate tasks
  • How you can customize them to your needs

You should also ensure that the APIs you choose are well-maintained so you can rely on them for a long time. A good API also has proper documentation and customer support that can answer your questions. 

Automation, when used correctly and with the right information, leads to efficiency and growth. Thus, studying the tools that automate development tasks would be the first step towards making your ideal application. 

FAQs

What is an automation API?

An automation API is an interface that enables users to automate tasks or processes within a software system/ app by programmatically interacting with it. This type of API basically provides a set of functions and protocols that developers can utilize to control and manipulate the behavior of the software programmatically.

Which tool is used for API automation?

There are different types of API automation tools for automating different tasks. These include automate software testing APIs, email validation APIs, paraphrasing APIs, File ingestion APIs, etc.

What would be an example of API-based automation?

An example of API-based automation is the automatic validation of email addresses in your app using an email validation API. These APIs use a combination of regex and DNS (Domain Name System) validation. Additionally, some APIs also connect to the SMTP server associated with the email address without actually sending an email to confirm its deliverability.

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