Stress test your Web applications

Developers working on Web applications face the same challenges other developers do in ensuring app functionality and usability. But the nature of the Web means that the number of users on a given Web site may vary by several orders of magnitude, which should make load testing a priority.

RadView Software's TestView gives Web app developers the tools they need to quickly and easily vet a Web site, Web services provider, or database with regression testing, back-end database checks, application-level tests, and load testing. The suite comprises WebLoad 7.0, the load-generation application; WebFT 4.0, the functional testing application; WebRM 7.0, the reporting tool; and the test manager application, which provides an integrated interface into WebLoad and WebFT.

The suite is available for Windows, Linux, and Solaris. Installation on Windows proved simple, with no surprises.

Compelling Scripts

After installing the suite, it's easy to create test agenda with WebFT by recording browser sessions, which the app transforms into editable scripts. You may view the recorded session with WebLoad or replay it after modifying parameters such as the originating IP address and browser type. Beginners can add the IP addresses and other specialized data via the GUI; experienced users can go directly to a session script. You may then view a full report, statistics, and debugging details for each run.

Scripts can be simple, run by thousands of simulated clients to generate load, or they can be complex ones that verify all the objects and fields in all the data-entry forms in an e-commerce site. Not only can programmers do extremely complex things with WebFT; the recorder function allows even inexperienced admins to create scripts that will stress a Web site as desired.

WebFT includes built-in verification tools that are compatible with most Web servers, application servers, and database servers on the market. These tools allow the administrator to traverse the entire Web site, making sure that all links work correctly, that calls to back-end applications function as they're supposed to, and that data-entry fields are working correctly.

Helpful Clients

In addition to running simple or complex scripts created in WebFT, WebLoad allows for a very wide variety of simulated clients, which can perform tasks such as creating dynamic session IDs for SSL transactions. Clients can have different connection speeds, browser types, and more; and they can come from a given range of IP addresses or from random addresses, all to better simulate real traffic loads. Additional load-generation machines can be created to add more traffic than a single system can generate.

After tests are run, the WebRM reporting tools clearly show traffic patterns, peak loads, failures, and connection rates. The reporting tool allows you to quickly and easily drill down to find specific causes of failures.

WebLoad can also be used to monitor Web sites that are already running. The application checks to see that all parts of the site are functional and notifies the administrator by e-mail of any problems. It can also generate DoS and DDoS attacks to test security.

The suite is compatible with all the latest Web-related protocols, including JavaScript, .Net, SOAP, WSDL, XML, and Java.

For a testing tool with such complex capabilities, TestView is both easy to use and accessible, even for the nonprogrammer. It can perform a wide variety of tests, from relatively simple load testing of Web sites or database servers, to complex regression testing of large, complex Web applications. It has a relatively high initial cost that may put off some buyers, but the cost should be quickly recouped in lowered development costs and better performance of Web applications.

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Logan G. Harbaugh

InfoWorld
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