Social APIs are omnipresent and create special cases for testing.
If you understand API testing, especially web service type APIs, testing social APIs is easy to grasp.
The use of social APIs makes them a special case. They are omnipresent and very well understood.
What this means is you need to have a good understanding of integrating and validating and also the test cases to be automated. You want these straightforward tests to be a “no brainer” and run automatically with each update and release of your product or service.
There is a move by some companies to write one standard API for all the social APIs. For example, you could use one web service to implement Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, YouTube, Google+, Flikr and thousands of others with one standard call.
GNIP offers managed access to the public APIs of Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Google+, Flickr and others.
Singly offers API integration management for health (FitBit to Runkeeper to BodyMedia), photos (Instagram to Facebook to Flickr to Picasa), and social (Foursquare Checkins, Facebook Likes, Favorite Tweets). This is not yet a common situation and I have doubts the various social web companies have any interest in standardizing their APIs. These “universal” social API integrations will need extra testing.
Take a look at a few of examples these API documents, especially looking for sandbox information, testing tools, data formats and boundaries:
Facebook Graph API
The Graph API is the primary way that data is retrieved or posted to Facebook.
Twitter Embedded Tweets
You can take any tweet from your Twitter account and, as the name states, embed it directly into the content of your
website, or a page on your website.
Google+ is a useful social network in some circles.
Add functionality to their app or website, to help users find up to the 40 best results for geographic searches.
Check-in based social media service Foursquare is one of the pioneers of geolocation-based marketing.
Flickr is one of the leading image services on the web. Developers can use the API to organize, store and display their digital images, and even integrate them with other social apps. The API also allows them to share their content.
In conclusion, focus on getting these tests automated and into your continuous integration (CI) suites.
Michael is a co-founder of LogiGear Corporation, and has over two decades of experience in software engineering in banking, securities, healthcare and consumer electronics. Michael is a Certified Scrum Master and has co-authored two books on software testing. Testing Applications on the Web: Test Planning for Mobile and Internet-Based Systems (Wiley, 2nd ed. 2003), and Global Software Test Automation (Happy About Publishing, 2006).