If you’ve ever wondered what can possibly go wrong’ after creating a foolproof app, think again. Democrats’ Iowa Caucus voting app is a case in point. The Iowa caucus post-mortem pointed towards a flawed software development process and insufficient testing.
The enterprise software market revenue is expected to grow with a CAGR of 9.1% leading to a market volume of US$ 326,285.5 m by 2025. It is important that enterprises aggressively work towards getting their application performance testing efforts on track to ensure that all the individual components that go into the making of the app provide superior responses to ensure a better customer experience.
Banking app outages have also been pretty rampant in recent times putting the spotlight on the importance of application performance testing. Customers of Barclays, Santander, and HSBC suffered immensely when their mobile apps suddenly went down. It’s not as if banks worldwide are not digitally equipped. They dedicate at least 2-3 percent of their revenue to information technology along with additional expenses on building a superior IT infrastructure. What they also need is early and continuous performance testing to address and minimize the occurrence of such issues.
It is important that the application performs well not just when it goes live but later too. We give you a quick lowdown on application performance testing to help you gear up to meet modern-day challenges.
Application performance testing objectives
In general, users today, have little or no tolerance for bugs or poor response times. A faulty code can also lead to serious bottlenecks that can eventually lead to slowdown or downtime. Meanwhile, bottlenecks can arise from CPU utilization, disk usage, operating system limitations, or hardware issues.
Enterprises, therefore, need to conduct performance testing regularly to:
- Ensure the app performs as expected
- Identify and eliminate bottlenecks through continuous monitoring
- Identify & eliminate limitations imposed by certain components
- Identify and act on the causes of poor performance
- Minimize implementation risks
Application performance testing parameters
Performance testing is based on various parameters that include load, stress, spike, endurance, volume, and scalability. Resilient apps can withstand increasing workloads, high volumes of data, and sudden or repetitive spikes in users and/or transactions.
As such, performance testing ensures that the app is designed keeping peak operations in mind, and all components comprising the app function as a cohesive unit to meet consumer requirements.
No matter how complex the app is, performance testing teams are often required to take the following steps:
- Setting the performance criteria – Performance benchmarks need to be set and criteria should be identified in order to decide the course of the testing.
- Adopting a user-centric approach – Every user is different and it is always a good idea to simulate a variety of end-users to imagine diverse scenarios and test for use cases accordingly. You would therefore need to factor in expected usage patterns, the peak times, length of an average session within the application, how many times do users use the application in a day, what is the most commonly used screen for the app, etc.
- Evaluating the testing environment – It is important to understand the production environment, the tools available for testing, and the hardware, software, and configurations to be used before beginning the testing process. This helps us understand the challenges and plan accordingly.
- Monitoring for the best user experience – Constant monitoring is an important step in application performance testing. It will give you answers to what, when, and why’ helping you fine-tune the performance of the application. How long does it take for the app to load, how does the latest deployment compare to previous ones, how well does the app perform while backend performances occur, etc. are things you need to assess. It is important that you leverage your performance scripts well with proper correlations, and monitor performance baselines for your database to ensure it can manage fresh data loads without diluting the user experience.
- Re-engineering and re-testing – The tests can be rerun as required to review and analyze results, and fine-tune again if necessary.
Early Performance Testing
Test early. Why wait for users to complain when you can proactively run tests early in the development lifecycle to check for application readiness and performance? In the current (micro) service-oriented architecture approach, as soon as the component or an interface is built, performance testing at a smaller scale can allow us to uncover issues w.r.t concurrency, response time/latency, SLA, etc. This will allow us to identify bottlenecks early and gain confidence in the product as it is being built.
Performance testing best practices
For the app to perform optimally, you must adopt testing practices that can alleviate performance issues across all stages of the app cycle.
Our top recommendations are as follows:
- Build a comprehensive performance model – Understand your system’s capacity to be ready for concurrent users, simultaneous requests, response times, system scalability, and user satisfaction. The app load time, for instance, is a critical metric irrespective of the industry you belong to. Mobile app load times can hugely impact consumer choices as highlighted in a study by Akamai which suggested conversion rates reduce by half and bounce rate increases by 6% if a mobile site load time goes up from 1 second to 3. It is therefore important that you factor in the changing needs of customers to build trust, loyalty, and offer a smooth user experience.
- Update your test suite – The pace of technology is such that new development tools will debut all the time. It is therefore important for application performance testing teams to ensure they sharpen their skills often and are equipped with the latest testing tools and methodologies.
An application may boast of incredible functionality, but without the right application architecture, it won’t impress much. Some of the best brands have suffered heavily due to poor application performance. While Google lost about $2.3 million due to the massive outage that occurred in December 2020, AWS suffered a major outage after Amazon added a small amount of capacity to its Kinesis servers.
So, the next time you decide to put your application performance testing efforts on the back burner, you might as well ask yourself ‘what would be the cost of failure’?
Tide over application performance challenges with Trigent
With decades of experience and a bunch of the finest testing tools, our teams are equipped to help you across the gamut of application performance right from testing to engineering. We test apps for reliability, scalability, and performance while monitoring them continuously with real-time data and analytics.