At the virtualization phase, where an API is fine-tuned before its launch, testing teams must think about choosing open source API toolkits or commercial services. These two are very different in nature. Open API toolkits grant the public access to proprietary software applications or services so that any organization can choose it to build their API.
In contrast, commercial services are off-the-shelf API development tools spearheaded by big companies as part of their product lineup. There’s no doubt that open source developers contribute a lot to the API industry, and they deserve the traction they’ve gained because of this. But the big names still possess a chunk of the market for their exclusive features and longtime customer trust in their brand.
In this case, which of the two should you purchase for your API’s development? Here’s a list of four factors that you should consider. This guide should make it easier to choose between open API mocking or virtualization versus a commercial suite for these key development stages.
Cost is likely the most obvious factor when picking one toolkit over the other. How much will you need to shell out in order to buy sufficient API development tools? The costs for these kits may include licensing, professional services, and amount of time spent adjusting the virtualization.
Commercial service virtualizations often come with hefty price tags. Open API software, on the other hand, can usually be acquired for free or with affordable monthly fees. You will need to choose based on the scope of your project and your company’s budget for API design and testing.
Another urgent factor to consider is the accessibility of the tools. Note that buying an exclusive commercial service virtualization may result in a vendor lock-in or difficulty switching to competing services. If you want to be free to migrate to other services, it may be harder to do so in the long run.
This isn’t a problem with open source API software, which is often more accessible than its commercial counterpart. An open-sourced approach will make it easier to mix-and-match your toolset over a short period. Your team may want this agility at the virtualization stage as well as during mocking and stubbing.
Menu of Features
In terms of features, you’ll be getting what you paid for. Many companies consider commercial service virtualizations worth the money. After all, they pay a premium for a complete virtualization toolkit straight out of the box. This kit includes access to a variety of communication protocols, and in addition, the ability to integrate with a number of API testing tools. By using a commercial service’s extensive menu of features, the API team stands to save time and become more efficient at building their virtualization solution.
The same can’t be said about open source toolsets, which are often smaller and host a limited range of features for virtualization. For example, some open source virtualization systems are based on HTTP, and you can only expect them to handle solutions involving HTTP application protocols as a result. If your goal is to conduct a quick, comprehensive, and enterprise-wide rollout of your virtualization, you may be better off with a commercial service.
Extent of Product Support
Thanks to their resources, big brand names have a wider pool of product support for their commercial service virtualizations. If you purchase a premium toolset from them, it won’t be hard for you to find support staff in case anything goes wrong at the virtualization stage.
But product support for open source API software, especially from new organizations, may be scarce. It’s often limited to the toolkit’s creators plus a niche community of users, many of whom are navigating their way through trial and error. For companies that value having additional support when learning to use virtualization tools, open source models may not be enough.
Choose the Virtualization Solution Your Company Needs
Open source and commercial service virtualizations have their own sets of pros and cons. So there’s no right or wrong answer for which one is better—only that one may be more suitable for your company.
Take a good look at what your organization needs in order to push through with your API’s virtualization. If you can align one of these solutions with your company’s goals, then you’ll have found the answer.