When it comes to testing an application, many project managers and test leads do not fit performance and load testing early on in the development lifecycle. Often, performance and load testing are conducted once the application has been completed and after all functional testing is done. In fact, it’s frequently a last step – almost an afterthought – before the app is ready to go into production.
One of the key tenets of continuous integration is to reduce the time between a change being made and the discovery of defects within that change. When load and performance testing are pushed off until the end of a development cycle, however, there is often little to no time for developers to address identified defects. This can result in the push back of release dates and delay getting features out the door that customers need.
Listen closely to the background hum of any agile shop, and you’ll likely hear this ongoing chant: Automate! Automate! Automate! While automation can be incredibly valuable to the agile process, there are some key things to keep in mind when it comes to automated performance testing.
Automated performance testing is important for many different reasons. It allows you to refactor or introduce change and test for acceptance with virtually no manual effort. You can also stay on the lookout for regression defects and test for things that just wouldn’t come up manually. Ultimately, automated testing should save time and resources, so you can release code that is bug-free and ready for real-world use.
While basic application functionality is of the upmost importance, end users have come to expect more out of non-functional areas that include application performance, usability, accessibility and UI. Studies have shown that users won’t hesitate to abandon apps at the first sign of performance issues, so implementing effective application performance testing is absolutely critical.
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