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Quality Framework for Apigee Pipelines

By June 28, 2024July 8th, 2024No Comments

Apigee framework has been a staple for API Management, becoming increasingly common among enterprises, over the past few years. The platform offers a comprehensive suite for managing API lifecycles, enabling effective traffic management, security enforcement, and data transformation. Its proxies act as intermediaries between client applications and backend services, executing specific policies and performing necessary transformations like data format conversion and authentication. Ensuring the quality and reliability of these proxies is essential. This blog discusses various quality measures for proxy testing that can be implemented throughout the Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC), from development and unit testing to integration testing.

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By adopting a structured testing approach, organizations can identify and resolve issues early, preventing them from escalating into significant problems. While end-to-end (E2E) tests do not typically test proxy behavior directly, issues in E2E functionality may often trace back to proxies if earlier testing phases miss them. Additionally, contract tests can help ensure that no functionality breaks. Let’s take a look at a few testing strategies.

Linting and Static Code Quality Analysis

Apigee development typically involves creating policies, which are configurations that control the behavior of the proxy. Although you can embed JavaScript, Java, or Python code within language-oriented callout policies to perform custom transformations or aggregations, these are just a fraction of Apigee’s capabilities as an API Management Platform.

Tools for Static Code Analysis

For static code analysis, you can use tools such as:

  • Apigee lint: This tool is specifically designed for analyzing Apigee bundles. It checks for compliance with best practices and can be easily integrated with the build pipeline to run the rules before a build can be considered successful.
  • JSHint and ESLint: These tools are used for JavaScript analysis and help in detecting potential issues and enforcing coding standards.
  • SonarQube: This is a multi-language support tool that provides detailed insights into code quality, including bugs, vulnerabilities, and code smells.

Integrating these tools into the development workflow ensures that the code adheres to quality standards right from the early stages of development.

Policy Level Testing (Unit Testing)

For an Apigee proxy, unit or component testing at the policy level is of limited relevance because policies are essentially configurations rather than code. Exceptions include custom JavaScript, Java, or Python callout policies, particularly if their behavior cannot be tested at the proxy level because they do not participate in the API response (e.g., logging or behind-the-scenes external integrations).

JavaScript can be unit tested using frameworks such as Mocha, while full integration testing can be done with Apickli. However, if a developer wants to ensure that a policy has been executed, a cache has been hit, or a variable has been set, the only options are manually checking the trace, setting a debug header, or building custom frameworks to check assertions in the traces. It is important to evaluate whether such low-level unit tests truly add value to the quality process considering the frequency of changes to an Apigee proxy once it is set up.

Proxy Testing (Integration Testing)

Integration testing is crucial to ensure that the API proxy functions as intended, with comprehensive coverage that ideally makes unit testing unnecessary. Although this might be debatable, the challenges of unit testing a proxy mean that most of the heavy lifting is expected to be done during the integration testing phase.

Proxy testing should follow the deployment of the proxy as the proxy’s existence, shared flows, and target servers are essential for this testing. Various API testing tools are available, and general API testing strategies apply to testing Apigee proxies as well. If there is no specific mandate for an API testing tool within the organization, Apickli is a good open-source candidate for this phase.

Tools and Techniques:

  • Cucumber.js: This is a JavaScript and Node.js implementation of the Behavior Driven Development (BDD) test framework Cucumber, using the Gherkin language to describe test scenarios in a BDD manner.
  • Postman: Widely used for API testing, Postman allows for the creation and execution of complex test scenarios.
  • RESTAssured: A Java-based library to simplify the testing of REST services.
  • JMeter: An open-source load testing tool that can be used to perform performance testing on your APIs.

For integration testing, it’s vital to adequately test behaviors around traffic management, security, mediation, and extension. This includes covering the proxy endpoint flow behaviors, shared flow behaviors, and target server flow behaviors.

Traffic Management Testing

Traffic management policies ensure that the API can handle high loads efficiently. This includes rate limiting, quota policies, and spike arrest policies. Testing these policies involves simulating high traffic conditions and ensuring that the policies are enforced correctly.

Security Testing

Security is a critical aspect of any API. Security testing involves validating OAuth, API keys, and other authentication mechanisms. It also includes testing for vulnerabilities such as SQL injection, cross-site scripting (XSS), and other common security threats.

Mediation and Transformation Testing

Mediation involves transforming the request and response messages as they pass through the API proxy. This can include message format transformations (e.g., JSON to XML), protocol translations (e.g., HTTP to HTTPS), and other custom transformations. Testing these transformations ensures that the API proxy behaves as expected under different scenarios.

User Acceptance Testing (UAT)

The testing performed in the later phases of the feature life cycle won’t specifically target the Apigee proxy but will inherently navigate through the configured settings. Ideally, any Apigee configuration issues should be detected and resolved in the earlier stages of testing and development, preventing them from surfacing later.

Production sanity checks should ideally be conducted at the level of customer-facing applications rather than the Apigee proxy itself. Additionally, we should rely on Apigee’s monitoring and alerting framework (or any external monitoring/alerting framework) to identify and address any discrepancies after production deployment.

Establishing a Robust Apigee Framework

Establishing a robust quality framework for Apigee pipelines is essential to maintain the integrity and performance of APIs. An effective Apigee framework integrates comprehensive testing strategies at various stages from development to deployment, ensuring that each proxy adheres to the required standards.

Key Components of a Quality Framework:

  1. Automated Testing: Integrate tools like apigeelint for linting, Mocha for JavaScript unit tests, and Apickli for integration tests. Automated testing ensures that each proxy is thoroughly vetted for functionality, security, and performance.
  2. Continuous Monitoring and Alerting: Continuous monitoring and alerting help teams swiftly identify and rectify any issues post-deployment, maintaining seamless API operations. Apigee’s in-built monitoring tools, coupled with external solutions, can provide comprehensive insights into API performance.
  3. CI/CD Integration: Integrating automated testing and monitoring within the CI/CD pipelines enables rapid feedback loops, ensuring that any code changes or updates are promptly validated against established quality criteria.
  4. Collaboration and Continuous Improvement: The framework promotes a culture of continuous improvement and collaboration among development, testing, and operations teams. Regular feedback and iteration enhance the reliability and scalability of the API proxies.

Best Practices for Apigee API Management:

  • Version Control with Apigee API Management: Implementing a robust version control strategy with Apigee API Management ensures that changes to the API proxies are tracked and managed efficiently. Tools like Git can be integrated with the CI/CD pipeline to automate versioning and deployment processes within Apigee, providing seamless transitions across versions.
  • Environment Management in Apigee API Management: Managing different environments (development, staging, production) effectively within Apigee API Management ensures that changes are thoroughly tested before deployment. This involves setting up separate configurations in Apigee and ensuring tests are conducted in a controlled manner, minimizing the risk of issues in the production environment.
  • Documentation for Apigee API Management: Comprehensive documentation of API proxies within Apigee API Management, including testing strategies and the overall framework, is essential for maintaining quality and consistency. This includes documenting test cases, expected outcomes, and any known issues or limitations, ensuring that all aspects of the API management process are clear and well-understood by the team.


We evaluated some of the relevant phases of quality assurance in the development and testing of an Apigee proxy and shared recommendations around the test approach, tooling, and focus of those phases. By implementing a comprehensive quality framework, integrating automated testing, and fostering a culture of continuous improvement, teams can ensure the reliability, security, and performance of their API proxies.

Niveus Solutions offers a suite of tools and services designed to enhance your API management capabilities. Our team specializes in setting up robust frameworks for Apigee pipelines, ensuring seamless API performance and security. We provide end-to-end solutions that cover everything from development to deployment, helping you optimize your API strategy for success. Contact us today to learn more about how we can support your API management needs.

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Ritesh Wanchoo

Author Ritesh Wanchoo

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