Welcome!

AJAX & REA Authors: David H Deans, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, ChandraShekar Dattatreya, Adrian Bridgwater

Related Topics: Java, Adobe Flex, AJAX & REA, Web 2.0, Open Web, Apache

Java: Article

RIA Load Testing for Dummies

RIAs represent the next step toward a more interactive, efficient, and easy-to-use web

We all know that since the early ‘90s, Internet usage has exploded. Buying online, booking a trip or communicating with friends and relatives are just a few examples of what all of us are doing every day. The continuous development of broadband connectivity has also made easy the growth of those services and, as more bandwidth becomes available, quality will continued to improve as well. Considering this evolution and looking at the details of its capabilities, it appears Rich Internet Applications are one of the most important elements to improve the user experience in the modern Internet era.

From HTML to RIA
First let's explore how we got to where we are today by looking at the major steps in the development of the Internet.

Back in the ‘90s, HTML came out and was quickly established as the main markup language for web pages. HTML allows images and objects to be embedded and can be used to create interactive forms. You can create structured documents through a defined semantic model, but essentially HTML was designed to deliver static content. This was the birth of the web as we know it today.

For about 10 years HTML ruled the Internet world. 2002 saw the release of the first .NET Framework version. This platform allowed the creation of professional apps for business, linking back-end information and user rendering. It also appeared to be more efficient than HTML for business processes and the industry progressively adopted this way of thinking. In the meantime, JavaScript, ActiveX and applets arrived on the web market. They allowed the addition of even more functionality on the client side. That said, it was more a revolution of the style instead of the content. In fact JavaScript keeps the same approach as HTML as it's still a sequential model, meaning the server provides information only if the client asks for it. But this approach is no longer sufficient. Applications have continued to grow in terms of complexity as users are enabled to create more and more interactions.

In 2004 "Web 2.0" was used for the first time by Tim O'Reilly. This term describes an evolution of the web toward greater simplicity and interactivity and technically speaking, it brings on the front of Rich Internet Applications (RIAs).

RIAs today are the latest evolution of the web. Following HTML and .NET, RIAs now enable more dynamic and interactive applications, more intuitive UIs, and data availability at any time through real time communication.

RIA: Technologies and Advantages
One of the most significant impacts of RIAs is that now a lot of the actions are computed on the client side. JavaScript language, in particular, has been specifically created for such a purpose. As a result, RIAs enable many new capabilities and features for users, which would have been impossible with HTML alone. Today most of the RIA UIs embed drag-and-drop, dedicated tool bars, calculations, and more.

Although there are now a number of RIA technologies available, JavaScript appears to be the first language able to execute code on the client side. AJAX (a combination of JavaScript and XML) is a popular derivation of the original JavaScript. Several frameworks also exist, among the most well-known: Dojo, jQuery, Scriptaculous... Adobe also created its own solution based on Flash: Flex. Microsoft created Silverlight and Google assembled GWT (Google Web Toolkit).

The advantages of RIAs are numerous and include:

  • RIA Frameworks enable faster releases.
  • No installation on the client side is necessary.
  • Users can use the application from anywhere and from any computer, as long as it has Internet and a web browser.
  • It's easier to maintain for administrators. Changes are done once and everybody can connect back to the application.

Real-Time Information: Push
Earlier we talked about the greater complexity of the users interactions. RIAs and push seem to be able to help here. Push is a way to communicate between client and server, the dialog being initiated by the server and not the client. It's the opposite of what we are used to seeing in earlier web applications in which the user first sends a request to obtain a response from the server. This new way of exchanging information gives Web Apps a new dimension. Without any specific action, users can follow their usual flow and simultaneously get alerts about events they defined themselves. This communication mode is widely used in banking and trading apps where responsiveness is not merely important, but critical.

Adoption by the Industry
A survey by Service-now.com in 2010 about web CRM adoption showed that 81% said that they were currently using a web CRM instead of a desktop app, and an additional 12% were considering replacing desktop CRM with a web app. This survey pinpointed the fact that RIAs were not only a part of our web environment, but tended to be viewed as the standard in the industry.

In becoming an industry standard, web application technologies must also be subject to improvements in optimization and reliability. Like standard websites, RIAs must ensure sufficient performances to satisfy users. Web load testing has been in existence for about 20 years and brings valuable information and benefits to testers. Primarily it helps by improving the quality of websites. But what about load testing RIAs? Is it the same activity and do the tools remain the same?

Load-Testing RIAs: The Tools
To answer this last question - yes tools are pretty much still the same in terms of the information they can provide. But tool vendors must keep up with the latest technologies in order to meet the needs of RIAs. We said that an RIA is much more interactive than any website. Technically speaking, this means a large flow of requests and responses are generated, much more than for a typical website. Technologies like Push and Streaming can create hundreds of requests, whereas the user might have only executed three clicks. New complex behaviors are the consequence of the RIAs and therefore load testing tools must follow this trend by being more responsive to the needs of emerging technologies.

If tool vendors really want to answer RIA needs, their tools have to integrate automatic recognition of RIA frameworks. They must enable testers to rapidly create business case transactions. The new tool must be intuitive, RIA ready but without ignoring the existence of conventional HTTP websites.

Conclusion
RIAs represent the next step toward a more interactive, efficient, and easy-to-use web. They are becoming a standard for the industry and therefore must be optimized to ensure good performance for the users. Load testing is essential to effectively optimize the performance of these new technologies. Because of the change in how RIAs handle client / server interactions, special consideration must be given to testing methodology and tooling. The RIA trend is now fully upon us. Are you ready?

More Stories By Olivier Hanoun

Olivier Hanoun is a Senior Performance Engineer at Neotys, a provider of load testing software for Web applications. Previously, he worked as a Technical Marketing Manager in a semi-conductor Taiwanese company. Prior to that he was an engineer in STMicroelectronics. Being in Neotys from the early development of the company, 5 years ago, Olivier has been involved in load and performance testing projects as well as delivering professional services and trainings. He is also involved in pre-sales and marketing activities. He graduated from the “Ecole Centrale de Marseille” with an MS in Computer and Sciences, and from the French Air Force Academy with an MS in Mechanic and Aeronautic.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@CloudExpo Stories
15th Cloud Expo, which took place Nov. 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, expanded the conference content of @ThingsExpo, Big Data Expo, and DevOps Summit to include two developer events. IBM held a Bluemix Developer Playground on November 5 and ElasticBox held a Hackathon on November 6. Both events took place on the expo floor. The Bluemix Developer Playground, for developers of all levels, highlighted the ease of use of Bluemix, its services and functionalit...
SYS-CON Media announced today that Skytap blog on "DevOps Journal" exceeded 84,000 story reads. DevOps Journal is focused on this critical enterprise IT topic in the world of cloud computing. DevOps Journal brings valuable information to DevOps professionals who are transforming the way enterprise IT is done. Noel Wurst is the managing content editor at Skytap. Skytap provides SaaS-based dev/test environments to the enterprise. Skytap solution removes the inefficiencies and constraints that comp...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built to optimize Microsoft workloads, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Gridstore™ is the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built for Microsoft workloads and designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Gridstore’s hyper-converged infrastructure is the ...
In her General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Anne Plese, Senior Consultant, Cloud Product Marketing, at Verizon Enterprise, focused on finding the right mix of renting vs. buying Oracle capacity to scale to meet business demands, and offer validated Oracle database TCO models for Oracle development and testing environments. Anne Plese is a marketing and technology enthusiast/realist with over 19+ years in high tech. At Verizon Enterprise, she focuses on driving growth for the Verizon Cloud platfo...
The 3rd International @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors - connected to th...
The Internet of Things promises to transform businesses (and lives), but navigating the business and technical path to success can be difficult to understand. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sean Lorenz, Technical Product Manager for Xively at LogMeIn, demonstrated how to approach creating broadly successful connected customer solutions using real world business transformation studies including New England BioLabs and more.
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 @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, discussed 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!
How do APIs and IoT relate? The answer is not as simple as merely adding an API on top of a dumb device, but rather about understanding the architectural patterns for implementing an IoT fabric. There are typically two or three trends: Exposing the device to a management framework Exposing that management framework to a business centric logic Exposing that business layer and data to end users. This last trend is the IoT stack, which involves a new shift in the separation of what stuff happe...
The definition of IoT is not new, in fact it’s been around for over a decade. What has changed is the public's awareness that the technology we use on a daily basis has caught up on the vision of an always on, always connected world. If you look into the details of what comprises the IoT, you’ll see that it includes everything from cloud computing, Big Data analytics, “Things,” Web communication, applications, network, storage, etc. It is essentially including everything connected online from ha...
The Internet of Things is tied together with a thin strand that is known as time. Coincidentally, at the core of nearly all data analytics is a timestamp. When working with time series data there are a few core principles that everyone should consider, especially across datasets where time is the common boundary. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Scott, Director of Enterprise Strategy & Architecture at MapR Technologies, discussed single-value, geo-spatial, and log time series dat...
"ElasticBox is an enterprise company that makes it very easy for developers and IT ops to collaborate to develop, build and deploy applications on any cloud - private, public or hybrid," stated Monish Sharma, VP of Customer Success at ElasticBox, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
An entirely new security model is needed for the Internet of Things, or is it? Can we save some old and tested controls for this new and different environment? In his session at @ThingsExpo, New York's at the Javits Center, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, reviewed hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal a new risk balance you might not expect. Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, has more than nineteen years' experience managing global security operations and asse...
SYS-CON Events announced today Isomorphic Software, the global leader in high-end, web-based business applications, will exhibit at SYS-CON's DevOps Summit 2015 New York, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Isomorphic Software is the global leader in high-end, web-based business applications. We develop, market, and support the SmartClient & Smart GWT HTML5/Ajax platform, combining the productivity and performance of traditional desktop software ...
DevOps Summit 2015 New York, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. 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 to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete...
The 4th International DevOps Summit, co-located with16th International Cloud Expo – being held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY – announces that its Call for Papers is now open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's large...
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using ...
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
"SAP had made a big transition into the cloud as we believe it has significant value for our customers, drives innovation and is easy to consume. When you look at the SAP portfolio, SAP HANA is the underlying platform and it powers all of our platforms and all of our analytics," explained Thorsten Leiduck, VP ISVs & Digital Commerce at SAP, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SAP is delivering break-through innovation combined with fantastic user experience powered by the market-leading in-memory technology, SAP HANA. In his General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Thorsten Leiduck, VP ISVs & Digital Commerce, SAP, discussed how SAP and partners provide cloud and hybrid cloud solutions as well as real-time Big Data offerings that help companies of all sizes and industries run better. SAP launched an application challenge to award the most innovative SAP HANA and SAP HANA...
The Internet of Things will put IT to its ultimate test by creating infinite new opportunities to digitize products and services, generate and analyze new data to improve customer satisfaction, and discover new ways to gain a competitive advantage across nearly every industry. In order to help corporate business units to capitalize on the rapidly evolving IoT opportunities, IT must stand up to a new set of challenges. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Kaplan, Managing Director of THINKstrateg...