F12.

It is one of the most used keys on my keyboard. There is just so much power in the developer tools of modern browsers that we should not be ignoring. This is especially true when doing API testing. You can often find out a lot about the API calls your application is making directly from the network tab in dev tools.  This tool gives you insight into all the calls that being made across the network when you load a page and API calls are among them. This means you can often find those calls and see what information was sent and what response was received back. It can give you a lot of insight into how an API works within the full system.

Let’s look at some screenshots and see how this might work.

Here I have loaded the the github page for one of my repositories after having hit F12.  You can see a lot of different network calls that have been made, but just looking at the first one here we can see that it is a GET call. We can see the URL used for this and if we look at the Preview, and Response tabs we can see what this call returns

GetCall

Or take a look at the call we get when we try to change the name of a repository.  We can see in this one a POST request that includes query parameters and form data. All of this information is the kind of thing that is really helpful if you are trying to figure out how an API works and how you might go about doing further testing on it.

postcall

Being able to see what API calls are being sent from a page is very helpful, but there are other ways that the developer console can help you in API testing as well. For example, another powerful thing you can do within the dev console is network throttling. There is a throttling option that lets you simulate being on a slow connection or not having any internet. This can be a great testing tool for seeing how your APIs work in those kind of conditions. Other things you can do on the dev console include seeing console errors, performance monitoring and even blocking particular requests.

All of these tools and many other are available in the developer console and if you haven’t played around with it before you really should! It is a helpful tool for any part of web testing but it is especially powerful when you are looking at API testing.

 

Photo by Kimberleigh Aleksandra on Unsplash

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