Modernize Your Performance Tests: 6 Tips for Better Applications

The world of application development continues to evolve at breakneck speed when it comes to processes, delivery and methodologies. But it’s not just developers who struggle to keep up with the constant evolution of software: this evolution is require test engineers to modernize their performance testing practices– and to abandon the old methodologies which cannot follow.

Here are tips that will help your team implement modern performance testing practices– and remove obsolete processes that lower your bottom line.

1. Modern performance testing goes beyond load testing

Creating load automation, running load scenarios, and testing a system’s performance by slamming it with load are what organizations typically do when they need to embrace performance testing.

This practice caused Performance Test and Charge test be mistakenly considered to be interchangeable terms. Even performance testing professionals change them often, continuing the bad old tradition of performance testing by only running load automations and load testing.

Today, load testing and load automations are just a few of the things you should do in your performance testing practice. But they should be one of the last steps you take, and in some situations you shouldn’t even be doing them at all.

Performance testing encompasses a myriad of practices and actions that must be taken as a whole. Load testing has its place, but you need to complete other tasks first, which are described below.

2. Think about performance early

The traditional approach to performance testing does not deal with performance assurance, which involves all the possible tasks that you might need to perform to ensure the best performance.

The best processes for good performance require that tasks be completed before you even write the first line of code. Some of these tasks create mechanisms in environments including pipelines, monitoring, and instrumentation.

Old strategies focus on automation and front-end load testing right through to the very last stages of the software development lifecycle, limiting the time available to perform typical load testing. This practice weakens performance assurance, leaving little time for corrections and incurring huge costs when problems are detected. If touch-ups are necessary or if the team has to put faulty software into production, the impact will be significant.

Think about performance early, including not only infrastructure, but also all the performance implications, from collecting requirements to building epics, features, and tasks. Everything you implement around performance should define metrics that must pass before you mark anything as done.

Teams should set metrics like response time on a single thread, concurrent response, number of database connections / reads, maximum bandwidth consumed, etc. With this performance goal, your teams, including your developers, will have in mind the performance label before, during and after software creation.

3. Your developers are your first line of defense

Unlike old ways of thinking about the software lifecycle and QA practices, where developers were disconnected from QA efforts related to the code they were creating, your developers need to be fully involved in QA. and performance assurance from the start.

The old mindset made it difficult to identify faults generated in the code and allowed those faults to reach and sometimes pass quality assurance, acceptance and performance tests and go into production. And the cost of correcting the flaws that go into production is much higher than if you caught them earlier.

Modern practices suggest implementing rules for what developers provide. One possibility is to implement telemetry, instrumentation, unit tests, and timers in application code and store the performance metrics. These actions help trigger, detect, and measure performance issues, even in the development stage, and make it easy to identify and report any issues, even before you save any code.

4. Measure and observe everything

It is useful to have application performance metrics at every point in the software development process. As soon as developers write code, the team needs to have performance metrics, which should continue through production.

Having these metrics is a radical departure from old practice, where there was often no way to measure the performance of an application and its components. Usually, no mechanism was in place until the software reached a test environment or even the production stage. In some cases, there were not even measurements in production.

Even so, performance metrics in code are not enough. Teams need to supplement them with Application Performance Management (APM) systems. An evolution of old application performance monitoring systems, these systems provide leaner agents and a myriad of new functions to monitor and manage performance thresholds.

Teams must implement APM agents and instrumentation in every environment the application passes through in the software lifecycle. As code moves from development environments to staging, testing, branches, and more, your team will be able to observe and measure performance metrics and any exceptional deviations on an ongoing basis. .

5. Involve your developers when you create test automations

Another outdated practice is to try to automate testing processes at the end, just before you release code to production. This issue affects both performance automation and test automation in general. Traditionally, performance testers and QA teams often had to reverse engineer code, functions, and front-ends to automate testing of that code, which had a huge impact on every task.

There were several occasions when testers were unable to automate processes because software bits were sealed, compiled, or inaccessible. The software would never have been tested on these occasions, or the testers would have had to test manually.

To avoid this, the developers creating the code should consider the nature of the test automations being used and ensure that code can be easily triggered from those automations. They can implement call methods and create test backdoors, test-oriented APIs, and any mechanism for automated testing.

These mechanisms have multiple advantages. On the one hand, it will be easier to create the test automation necessary for general quality assurance and performance measurements, including load. On the other hand, it will help the team to integrate these tests and validations into continuous and automated processes that will receive these results as indicators to let the code go into production.

6. Plan, execute, measure, validate, repeat

In traditional practice, testing professionals viewed performance tests as a single load test to run once before launch, or at most annually if there were any changes. But these days, your solution is expected to change frequently. Performance test results become stale the moment you include new code or after sprint releases, which makes one-time performance testing an unnecessary practice.

If you follow the best practices above, your team will effectively and continuously measure performance at every stage of the software development lifecycle and increase the integration capabilities of every automation and performance threshold into any platform – form.

Your tests will be lightweight and highly automated so your team can schedule them or configure them to be triggered by code records, scheduled tasks, or external events. As automations are triggered, your teams will receive continuous performance metrics, allowing you to implement thresholds that will automatically stop new code or let it reach production.

Finally, your automation will be repeatable even in production, allowing tests to run in any level and environment of the application, as well as alert thresholds. When your team implements all of these thresholds, they will allow notifications and remedial triggers. This way you will avoid having to watch everything all the time and be overloaded with measurements without incident.

Think beyond the load

Following the same old practices for performance testing and insurance can be unproductive or even detrimental to your application, so shift your focus away from automated load testing alone. Think about your performance needs and your risks early. Involve developers in performance improvement tasks.

Measure performance everywhere in your code and in every environment. Make your solution easy to automate. And allow your automations to be triggered all the time and whenever changes happen.

If you do these things, you will be several steps ahead in modernizing your performance assurance efforts.

Want to know more? Immerse yourself in my speech, “Performance: what is it really like these days? Why is this important? »On October 7, 2021, during STARS. In-person and virtual registration options are available. The conference takes place from October 3 to 8, 2021. You can also see me on the PerfBytes podcasting channel, where I host the PerfBytes Español edition, and on my YouTube channel, Señor Performo in English.

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Margie D. Carlisle