The announcements at the SAP Sapphire Now Conference were the reasons why API Fortress joined the SAP.iO Foundry in SF 3 months ago. SAP recognizes the value of respecting the intelligence of its users. The workforce has evolved, and we’ve come to a fascinating intersection where the line between can and can‘t code is fuzzier than ever. APIs and integrations are king, and who owns that work is now spread across all teams.
Only a few years ago there was a clear divide between technical staff and non-technical staff. It often led to miscommunication between teams, and caused bottlenecks in productivity. Computer science classes are now mandatory in school, and programming languages have become more powerful and approachable.
This evolution has really crystallized itself in the testing industry, which I work in. Before APIs became a popular talking point, most testing discussions revolved around websites and apps. Testing the websites and the apps was a very manual process, requiring humans to go through test steps and then report on any UI/UX flaws they find. It was literally as basic as an excel sheet with cells that contained:
Test Case 1 — Confirm user can add to bag
Step 1: Go to homepage
Step 2: Open an item
Step 3: Click “Add item” button
Step 4: Click Bag icon in top right
Expectation: The item is in the bag
This isn’t stuff from the mid-90s, I was building these test cases only 7 years ago. That is why young platforms such as QASymphony’s Qtest are growing rapidly, to replace the spreadsheet.
Now back to our story. In 2004, Jason Huggins developed Selenium, a software-testing framework that simplifies the process of developing and then executing website tests — having computers do the work we once did manually. This huge reduction in manual testing was so valuable that people in QA teams with limited technical skills were willing to spend the time to learn what was necessary to make it work.
Since then the capabilities of Selenium and Appnium (Selenium for cell phone applications) have increased. Open source libraries were created to help QAs further improve their test suites, without being so complicated they needed senior engineers to be involved. The QA removed the bottlenecks using patience and a willingness to step outside what they knew.
API Fortress has been around since 2014, and in that timeframe alone we have seen a huge leap in the technical capabilities of everyone we work with. Our platform’s first goal was to empower people with limited technical capabilities to create detailed API tests quickly. This in turn led to our test generator and drag-and-drop GUI. Our customers continue to evolve. We are now spending as much time improving our command-line and IDE capabilities, as we do the GUI aspects.
So what’s been the impact? Sales people can now write lookup tables in spreadsheets, marketers can create drip campaigns that personalize the message, sales engineers are often ex-programmers that still code. It is no longer about who can and can’t code. Everyone can. The difference now is to what level, and in what language they prefer.
Everyone is a coder and API Fortress is helping companies leverage this new, growing pool of development talent.