Welcome!

Java IoT Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Dana Gardner, Charlotte Spencer-Smith, Jnan Dash

Related Topics: Adobe Flex, Java IoT, IoT User Interface

Adobe Flex: Article

Three Tips to Successfully Load Test Adobe Flex Applications

It has become increasingly important to performance test these web applications under different loads

The world has changed dramatically for organizations that use web-enabled business applications in enterprise environments. The complexities of modern applications, which include multi-tiered, globally distributed architectures, SOA and a host of other new technologies, have forced major change in the way enterprises develop, test and manage web-enabled applications. Specifically, Rich Internet Application (RIA) technologies such as Adobe Flex allow a faster, more engaging, interactive experience with browser- enabled applications and services. While an attractive option for developing expanded application capabilities these RIA technologies bring new challenges to organizations that need to deploy application features and functions in a compressed time frame and at a lower cost.

Preparing for the shift as part of this new technology trend, companies must adapt their testing approach as well. Given the way new technologies work when deployed on Onternet/intranet applications, it's important to be careful in approaching the testing of Flex applications. When rolling out next-generation applications on a mission-critical enterprise application platform, you need to be confident that your systems will perform. As load testing is one of the last crucial tasks before launching a web application, it's usually done under pressure and with tight time constraints. Before we discuss tips to make you successful when load testing Adobe Flex applications, first let's look at how Adobe Flex applications are unique.

Adobe Flex applications may be different from applications you've worked with before. For classic HTML web applications, the server does all of the processing. In addition, the rendering of HTML requires full page refreshes. Flex applications are different because content is delivered without having to reload the page. These applications download the Flash client application and run in the browser, or for Adobe AIR applications, on the desktop. The Flash is constantly being updated by the server, asynchronously. For this reason, Adobe Flex server loads reveal a very different profile.

We all know it is important to measure transaction response times when performance testing web appli­cations. But Flex technology can cause significant increases in the number of browser-to-server HTTP calls made in the background and this increase in traffic can have a profound effect on per­formance. While users might not be aware of the round-trips between the browser and a distant server, they will definitely notice performance a problem if the application is slow or doesn't work because of the increased load. Knowing the scalability limitations of your deployments is crucial.

Innovative RIA technologies like Flex present new challenges with respect to emulating a realistic load. If you're developing or deploying applications in this newer technology, successfully addressing these challenges requires thinking about load testing in new ways. Let's look at the new challenges in load testing Flex applications and three tips to improve application performance and enrich the user experience.

Tip 1: Make sure you can decode AMF and process internal identifiers
Adobe's Flex AMF (Action Messaging Format) protocol is used to exchange data between an Adobe Flash application and a database, using a Remote Procedure call. Since the data is in compressed binary format, communication is faster and more efficient than a web service. Older load testing solutions claim they can handle "Flex" technology, but have difficulty doing so in the real world. Many load testing tools rely on data being sent over HTTP and don't tap into the AMF protocol. Therefore, they don't go deep enough to understand what is being exchanged between client and server. For optimum testing, make sure your load testing tool decodes these objects so that you can parameterize the requests, extract data from the response and validate the response. Users should look for automated variable extraction and parameterization, automated comparison features to show changes from one code base to the next and automated documentation of results so test output is immediately actionable by all stakeholders.

In addition, AMF message protocol uses internal identifiers (clientId, DSId, etc.) to maintain the AMF session. Parameters in an AMF session are dynamically generated and are numerous. To avoid painful manual configuration of these parameters, make sure that your load testing tool automatically processes serialized objects and identifiers.

Tip 2: Make sure you can support customized external messages
AMF3 compact binary format helps integrate binary data exchange into all server platforms. The protocol improves the quality of all remote and messaging solutions for Flex and optimizes data exchange. AMF3 reduces the quantity of exchanged information and avoids redundant messages. In particular, AMF3 externalizable messages allow developers to customize the serialization of objects exchanged in AMF.

When selecting a load testing tool, make sure it allows you to integrate custom code into it. For optimum testing, the customized code should be loaded and run by the testing tool to correctly replay custom messages.

Tip 3: Make sure you can support polling and streaming
Many Flex applications require that some data are regularly pushed from the server to the client. Servers using AMF protocol update client data in two ways:

  • The polling method: This is when the browser queries the server at regular intervals. Technically simple in its implementation, the method's downside is that it needlessly overloads the server and is not very reactive. When these applications are recorded with a load testing tool, a high number of browsers to server requests are recorded along with other more significant requests. It's important to make sure your tool can automatically simplify your recording to get a clear maintainable script.
  • The streaming method: In this case, the client sends a single request to the server and the server responds when pertinent information is available, without closing the request. The server can send information to the client again using the same connection, without having to wait for a new request. Using this method, client data can be rapidly updated while network traffic is kept to a minimum. The testing tool must be able to keep the stream open when it plays a streaming request. This request will block the connection so the tool has to use a second connection for classic requests.

In both cases, typical HTTP response times are not useful. For regular HTTP requests, load testing tools measure the time between when the request is sent and when the response is received. It's important that your load testing tool can measure what's really interesting: the time between when the server updates the client and when the client receives the update. Not only should the tool measure this information but this function should be automated so that testing can be done frequently and earlier in the lifecycle.

As more and more companies deploy mission-critical applications on the Internet, it has become increasingly important to performance test these web applications under different loads before they go live. While Adobe Flex provides expanded capabilities to develop new powerful applications in support of organizational needs, the technology is different from other applications. As a result a new approach to load testing is required. To understand how your applications will work in the Adobe Flex production environment, and to optimize them for higher performance, you need be able to simulate not just the actions of one user, but the actions of many users. By implementing the tips in this article, companies can quickly adapt their testing methodology to handle Flex applications, get to market faster and easier than ever before, while improving productivity and saving money.

More Stories By Christophe Marton

Christophe Marton is co-founder of Neotys and co-creator of the development tool NeoLoad. Previously, he worked at Calendra where he developed his expertise in the performance and load testing space, for which he ultimately developed a unique vision for a next generation solution. While at Calendra, he developed software solutions for the identity management market which was later acquired by BMC software in 2005. During his six year tenure at Calendra, he developed the skills required to create, develop and take cutting edge software to market. Marton is a Computer Engineering graduate of ESIL Marseille Engineering School.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
The cloud promises new levels of agility and cost-savings for Big Data, data warehousing and analytics. But it’s challenging to understand all the options – from IaaS and PaaS to newer services like HaaS (Hadoop as a Service) and BDaaS (Big Data as a Service). In her session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Hannah Smalltree, a director at Cazena, will provide an educational overview of emerging “as-a-service” options for Big Data in the cloud. This is critical background for IT and data profes...
One of the bewildering things about DevOps is integrating the massive toolchain including the dozens of new tools that seem to crop up every year. Part of DevOps is Continuous Delivery and having a complex toolchain can add additional integration and setup to your developer environment. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 18th Cloud Expo, Miko Matsumura, Chief Marketing Officer of Gradle Inc., will discuss which tools to use in a developer stack, how to provision the toolchain to minimize onboa...
Companies can harness IoT and predictive analytics to sustain business continuity; predict and manage site performance during emergencies; minimize expensive reactive maintenance; and forecast equipment and maintenance budgets and expenditures. Providing cost-effective, uninterrupted service is challenging, particularly for organizations with geographically dispersed operations.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute, owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Interoute is the owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform which encompasses 12 data centers, 14 virtual data centers and 31 colocation centers, with connections to 195 ad...
Join us at Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo 2016 – June 7-9 at the Javits Center in New York City and November 1-3 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – and deliver your unique message in a way that is striking and unforgettable by taking advantage of SYS-CON's unmatched high-impact, result-driven event / media packages.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management...
There will be new vendors providing applications, middleware, and connected devices to support the thriving IoT ecosystem. This essentially means that electronic device manufacturers will also be in the software business. Many will be new to building embedded software or robust software. This creates an increased importance on software quality, particularly within the Industrial Internet of Things where business-critical applications are becoming dependent on products controlled by software. Qua...
With an estimated 50 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2020, several industries will begin to expand their capabilities for retaining end point data at the edge to better utilize the range of data types and sheer volume of M2M data generated by the Internet of Things. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Don DeLoach, CEO and President of Infobright, will discuss the infrastructures businesses will need to implement to handle this explosion of data by providing specific use cases for filte...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Pythian, a global IT services company specializing in helping companies adopt disruptive technologies to optimize revenue-generating systems, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Founded in 1997, Pythian is a global IT services company that helps companies compete by adopting disruptive technologies such as cloud, Big Data, advanced analytics, and DevO...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Avere Systems, a leading provider of enterprise storage for the hybrid cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Avere delivers a more modern architectural approach to storage that doesn’t require the overprovisioning of storage capacity to achieve performance, overspending on expensive storage media for inactive data or the overbuilding of data centers ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Alert Logic, Inc., the leading provider of Security-as-a-Service solutions for the cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Alert Logic, Inc., provides Security-as-a-Service for on-premises, cloud, and hybrid infrastructures, delivering deep security insight and continuous protection for customers at a lower cost than traditional security solutions. Ful...
Fortunately, meaningful and tangible business cases for IoT are plentiful in a broad array of industries and vertical markets. These range from simple warranty cost reduction for capital intensive assets, to minimizing downtime for vital business tools, to creating feedback loops improving product design, to improving and enhancing enterprise customer experiences. All of these business cases, which will be briefly explored in this session, hinge on cost effectively extracting relevant data from ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that iDevices®, the preeminent brand in the connected home industry, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. iDevices, the preeminent brand in the connected home industry, has a growing line of HomeKit-enabled products available at the largest retailers worldwide. Through the “Designed with iDevices” co-development program and its custom-built IoT Cloud Infrastruc...
As enterprises work to take advantage of Big Data technologies, they frequently become distracted by product-level decisions. In most new Big Data builds this approach is completely counter-productive: it presupposes tools that may not be a fit for development teams, forces IT to take on the burden of evaluating and maintaining unfamiliar technology, and represents a major up-front expense. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Andrew Warfield, CTO and Co-Founder of Coho Data, will dis...
The Quantified Economy represents the total global addressable market (TAM) for IoT that, according to a recent IDC report, will grow to an unprecedented $1.3 trillion by 2019. With this the third wave of the Internet-global proliferation of connected devices, appliances and sensors is poised to take off in 2016. In his session at @ThingsExpo, David McLauchlan, CEO and co-founder of Buddy Platform, will discuss how the ability to access and analyze the massive volume of streaming data from mil...
WebSocket is effectively a persistent and fat pipe that is compatible with a standard web infrastructure; a "TCP for the Web." If you think of WebSocket in this light, there are other more hugely interesting applications of WebSocket than just simply sending data to a browser. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Frank Greco, Director of Technology for Kaazing Corporation, will compare other modern web connectivity methods such as HTTP/2, HTTP Streaming, Server-Sent Events and new W3C event APIs ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Men & Mice, the leading global provider of DNS, DHCP and IP address management overlay solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. The Men & Mice Suite overlay solution is already known for its powerful application in heterogeneous operating environments, enabling enterprises to scale without fuss. Building on a solid range of diverse platform support,...
Eighty percent of a data scientist’s time is spent gathering and cleaning up data, and 80% of all data is unstructured and almost never analyzed. Cognitive computing, in combination with Big Data, is changing the equation by creating data reservoirs and using natural language processing to enable analysis of unstructured data sources. This is impacting every aspect of the analytics profession from how data is mined (and by whom) to how it is delivered. This is not some futuristic vision: it's ha...
Silver Spring Networks, Inc. (NYSE: SSNI) extended its Internet of Things technology platform with performance enhancements to Gen5 – its fifth generation critical infrastructure networking platform. Already delivering nearly 23 million devices on five continents as one of the leading networking providers in the market, Silver Spring announced it is doubling the maximum speed of its Gen5 network to up to 2.4 Mbps, increasing computational performance by 10x, supporting simultaneous mesh communic...
With the Apple Watch making its way onto wrists all over the world, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a staple in the workplace. In fact, Forrester reported that 68 percent of technology and business decision-makers characterize wearables as a top priority for 2015. Recognizing their business value early on, FinancialForce.com was the first to bring ERP to wearables, helping streamline communication across front and back office functions. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kevin Roberts...