Welcome!

Industrial IoT Authors: Elizabeth White, Stackify Blog, Yeshim Deniz, SmartBear Blog, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: Microservices Expo, Java IoT, Industrial IoT, Microsoft Cloud, Machine Learning , Release Management

Microservices Expo: Article

GUI Versus Script: Is This Old Load Testing Debate Now Over?

New breed of hybrid load testing solutions

The first step in performance or load testing a web application is to create a realistic test script. This script, representing a specific type of end user, contains steps that are fully automated transactions flows. Often, complex behaviors need to be emulated as part of these flows. To incorporate the needed behavior or to handle complex scenarios, testers need to customize these load scripts. The question is whether you utilize a tool that takes a GUI driven approach for script customization/manipulation, or whether you choose a tool which requires the use of a programming language.

As Performance testers, we typically evaluate several load testing tools before diving into a project. Some of us prefer the GUI driven approach to creating load scripts because, being results driven, we want to get the test up and running as quickly as possible. The GUI approach saves us time and there is no programming involved thus the learning curve is also extremely fast. These GUI scripts are typically easily modified by having their parameters and values organized in a visually obvious format. And just because a tool is easy to use, doesn't mean that it's only for beginners. Remember the good old days of MS-DOS? Eeek, thank goodness for GUI driven DOS (Windows).

Some testers (mistakenly) dismiss the GUI driven approach as being too limited for complicated behaviors. Old school testers insist on only utilizing program-based scripts because past experience has led them to think that this is the most flexible or the only choice for handling complicated behaviors. All too often, the perception is that GUI driven scripts limit the level of customizations possible to emulate a real user. This opinion is likely based on experiences with rudimentary GUI tools on the market that are too basic and limited in their capabilities such as handling dynamic content and varying the transactions flows.

However, there is a new breed in load testing solutions, designed and built to handle the most complex advanced scenarios. These are true enterprise-class solutions which provide a hybrid approach by containing both GUI and programming features. The power behind this hybrid approach enables the user to emulate even the most complex behavior but it also includes time saving features which can only be offered by a GUI solution.

Let's get really technical for a minute to highlight an example: Some tools provide the common "programming" tools like loops and conditions. Recorded values of parameters are easily replaced by variables with a click of the mouse. NeoLoad, an example of a modern enterprise solution, goes further to provide even more advanced features. Some specific examples include: 1) "Wait Until" Action to the current execution thread until certain conditions have been verified 2) "Shared Queue" Action to use values from one VU's response as input in an entirely different VU execution 3) a "While" Action allows various transactions, such as web pages, to be iterated while a condition remains false 4) "Try ...Catch" Action to break out of the script based on Validation or Assertions and go to the End phase. The use of nested actions creates even more complex behaviors. All of these advanced scenarios are accomplished without programming! PUSHtechnology which is rapidly being deployed in today's RIA's adds even more complexity. With asynchronous updates pushed to/from the page independent of complete page refreshes...imagine this programming nightmare! NeoLoad has a way to solve this problem using cutting edge technology that can "listen" for PUSH behavior (all polling or streaming requests) and wrap all these asynchronous requests into a GUI fork Action, even calculating the average time interval between execution, then presents you with a newly modified script to emulate these load pattern characteristics. Again, all of these GUI centric features allow further manipulation without the need for programming.

Admittedly, there are rare occasions which call for programming and the new breed solution has a Javascript Action with a complete API to give it a "hybrid" of GUI and coding capability. Again, simply drag the Javascript action into the place where you want it executed and add the java or javascript required. Accomplish things like computation of variables, logging values to files, manipulating cookies, etc.. Incorporating the javascript feature allows for unlimited flexibility in scripting.
As the script becomes more complicated, it's nice to have this hierarchical GUI-type view.

New breed solutions not only allow for complex behaviors...the GUI approach has other time saving embedded assets. To handle dynamic parameters, NeoLoad is delivered with an ever evolving list of known architectural framework dynamic parameters which are automatically detected and handled by a wizard. The search and replace feature finds strings embedded in any request (body, header, URL's, XML tree, partial matches, etc.) and replaces or concatenates to the string with any data or variable - choose to replace entire string or just part of the string. There's an automatic extraction feature to take data from any response and use it to populate the value of a variable. You can enable/disable specific transactions at a page level or embedded request level which a click of the mouse to isolate transactions of interest. Target an entirely different QA/Performance/Production environment - change the Servers field from host where you initially made the recording to the new server name and port. Debug scripts easily using the side-by-side comparison feature with a tab isolating only the differences of recorded vs. replayed values.

From this perspective, the great debate over choosing a GUI driven or programming approach is over...eliminate the tradeoffs and choose a hybrid which has a powerful GUI and also extends the flexibility for programming. Skip most of the manual programming and only use coding where it's required. Both experts and beginners can agree there is now a solution which meets all of the load & performance testing challenges of your own unique web application. Introducing the "GUI hybrid".

More Stories By Rebecca Clinard

Rebecca Clinard is a Senior Performance Engineer at Neotys, a provider of load testing software for Web applications. Previously, she worked as a web application performance engineer for Bowstreet, Fidelity Investments, Bottomline Technologies and Timberland companies, industries spanning retail, financial services, insurance and manufacturing. Her expertise lies in creating realistic load tests and performance tuning multi-tier deployments. She has been orchestrating and conducting performance tests since 2001. Clinard graduated from University of New Hampshire with a BS and also holds a UNIX Certificate from Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

IoT & Smart Cities Stories
Founded in 2000, Chetu Inc. is a global provider of customized software development solutions and IT staff augmentation services for software technology providers. By providing clients with unparalleled niche technology expertise and industry experience, Chetu has become the premiere long-term, back-end software development partner for start-ups, SMBs, and Fortune 500 companies. Chetu is headquartered in Plantation, Florida, with thirteen offices throughout the U.S. and abroad.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that ICC-USA, a computer systems integrator and server manufacturing company focused on developing products and product appliances, will exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO. DXWordEXPO New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. ICC is a computer systems integrator and server manufacturing company focused on developing products and product appliances to meet a wide range of ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that DatacenterDynamics has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. DatacenterDynamics is a brand of DCD Group, a global B2B media and publishing company that develops products to help senior professionals in the world's most ICT dependent organizations make risk-based infrastructure and capacity decisions.
René Bostic is the Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America. Enjoying her career with IBM during the modern millennial technological era, she is an expert in cloud computing, DevOps and emerging cloud technologies such as Blockchain. Her strengths and core competencies include a proven record of accomplishments in consensus building at all levels to assess, plan, and implement enterprise and cloud computing solutions. René is a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and a m...
Nicolas Fierro is CEO of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions. He is a programmer, technologist, and operations dev who has worked with Ethereum and blockchain since 2014. His knowledge in blockchain dates to when he performed dev ops services to the Ethereum Foundation as one the privileged few developers to work with the original core team in Switzerland.
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo, taking place November 12-13 in New York City, NY, is co-located with 22nd international CloudEXPO | first international DXWorldEXPO and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time t...
Headquartered in Plainsboro, NJ, Synametrics Technologies has provided IT professionals and computer systems developers since 1997. Based on the success of their initial product offerings (WinSQL and DeltaCopy), the company continues to create and hone innovative products that help its customers get more from their computer applications, databases and infrastructure. To date, over one million users around the world have chosen Synametrics solutions to help power their accelerated business or per...
DXWordEXPO New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location.
When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things'). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing. IoT is not about the devices, its about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. This paper discusses the considerations when dealing with the...
Charles Araujo is an industry analyst, internationally recognized authority on the Digital Enterprise and author of The Quantum Age of IT: Why Everything You Know About IT is About to Change. As Principal Analyst with Intellyx, he writes, speaks and advises organizations on how to navigate through this time of disruption. He is also the founder of The Institute for Digital Transformation and a sought after keynote speaker. He has been a regular contributor to both InformationWeek and CIO Insight...