Introduction

Applications that you build for a wide range of clients to use are not put through the same kind of workload in all environments. Each client will have a unique environment that your application will run in, and each client will use your application in many different ways at various levels of intensity. Before shipping the software, you need to ensure that your application will stand all kinds of demand that any client will put it through.

Put it simply, and performance testing is the practice of running your application under various levels of workload and stress conditions and testing it for responsiveness and stability. Responsiveness and stability are two of the most important characteristics of an application’s user experience. No matter how good your application is, if it is failing on these two parameters, you will have some really upset customers. Also listed will be a list of preferred performance testing tools, along with a few of their most important features.

This blog will take you through performance testing tools, exploring the purpose and advantages and types of performance testing in relative detail. Let’s get started already. 

  1. What is Performance Testing?
  2. Need for Performance Testing
  3. Advantages of Performance Testing
  4. Top Performance Testing Tools

1. What is Performance Testing?

A formal or Wikipedia definition of Performance testing is as follows, “Performance testing more accurately, Software performance testing, part of Software Quality Assurance is, in general, a testing practice performed to determine how any system works in terms of its responsiveness and stability under any given workload. It can also serve to investigate, measure, validate and verify other quality attributes of the system, such as scalability, reliability and resource usage”.

Let’s expand on that. Performance testing basically is testing the application under both typical and exceptional workload to ensure that your application stands up to all kinds of workloads under almost all environments. One characteristic distinction of performance testing is that it is not done with the purpose of finding a bug in the application. The main attributes that performance testing puts your application through are

  • Stability- One of the most important criteria is how stable your application is under various levels of stress and workloads.
  • Speed- Users of your application will also judge it by the speed with which it is responding to events. Usually, a slower speed than average will be a major cause for customer dissatisfaction, while speeds matching the average are accepted.
  • Responsiveness- Closely related to speed, the responsiveness of your application is how the application is able to react to user input even if performing a task in the background. An application should be able to reasonably handle user input when busy with an ongoing task. Even if it cannot do any other task, it should be able to appropriately message and defer the user until such a time when new input is ready to be accepted.
  • Scalability- Scalability tests the ability of the application software on the ability to handle multiple concurrent workloads, be it on the local network or on a private cloud, or even on a public cloud.

2. Need for Performance Testing

The reasoning for performance testing might be obvious to you by now, but let’s list them anyway and go through them in brief.

Performance testing allows the product team to simulate the load on the application and rate it on parameters of user experience like speed, stability, scalability, and responsiveness. A reasonable rating on all these parameters is what all product teams will strive to achieve. Some even go beyond to ensure the application is better than other competing software on the above-mentioned parameters.

Performance testing brings to the fore any areas of improvement before the release or deployment of the application.

Performance testing tools have also to ensure smooth operation across platforms if it had aimed to have multi-platform support in the first place.

A few of the advantages of applying performance testing techniques are listed below, which are also in some ways driving the need for performance testing.

3. Advantages of Performance Testing

Some of the key advantages of performance testing are

  • Feature validation

Along with other types of testing, performance testing also tests some of the features of the application software boasts of.

  • Speed, Stability and scale

After a performance test, you understand how well the application has been designed and developed to hand the core requirements of stability and agility. In the times of superfast computing, any application that lags unreasonably runs the risk of rejection. Even if it is a minor issue, performance testing brings it to the fore for the development team to take a look at fix it in a future update or release. Performance testing also exposes the application software to a scale that it can only experience in real-time.

  • Customer satisfaction

This word has been used so much that it sounds cliched, but the fact is, it is the most important goal of any application software. Performance testing gives you an idea of how well the application will perform for the customer and keep the customer happy.

  • Early identification of discrepancies

Any issues that missed in other forms or testing might surface during performance testing and gives enough time for developers to resolve them well before the release.

Types of Performance Testing

There are several types of performance testing to test various aspects of performance, and they are listed below.

  • Load Testing

Load testing puts the application through an anticipated load or user activity to iron out any performance issues with respect to load.

  • Stress Testing

With the objecting of identifying stress breakpoints, stress testing involves putting the application under extreme workloads and monitoring the performance.

  • Endurance Testing

A test that checks if the software can endure the expected load for a significant period of time.

  • Volume Testing

Testing the application database with huge volumes and heavy database transactions tests the performance of the application with respect to processing volume.

  • Scalability Testing

A closely related test that works much like volume testing is scalability testing, which is used to determine the application software’s ability to scale up in response to reasonably high and anticipated user access.

4. Top Performance Testing Tools

There are a number of performance testing tools available today, and it becomes difficult to choose one for your requirements. Let’s list a few of the top Performance Testing tools.

  • LoadNinja

LoadNinja replaced the load emulators with actual browsers, providing actionable metrics that are browser-based. Testing teams can use LoadNinja effectively to increase their testing coverage without compromising on quality. LoadNinja offers dynamic correlation, script scrubbing and script translation, among other features.

Here is a list of features that LoadNinja offers.

  • Load test creation without the need for any scripting 
  • Real browser-based load test that can be scaled to enterprise level.
  • VU debugger for testing in real-time.
  • VU inspector manager manages virtual user activity on the application in real-time.
  • A browser-based cloud-native testing tool with browser-based analytics and reporting.
  • Protocols supported are HTTP, HTTPS, SAP GUI Web, WebSocket, Java-based protocol, Google Web Toolkit and Oracle Forms.
  • Apache JMeter

Apache Jmeter is one of the premier open-source performance testing tools used primarily for load testing purposes. This tool is mainly used for web and web service applications. Some of its features are

  • Multi load injector support, all managed by a single controller.
  • With support for all Java-based apps, Jmeter is highly portable. 
  • Relatively less scripting involved. Compared to other similar tools.
  • Simple and intuitive graphs and charts on analytical reports showing performance metrics.
  • Supports real-time, integrated Tomcat collectors.
  • Apache Jmeter supports the below protocols.
  • HTTP, HTTPS, XML, SOAP, Java-based protocols and FTP.
  • WebLOAD

An enterprise-scale performance testing tool primarily used for load testing. Along with an advanced analytics dashboard, this tool features a very well thought out IDE and a well-designed load generation console. WebLoad, as the name suggests, is well suited for testing web and mobile workload.

WebLOAD comes loaded with the below-listed features.

  • A very flexible test case creation.
  • All major web technologies are supported.
  • WebLOAD also comes with a powerful correlation engine and is well appreciated in the marketplace.
  • WebLOAD also auto-detects possible bottlenecks.
  • You can simulate load either on the local setup or on the cloud.
  • Strong scripting capabilities with support for JavaScript.
  • WebLOAD supports HTTP, HTTPS, XML, Enterprise applications and server technologies.
  • LoadUI Pro

LoadUI Pro allows you to dynamically increase the load on your servers using script less load tests, distributing them via the cloud using load agents and monitor the performance. LoadUI Pro also allows you to automate your tests quickly.

Some of the talked about features of LoadUI Pro are:

  • Create load test without any script.
  • A number of preconfigured load test templates, including spike, baseline, smoke and stress tests.
  • Easily drag and drop load tests on cloud
  • Advanced analytics and reporting features.
  • LoadUI Pro supports HTTP, REST, SOAP, JSON, API Blueprint, JSON Schema and XML Schema.
  • LoadView

Another browser-based testing tool for websites, web apps and APIs, LoadView creates scripts that simulate user interaction with your website or web applications. You can see the real-time performance of your application under load.

LoadView comes with the below features,

  • Cloud-native load testing conducted in real browsers.
  • Support for rich internet applications.
  • Easily build a test script without actually coding a line.
  • Test your application’s compatibility on mobile devices.
  • LoadView supports Flash, Silverlight, Java, HTML5, PHP and Ruby.

Conclusion

Although done by sophisticated tools, performance testing requires thorough knowledge of testing, the project being tested, and an understanding of possible issues. All this can only be learned from an experienced coach. Join Jigsaw academy’s tailor-made courses to gain in-depth knowledge and understanding of the Performance testing tools involved.

Big data analysts are at the vanguard of the journey towards an ever more data-centric world. Being powerful intellectual resources, companies are going the extra mile to hire and retain them. You too can come on board, and take this journey with our Big Data Specialization course.

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