WAPT load testing:
Bring your Web site
to its knees Edmond Woychowsky, CNET Networks, Inc
Besides being one of the least glamorous jobs in software
development, load testing is frequently skipped because
of the amount of time involved and the cost of the tools
and hardware. Softlogica’s Web Application Testing (WAPT)
hopes to change all that by providing an affordable way
to track down inefficiencies in your code when it's under
stress. First impressions I was amazed by the small
size of the download
- under 1.5 MB, which goes pretty quickly, even at dial-up
speeds. Installation and product activation are a breeze.
Once WAPT was installed, my first impression was that
it has a clean and well-designed user interface (Figure
A). The hints displayed upon startup are a minor annoyance,
but these can easily be disabled. The user interface is
intuitive, so you should be able to hit the ground running.
Not your father's testing tool When using WAPT,
I had a flashback to my first experience with a load testing
tool, which consisted of homegrown, bug-prone scripts
that simulated users. Although that approach worked, writing
scripts required a lot of time for both writing and debugging.
More recently, the ability to record and play back a series
of actions was added to the ability to modify these “prerecorded”
scripts. Thankfully, WAPT records actions by providing
a browser window, as shown in Figure B. Any action
made in the browser window can be played back to simulate
one user or one hundred users. As a matter of fact, WAPT
takes user simulation to a higher level by letting you
adjust the delay between user requests to mimic real-world
behavior, like pausing to think or take a sip of coffee.
You record actions via the browser
Recorded scripts make it easier Once the test scenario
is complete, WAPT lets you save the test script so that
you can run it for various options and even better test
performance. Access essential log files WAPT also
maintains a complete log of both server and virtual user
activities for each test. This is where to go to pinpoint
problems when things have taken a turn for the worse.
But it isn’t the only place to look for information
on how an application performs. WAPT produces detailed
graphs (Figure C) on average request processing
time, overall performance, percent of errors, average
output speed, average input speed, minimum request processing
time, average request processing time, and maximum request
Results reporting tool
No need to blow the bank Load testing doesn't have
to be restricted to the realm of large corporate development
efforts because of cost and people power resources. WAPT
is available for $350 per license, and you can check out
volume pricing here.
WAPT is available only for Microsoft Windows NT/2000/XP
or 9x, so Linux users are out of luck. Overall, WAPT is
a an affordable, easy-to-use tool that can help you poke
holes in your code. To check it out for yourself, download
a free 30-day trial version.