|By Steve Weisfeldt||
|January 21, 2013 08:00 AM EST||
Developing with Performance Testing in Mind
A tester friend of mine recently came to me with a complaint that I think is fairly common in the testing community. He said, "Every time there is a new release of the software for us to test, we have to rework our testing scripts." I've heard this complaint throughout my career, not only in performance testing but in functional testing with automation tools as well.
This state of affairs arises from three fairly straightforward observations:
- Change is inevitable. Everything changes, and in no industry is this more apparent than software development. It makes no sense for testers to ask developers to stop changing the code, but it does make sense to encourage wise changes.
- Developers and testers don't always communicate well. The proverbial wall between developers and testers is still quite formidable. When developers throw a new version over the wall to be tested, too often they've given little thought to how it will be tested.
- All testing tools are not created equal. Some make it easier to identify and handle changes than others. If your testing tool is designed to handle change well, then your entire team is better positioned to embrace change rather than fear it.
Thinking Like a Tester
Most development organizations make a real effort to improve communication between developers and testers, but it's not always enough. Beyond encouraging developers to talk with testers, I ask them to take it a step further and think like testers.
I find that it's a good idea for developers to sit through some of the training that the test engineers complete. In my experience, the developers who do are more careful and avoid making arbitrary changes with little or no justification. They don't, for example, change the name of a field in a form simply because they don't agree with the name the initial developer gave it. When developers are aware of the kinds of changes that make a tester's job harder and what kinds of changes make it easier, then from an organizational standpoint the entire process is more productive.
An Analogy from the Early Days of Functional Testing
Some of the earliest automated functional testing tools for GUIs would simply record the location of the mouse pointer on the screen during tests, and then play back those mouse clicks to execute the test script. If a developer moved the location of a button on the screen, the script would break. Other tools would record the label on the button, so the button could be moved around the UI without breaking the script but changing the button text from "Submit" to "OK" would break the script. More advanced tools used the button's ID to identify it in the script so that the developer could change both the position and the label of the button without making the tester's job more difficult.
One key lesson here is that the choice of testing tool makes a big difference in the productivity of the testing team when the software under test changes, even in relatively trivial ways.
The other key lesson is that developer awareness of testing tools and procedures goes a long way in facilitating a smooth testing operation. I saw this firsthand during a training session I gave years back. While describing how button label changes affected testing, a developer who happened to be sitting in on the training sat upright when he finally understood why his colleagues in testing were so frustrated by many of his changes. He never knew why they objected so much to his changing a button label from "Clear" to "Reset". Going forward, that knowledge didn't stop the developer from making necessary changes. It did, however, make him pause when he made such changes to consider whether they were really necessary.
Performance Testing Tools That Make It Easy to Handle Change
In performance testing, we are not concerned with the location of buttons, but we're not immune to seemingly trivial changes.
For example, when a web form is submitted to the server, the form fields will be a series of name-value pairs. Changing the name of a form field, adding a field, or deleting a field can cause problems during performance testing. With a less capable testing tool, these problems can be hard to identify and diagnose, especially if there is poor communication between developers and testers.
File difference viewers (diff viewers) that enable the tester to compare multiple recordings against each other are particularly helpful in pinpointing the changed fields. When it's time to modify the script, an effective tool will enable you to add, delete, and update fields without programming. Just right-click and choose add, or simply drag-and-drop to update your load testing script.
Form fields are relatively easy to handle for load testers. Parameters that are session specific are more difficult. (These parameters change from session to session but stay the same for the duration of each user session). By default, the hard-coded session values are captured by a load testing tool in each script, and a test engineer needs to parameterize them to make the script usable for load testing. Double-clicking on a hard-coded value to make it a variable is easier than diving into the script code. Here again, tools that help automate the process can reduce test creation time from many hours to a few minutes.
When a new script is needed or maintenance is required on an existing script, tools that are easier to use can make the task orders of magnitude faster.
Overcoming the Fear of Change
I know of development teams that gradually became more and more afraid to change their software because of the difficulties that the changes introduced in testing and elsewhere in the process. Needless to say, this had a negative effect on their ability to deliver new features and fixes. A root of the problem, it turned out, was the testing tool that they were using, which made changes arduous and error-prone. Once they switched to a modern tool, the required script changes were easier to make. Performance testing times shrank from a week to less than a day and development was once again free to make long-needed changes. Agile development shops in particular depend on this ability to rapidly implement changes in testing scripts, and get the tests going in minutes or hours instead of days and weeks.
If your organization is starting to fear change, encourage your developers to think like testers and encourage your testers to use tools that make inevitable change easier to handle.
Just over a week ago I received a long and loud sustained applause for a presentation I delivered at this year’s Cloud Expo in Santa Clara. I was extremely pleased with the turnout and had some very good conversations with many of the attendees. Over the next few days I had many more meaningful conversations and was not only happy with the results but also learned a few new things. Here is everything I learned in those three days distilled into three short points.
Nov. 26, 2015 10:00 AM EST Reads: 273
DevOps is about increasing efficiency, but nothing is more inefficient than building the same application twice. However, this is a routine occurrence with enterprise applications that need both a rich desktop web interface and strong mobile support. With recent technological advances from Isomorphic Software and others, rich desktop and tuned mobile experiences can now be created with a single codebase – without compromising functionality, performance or usability. In his session at DevOps Su...
Nov. 26, 2015 09:45 AM EST Reads: 354
As organizations realize the scope of the Internet of Things, gaining key insights from Big Data, through the use of advanced analytics, becomes crucial. However, IoT also creates the need for petabyte scale storage of data from millions of devices. A new type of Storage is required which seamlessly integrates robust data analytics with massive scale. These storage systems will act as “smart systems” provide in-place analytics that speed discovery and enable businesses to quickly derive meaningf...
Nov. 26, 2015 09:30 AM EST Reads: 366
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
Nov. 26, 2015 09:00 AM EST Reads: 471
In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Adobe Campaign, explored the key ingredients of cross-channel marketing in a digital world. Learn how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects).
Nov. 26, 2015 08:45 AM EST Reads: 260
The buzz continues for cloud, data analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) and their collective impact across all industries. But a new conversation is emerging - how do companies use industry disruption and technology enablers to lead in markets undergoing change, uncertainty and ambiguity? Organizations of all sizes need to evolve and transform, often under massive pressure, as industry lines blur and merge and traditional business models are assaulted and turned upside down. In this new da...
Nov. 26, 2015 08:30 AM EST Reads: 186
The Internet of Everything is re-shaping technology trends–moving away from “request/response” architecture to an “always-on” Streaming Web where data is in constant motion and secure, reliable communication is an absolute necessity. As more and more THINGS go online, the challenges that developers will need to address will only increase exponentially. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Todd Greene, Founder & CEO of PubNub, exploreed the current state of IoT connectivity and review key trends and t...
Nov. 26, 2015 06:45 AM EST Reads: 392
Culture is the most important ingredient of DevOps. The challenge for most organizations is defining and communicating a vision of beneficial DevOps culture for their organizations, and then facilitating the changes needed to achieve that. Often this comes down to an ability to provide true leadership. As a CIO, are your direct reports IT managers or are they IT leaders? The hard truth is that many IT managers have risen through the ranks based on their technical skills, not their leadership ab...
Nov. 26, 2015 06:00 AM EST Reads: 350
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
Nov. 26, 2015 03:00 AM EST Reads: 305
With all the incredible momentum behind the Internet of Things (IoT) industry, it is easy to forget that not a single CEO wakes up and wonders if “my IoT is broken.” What they wonder is if they are making the right decisions to do all they can to increase revenue, decrease costs, and improve customer experience – effectively the same challenges they have always had in growing their business. The exciting thing about the IoT industry is now these decisions can be better, faster, and smarter. Now ...
Nov. 26, 2015 02:00 AM EST Reads: 190
The Internet of Things is clearly many things: data collection and analytics, wearables, Smart Grids and Smart Cities, the Industrial Internet, and more. Cool platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel's Galileo and Edison, and a diverse world of sensors are making the IoT a great toy box for developers in all these areas. In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists discussed what things are the most important, which will have the most profound...
Nov. 26, 2015 01:30 AM EST Reads: 434
In today's enterprise, digital transformation represents organizational change even more so than technology change, as customer preferences and behavior drive end-to-end transformation across lines of business as well as IT. To capitalize on the ubiquitous disruption driving this transformation, companies must be able to innovate at an increasingly rapid pace. Traditional approaches for driving innovation are now woefully inadequate for keeping up with the breadth of disruption and change facin...
Nov. 26, 2015 01:00 AM EST Reads: 435
In his General Session at DevOps Summit, Asaf Yigal, Co-Founder & VP of Product at Logz.io, explored the value of Kibana 4 for log analysis and provided a hands-on tutorial on how to set up Kibana 4 and get the most out of Apache log files. He examined three use cases: IT operations, business intelligence, and security and compliance. Asaf Yigal is co-founder and VP of Product at log analytics software company Logz.io. In the past, he was co-founder of social-trading platform Currensee, which...
Nov. 26, 2015 12:00 AM EST Reads: 156
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Day 2 Keynote at 17th Cloud Expo, San...
Nov. 26, 2015 12:00 AM EST Reads: 526
Discussions of cloud computing have evolved in recent years from a focus on specific types of cloud, to a world of hybrid cloud, and to a world dominated by the APIs that make today's multi-cloud environments and hybrid clouds possible. In this Power Panel at 17th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the importance of customers being able to use the specific technologies they need, through environments and ecosystems that expose their APIs to make true ...
Nov. 26, 2015 12:00 AM EST Reads: 486
Microservices are a very exciting architectural approach that many organizations are looking to as a way to accelerate innovation. Microservices promise to allow teams to move away from monolithic "ball of mud" systems, but the reality is that, in the vast majority of organizations, different projects and technologies will continue to be developed at different speeds. How to handle the dependencies between these disparate systems with different iteration cycles? Consider the "canoncial problem"...
Nov. 25, 2015 10:00 PM EST Reads: 395
I recently attended and was a speaker at the 4th International Internet of @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center. I also had the opportunity to attend this event last year and I wrote a blog from that show talking about how the “Enterprise Impact of IoT” was a key theme of last year’s show. I was curious to see if the same theme would still resonate 365 days later and what, if any, changes I would see in the content presented.
Nov. 25, 2015 09:00 PM EST Reads: 369
Apps and devices shouldn't stop working when there's limited or no network connectivity. Learn how to bring data stored in a cloud database to the edge of the network (and back again) whenever an Internet connection is available. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Ben Perlmutter, a Sales Engineer with IBM Cloudant, demonstrated techniques for replicating cloud databases with devices in order to build offline-first mobile or Internet of Things (IoT) apps that can provide a better, faster user e...
Nov. 25, 2015 08:30 PM EST Reads: 368
In recent years, at least 40% of companies using cloud applications have experienced data loss. One of the best prevention against cloud data loss is backing up your cloud data. In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Sam McIntyre, Partner Enablement Specialist at eFolder, presented how organizations can use eFolder Cloudfinder to automate backups of cloud application data. He also demonstrated how easy it is to search and restore cloud application data using Cloudfinder.
Nov. 25, 2015 03:45 PM EST Reads: 102
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York and Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty ...
Nov. 25, 2015 02:45 PM EST Reads: 501