by Sydney Stone
It’s a lot easier to get someone to download your app than it is to get them to use it on a regular basis. If your app doesn’t perform well (i.e., has slow loading or downtime), it will get deleted from the user’s mobile device pretty quickly and replaced by a competitor’s version.
This is why performance testing is such an integral part of the application development process. Whereas QA or quality control covers the inner workings and actual code, performance testing places the application in real world situations to see how it functions. This is where you test speed, stability, and response time. If your app becomes a huge hit the first week it’s released, will your platform be able to handle all of that traffic?
Oftentimes, programmers get so caught up in QA testing that they don’t pay enough attention to overall performance. Here are few common mistakes that developers are still making when it comes to performance testing.
1. Failure to create a detailed testing plan
You should never just “wing it” when it comes to the testing process in any application development cycle. Your plan for testing should be as detailed and focused as your strategic product plan itself.
Create a precise methodology for how you will test any type of performance issue that could possibly pop up in the future. If you have a test/user group engaged from the beginning (as you should), it will be good to get feedback from them on all scenarios that could strain the application.
Considering worst-case situations from the start and having a plan as to how you’ll deal with each will not only give you peace of mind as a developer, but will also make your application more successful in the long run.
2. Not having a realistic test environment
In the same manner in which you have a target audience, you should have a target environment for testing purposes. This environment should include a variety of different types of devices, operating systems, and service providers.
Create random scenarios that stress your test environment. Loads will change over time and you can never predict what that load may be at any particular moment. The key is to try and test as many different situations as possible.
Performance testing is only beneficial if it’s performed in as close to the real environment as possible. This is where you will notice any bottlenecks or areas of weakness. Then you can decide how to deal with these issues or figure out how to avoid them altogether.
3. Testing only at the end of the development cycle
Don’t wait until the end of the development cycle to do performance testing. You should be doing it in small increments along the way. Integrating a combination of automated and manual testing runs throughout the development process will save you a lot of headaches.
Why would you risk having to start all over if you find an issue with your application performance once the project is finished? By breaking the testing down into smaller chunks at interval periods, you’ll be able to spot potential problems and correct them immediately. This process will save you enormous amounts of time and effort down the road.
There’s a reason that developers say, “test early, and test often.”
When it comes to performance testing, just remember to treat it equally as important as the development and QA process. You can deliver a perfect app, but if it doesn’t perform well under pressure, it will fail with your target audience.