Website and web application performance plays a vital role in any business. From user experience to conversion, a high-performing website or application can make a difference between growth and revenue loss. Companies use performance testing and performance engineering to ensure their websites, web applications, and web services, like APIs, are optimized for reliability, performance, and stability, ultimately providing a great experience to users. Performance testing and performance engineering might sound and appear to be the same, but they are not. In this blog, we will look at both concepts in detail and explain how you can utilize them to enhance your website/application performance.
What is Performance Testing?
Performance testing of websites, applications, and APIs is done by simulating a varying number of end users, called load, to check the performance for speed, stability, scalability, accessibility, and responsiveness. The entire goal of performance testing is to detect system bugs and bottlenecks and eliminate them with the help of reports generated from the testing.
Performance testing is crucial to be performed before making your website or application live to determine the user experience with the expected number of users. By doing so, you can avoid unnecessary downtime and provide expected performance to users. The following list includes the fundamental types of performance tests.
Load testing seeks to determine website or application performance under normal and higher-than-normal traffic conditions. The goal of load testing is to understand where performance bottlenecks occur so teams can identify areas where application stability and functionality can be improved before that application is put into production.
Stress testing is like load testing, however, instead of testing at normal or peak traffic levels, the goal of stress testing is to push the application or website to the breaking point to gain a better understanding of how the system responds and recovers.
Scalability testing is used to show how an application performs at minimum and maximum load levels. Once the maximum level is found, teams need to determine whether to make capacity improvements to handle the growing numbers of users or being fine with slower response times once a specific number of users is reached.
Spike testing tests extreme high and low levels of load to see how the system handles varying traffic levels. Like load and stress testing, spike testing can unover potential weaknesses in the system that need to be improved.
Volume testing tests applications with a specific amount of data to see how the database responds. Sometimes this is also known as flood testing. These types of tests are useful for scenarios where there are high levels of transactions being made, such as for financial transactions or airlines that take in large volumes of tickets and registrations, for example.
Endurance testing, also known as soak testing, is used to determine how an application performs under high load levels for an extended period, such as hours or days. Within the normal software testing cycle, endurance testing is typically carried out towards the end of the testing cycle when the final software product is closer to its release date.
Based on the type of performance tests you need to execute, you will need to adjust your load, duration, and test scenarios to get accurate reports. The test load needs to be as realistic as possible for correctly identifying bottlenecks and performance issues.
Who Does Performance Testing?
A performance test engineer is responsible for carrying out performance testing. They make use of various performance testing tools, either on-premises or cloud-based, and take actions on their observations. They might engage developers in fixing some bugs and working on website optimizations based on the performance testing reports.
What is Performance Engineering?
Performance engineering is a discipline of using best practices and applying techniques in all stages of the software development life cycle (SDLC) to ensure that the final product is optimized appropriately. The activities involved in the performance engineering focus on good architecture design, better UI/UX design, better code structure, and understanding business use cases to build the system with industry standards and high performance.
Performance engineering demands involvement in each stage of SDLC to identify stage-specific problems and causes while designing the system. This makes performance testing a culture within the development framework to apply techniques and incorporate industry standards to achieve a stable, scalable, and performance-optimized system.
Who Does Performance Engineering?
A performance engineer is responsible for proactively defining the industry standards and techniques to build the system and then verify the performance within each development stage. The performance engineer suggests better architecture, code profiling, database optimization, analyzing business cases, monitoring, tuning, and performance forecasting.
Performance Testing vs. Performance Engineering
Performance testing and performance engineering are closely related, but there are a few key differences between them. While respective engineers are both making use of performance testing results, the way they think, analyze, and go about their tasks are different. For example, a performance test engineer looks for the response time when your website or application undergoes a certain load and directs the development team to optimize it.
On the other hand, a performance engineer analyzes why and how the response time has a certain value. They then try to find the solution that can be used as a guide by the development team to build a performance-optimized system. Let’s look at a few key differences between both.
- Performance testing involves designing test cases and executing them by performance test engineers to determine website and application performance. Performance engineering requires the active involvement of performance engineers in the SDLC for building a high-performance website or application.
- Performance testing uncovers bugs and bottleneck issues and provides analysis reports to developers for resolution. Performance engineering is taking performance concerns to the next level by helping developers to meet business case requirements and industry standards for speed, scalability, and sustainability.
- Performance testing makes use of lots of tools and is only concerned about if the website can sustain a given amount of load with baseline performance. Performance engineering is a culture and use of best practices to ensure the system is built for high-performance and exceed the performance expectations.
- Performance testing can be performed without the need for coding and programming skills using some cloud-based tools. Performance engineering requires good programming skills to define best practices in each stage of SDLC.
Which One Should You Choose?
While performance testing is essential for your websites and web applications to make sure they do not break under expected load, performance engineering is a relatively new concept that leverages the best practices development environment for performance optimization. Many organizations adopt performance engineering with performance testing to further enhance their website/application and reduce the QA life cycle. Using both together is a good strategy that can deliver a high-performing website or application with fewer issues. And what users would not like that?
Using LoadView for Enhancing Website/Application Performance
LoadView is a cloud-based load testing tool for websites, applications, streaming media, and third-party web services that you can use for measuring different performance metrics such as response time, breaking point, server throughput, browser performance, resource utilization, etc. It uses real browsers and can run tests from multiple locations to simulate the most realistic load and generate insightful performance reports. It does not require you to have a coding experience as you can easily create test cases with its point-and-click EveryStep Web Recorder tool.
Performance test engineers can use the LoadView for measuring different performance metrics and identifying bottlenecks for optimization. They can easily uncover speed and stability issues with easy to grasp reports and recommend their suggestions for performance optimization. Performance engineers can also use the LoadView for the different SDLC stages by measuring performance and generating insightful reports under various load conditions that help identify the root cause of performance issues. Once the root causes are known, performance engineers can employ techniques for developers to follow and verify the performance using LoadView.
Conclusion: Performance Testing vs. Performance Engineering
Performance testing and performance engineering both help your website and application to perform with industry expectations. While performance testing usually is done after the website/application is developed or in the production environment, performance engineering is deep-rooted into SDLC to make sure the system is built with high standards to make sure it is optimized for performance. LoadView can help both performance test engineers and performance engineers ensure that your website or application is built for high performance and validated before going live.
Ready to test your website, application, or API for performance? Sign up for the LoadView free trial today. Or sign up for a demo where one of our performance engineers can take you through the entire platform.