Welcome!

AJAX & REA Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, David H Deans, Pat Romanski, Scott Hirsch

Related Topics: SOA & WOA, Java, XML, .NET, AJAX & REA, Open Web

SOA & WOA: 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.

@CloudExpo Stories
Compute virtualization has been transformational, yet security policy implementation and enforcement has lagged behind in agility and automation. There are a number of key considerations when implementing policy in private and hybrid clouds. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Holland Barry, VP of Technology at Catbird, will discuss the impact of this new paradigm and what organizations can do today to safely move to software-defined network and compute architectures, including: How normal ope...
Can we look to the paradigm of cloud computing from a completely different perspective? In his General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Gundars Kulups, Sales Director at DEAC, will discuss what we can learn from our dining habits when choosing a cloud solution. Gundars Kulups is Sales Director at DEAC, full service data center operator. An IT expert, he specializes in European countries and has worked in the IT industry since 1992. He graduated from Riga Technical University (RTU) in Latvia and com...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SOA Software, an API management leader, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. SOA Software is a leading provider of API Management and SOA Governance products that equip business to deliver APIs and SOA together to drive their company to meet its business strategy quickly and effectively. SOA Software’s technology helps businesses to accel...
As cloud gives an opportunity to businesses to buy services externally - how is cloud impacting your customers? In his General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Fabio Gori, Director of Worldwide Cloud Marketing at Cisco, will provide answers to big questions: Do you see hybrid cloud as where the world is going? What benefits does it bring? And how does Cisco connect all of these clouds? He will also tell us everything about Intercloud and Cisco investment on it.
SYS-CON Events announced today that TMCnet has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Technology Marketing Corporation (TMC) is the world's leading business to business and integrated marketing media company, servicing niche markets within the communications and technology industries.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Aria Systems, the recurring revenue expert, has been named "Bronze Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Aria Systems helps leading businesses connect their customers with the products and services they love. Industry leaders like Pitney Bowes, Experian, AAA NCNU, VMware, HootSuite and many others choose Aria to power their recurring revenue bu...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Parasoft will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For 27 years, Parasoft has researched and developed software solutions that help organizations deliver defect-free software efficiently. By integrating Development Testing, API/cloud/SOA/composite app testing, and service virtualization, we reduce the time, effort, and cost of delivering secur...
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to evolve the way the world does business; however, understanding how to apply it to your company can be a mystery. Most people struggle with understanding the potential business uses or tend to get caught up in the technology, resulting in solutions that fail to meet even minimum business goals. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO / President / Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., will show what is needed to leverage the IoT to transform...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Utimaco will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Utimaco is a leading manufacturer of hardware based security solutions that provide the root of trust to keep cryptographic keys safe, secure critical digital infrastructures and protect high value data assets. Only Utimaco delivers a general-purpose hardware security module (HSM) as a customiz...
One of the biggest challenges when developing connected devices is identifying user value and delivering it through successful user experiences. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mike Kuniavsky, Principal Scientist, Innovation Services at PARC, will describe an IoT-specific approach to user experience design that combines approaches from interaction design, industrial design and service design to create experiences that go beyond simple connected gadgets to create lasting, multi-devic...
Until recently, many organizations required specialized departments to perform mapping and geospatial analysis, and they used Esri on-premise solutions for that work. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Dave Peters, author of the Esri Press book Building a GIS, System Architecture Design Strategies for Managers, will discuss how Esri has successfully included the cloud as a fully integrated SaaS expansion of the ArcGIS mapping platform. Organizations that have incorporated Esri cloud-based appl...
Once the decision has been made to move part or all of a workload to the cloud, a methodology for selecting that workload needs to be established. How do you move to the cloud? What does the discovery, assessment and planning look like? What workloads make sense? Which cloud model makes sense for each workload? What are the considerations for how to select the right cloud model? And how does that fit in with the overall IT tranformation? In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, John Hatem, head of V...
Dyn solutions are at the core of Internet Performance. Through traffic management, message management and performance assurance, Dyn is connecting people through the Internet and ensuring information gets where it needs to go, faster and more reliably than ever before. Founded in 2001 at WPI, Dyn’s global presence services more than four million enterprise, small business and personal customers.
IBM and Tencent Cloud signed a business cooperation memorandum to collaborate on providing public cloud with Software-as-a-Service solutions for industries. Both parties agreed to focus on emerging small and medium enterprises in the smarter cities and smarter healthcare industries as well as other fields. This will enable these industries to utilize mobile, cloud computing and big data tools to transform internal processes and operations, thus achieving cloud transformation in the era of mobili...
SimpleECM is the only platform to offer a powerful combination of enterprise content management (ECM) services, capture solutions, and third-party business services providing simplified integrations and workflow development for solution providers. SimpleECM is opening the market to businesses of all sizes by reinventing the delivery of ECM services. Our APIs make the development of ECM services simple with the use of familiar technologies for a frictionless integration directly into web applicat...
European data center operator DEAC is the largest in the Baltics. The activities are orientated to provide data center services and IT outsourcing on Eurasia and America scale in order to create the primary or backup or additional data center for customer in the EU, to protect its business and, most importantly, reduce costs up to 40% within 3-5 years. DEAC is an IT outsourcing services and solutions company whose highly experienced and qualified employees offer various groups of services and...
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, will discuss how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money! Speaker Bio: ...
Samsung VP Jacopo Lenzi, who headed the company's recent SmartThings acquisition under the auspices of Samsung's Open Innovaction Center (OIC), answered a few questions we had about the deal. This interview was in conjunction with our interview with SmartThings CEO Alex Hawkinson. IoT Journal: SmartThings was developed in an open, standards-agnostic platform, and will now be part of Samsung's Open Innovation Center. Can you elaborate on your commitment to keep the platform open? Jacopo Lenzi: S...
The major cloud platforms defy a simple, side-by-side analysis. Each of the major IaaS public-cloud platforms offers their own unique strengths and functionality. Options for on-site private cloud are diverse as well, and must be designed and deployed while taking existing legacy architecture and infrastructure into account. Then the reality is that most enterprises are embarking on a hybrid cloud strategy and programs. In this Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo, moderated by Ashar Baig, Research ...
Things are being built upon cloud foundations to transform organizations. This CEO Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo, moderated by Roger Strukhoff, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo conference chair, will address the big issues involving these technologies and, more important, the results they will achieve. How important are public, private, and hybrid cloud to the enterprise? How does one define Big Data? And how is the IoT tying all this together?