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Performance Testing in application Design

There are many articles on the huge benefits of performance testing integrated into the development process and the concept of shift-left performance testing.

We have also discussed the concepts of Load Test Driven Development which involves the creation of performance testing in parallel with the code development and sits alongside Test Driven Development.

We are going to consider in this post how involving performance testing resources in the application design process can be a benefit.

Load Test Driven Development

We are going to explore whether Load Test Driven Development is an idea that would be worth pursuing for your organisation.

We will recap on what Test-Driven Development (TDD) is in the next section but fundamentally

Test-Driven Development is a philosophy and practice that involves building and executing tests before implementing the code or a component of a system

Now when you think about this, does it make sense to try and run a performance test before we have developed any code?

We think it does and we are going to explain why. For clarity we are not suggesting that Load test Driven Development should replace TDD but rather to compliment it.

Risk Assessment In Performance Testing

Performance Testing coverage needs to be defined from the application under tests functional requirements and this does not change regardless of whether you are following an Agile or a more Planned approach.

The Risk Assessment process defines what performance testing needs to be executed and the order in which this should be approached, the reason we use the functional test requirements for definition of coverage as these functional requirements define what the system does whereas the non-functional requirements are what you use to measure your tests against when you execute them.

As discussed the Risk Assessment is a way of identifying where your performance testing effort should be focussed and prioritising the order in which your performance tests are written and therefore executed so you ensure that you are focussing on the riskiest, from a performance perspective, aspects of the system first; we will expand on what we mean by riskiest later in this post.

A Risks Assessment should be done as early in the project or sprint, if you are working in an Agile methodology, as is possible to maximise its benefits.

The first thing we will discuss is the differences between Agile and Non-Agile Risk Assessment as this is an important concept but only as far as what is assessed and when, the principles of how and why we carry out a risk assessment will become clear as you read this post and remain the same regardless of your approach to development.

The basics of Simple Performance Testing

You don’t have to performance test if you are not bothered about the performance of your application; this is the only reason, if you are bothered and you want to make sure your customers get the best possible experience then it is wise to do some.

You have probably experienced poor application performance if you do any form of online shopping, many web sites are unable to handle the volumes of load and concurrency they see on their eCommerce platforms at peak times sure as Black Friday or Christmas.

Some even have to introduce a queuing system to throttle the load on their systems which leads to customer complaints and a poor reputation.

In this Blog Post we are going to look at some of the things you can do, that are not overly complicated, to reduce the risk of poor performance on your applications; basically, the simplest approach to performance testing we can think of.

Clearly, we would always recommend you invest a fair proportion of your QA effort to performance testing but if that is not something you wish to do then these simple things could be the difference between an application that can cope with high seasonal demands and one that does not.

This is therefore our guide to a simple performance test.

Performance Regression Testing

Regression Testing, as all Quality Assurance professionals know, is ensuring that previously developed and tested software continues to operate after a change.

Performance Regression being a subset of regression testing as a discipline is therefore ensuring that previously developed and tested continues to meet its performance criteria after a change.

There are subtle differences in the way that performance regression testing is approached when compared with functional regression testing, and we will look to explore these in this Blog Post.

A suitable performance regression strategy can provide huge benefits to your organisation, and we will look that these benefits as well as how to accomplish them.

Once you have a performance regression test suite it is important that it constantly evolves and is not left to become outdated and eventually obsolete, it must be maintained as we will discuss this also, but the benefits of a well-maintained regression pack will exceed the effort required to maintain them.