Click here to close now.


Java IoT Authors: Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz, SmartBear Blog, Elizabeth White

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
SYS-CON Events announced today that Luxoft Holding, Inc., a leading provider of software development services and innovative IT solutions, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Luxoft’s software development services consist of core and mission-critical custom software development and support, product engineering and testing, and technology consulting.
“In the past year we've seen a lot of stabilization of WebRTC. You can now use it in production with a far greater degree of certainty. A lot of the real developments in the past year have been in things like the data channel, which will enable a whole new type of application," explained Peter Dunkley, Technical Director at Acision, in this interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
NHK, Japan Broadcasting, will feature the upcoming @ThingsExpo Silicon Valley in a special 'Internet of Things' and smart technology documentary that will be filmed on the expo floor between November 3 to 5, 2015, in Santa Clara. NHK is the sole public TV network in Japan equivalent to the BBC in the UK and the largest in Asia with many award-winning science and technology programs. Japanese TV is producing a documentary about IoT and Smart technology and will be covering @ThingsExpo Silicon Valley. The program, to be aired during the peak viewership season of the year, will have a major impac...
Developing software for the Internet of Things (IoT) comes with its own set of challenges. Security, privacy, and unified standards are a few key issues. In addition, each IoT product is comprised of at least three separate application components: the software embedded in the device, the backend big-data service, and the mobile application for the end user's controls. Each component is developed by a different team, using different technologies and practices, and deployed to a different stack/target - this makes the integration of these separate pipelines and the coordination of software upd...
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
You have your devices and your data, but what about the rest of your Internet of Things story? Two popular classes of technologies that nicely handle the Big Data analytics for Internet of Things are Apache Hadoop and NoSQL. Hadoop is designed for parallelizing analytical work across many servers and is ideal for the massive data volumes you create with IoT devices. NoSQL databases such as Apache HBase are ideal for storing and retrieving IoT data as “time series data.”
There are so many tools and techniques for data analytics that even for a data scientist the choices, possible systems, and even the types of data can be daunting. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Harrold, Global CTO for Big Data Solutions for EMC Corporation, will show how to perform a simple, but meaningful analysis of social sentiment data using freely available tools that take only minutes to download and install. Participants will get the download information, scripts, and complete end-to-end walkthrough of the analysis from start to finish. Participants will also be given the pract...
Clearly the way forward is to move to cloud be it bare metal, VMs or containers. One aspect of the current public clouds that is slowing this cloud migration is cloud lock-in. Every cloud vendor is trying to make it very difficult to move out once a customer has chosen their cloud. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Naveen Nimmu, CEO of Clouber, Inc., will advocate that making the inter-cloud migration as simple as changing airlines would help the entire industry to quickly adopt the cloud without worrying about any lock-in fears. In fact by having standard APIs for IaaS would help PaaS expl...
WebRTC is about the data channel as much as about video and audio conferencing. However, basically all commercial WebRTC applications have been built with a focus on audio and video. The handling of “data” has been limited to text chat and file download – all other data sharing seems to end with screensharing. What is holding back a more intensive use of peer-to-peer data? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Dr Silvia Pfeiffer, WebRTC Applications Team Lead at National ICT Australia, will look at different existing uses of peer-to-peer data sharing and how it can become useful in a live session to...
SYS-CON Events announced today that ProfitBricks, the provider of painless cloud infrastructure, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. ProfitBricks is the IaaS provider that offers a painless cloud experience for all IT users, with no learning curve. ProfitBricks boasts flexible cloud servers and networking, an integrated Data Center Designer tool for visual control over the cloud and the best price/performance value available. ProfitBricks was named one of the coolest Clo...
Organizations already struggle with the simple collection of data resulting from the proliferation of IoT, lacking the right infrastructure to manage it. They can't only rely on the cloud to collect and utilize this data because many applications still require dedicated infrastructure for security, redundancy, performance, etc. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Emil Sayegh, CEO of Codero Hosting, will discuss how in order to resolve the inherent issues, companies need to combine dedicated and cloud solutions through hybrid hosting – a sustainable solution for the data required to manage I...
Mobile messaging has been a popular communication channel for more than 20 years. Finnish engineer Matti Makkonen invented the idea for SMS (Short Message Service) in 1984, making his vision a reality on December 3, 1992 by sending the first message ("Happy Christmas") from a PC to a cell phone. Since then, the technology has evolved immensely, from both a technology standpoint, and in our everyday uses for it. Originally used for person-to-person (P2P) communication, i.e., Sally sends a text message to Betty – mobile messaging now offers tremendous value to businesses for customer and empl...
Scott Guthrie's keynote presentation "Journey to the intelligent cloud" is a must view video. This is from AzureCon 2015, September 29, 2015 I have reproduced some screen shots in case you are unable to view this long video for one reason or another. One of the highlights is 3 datacenters coming on line in India.
Nowadays, a large number of sensors and devices are connected to the network. Leading-edge IoT technologies integrate various types of sensor data to create a new value for several business decision scenarios. The transparent cloud is a model of a new IoT emergence service platform. Many service providers store and access various types of sensor data in order to create and find out new business values by integrating such data.
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM Cloud Data Services has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. IBM Cloud Data Services offers a portfolio of integrated, best-of-breed cloud data services for developers focused on mobile computing and analytics use cases.
Apps and devices shouldn't stop working when there's limited or no network connectivity. Learn how to bring data stored in a cloud database to the edge of the network (and back again) whenever an Internet connection is available. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bradley Holt, Developer Advocate at IBM Cloud Data Services, will demonstrate techniques for replicating cloud databases with devices in order to build offline-first mobile or Internet of Things (IoT) apps that can provide a better, faster user experience, both offline and online. The focus of this talk will be on IBM Cloudant, Apa...
The enterprise is being consumerized, and the consumer is being enterprised. Moore's Law does not matter anymore, the future belongs to business virtualization powered by invisible service architecture, powered by hyperscale and hyperconvergence, and facilitated by vertical streaming and horizontal scaling and consolidation. Both buyers and sellers want instant results, and from paperwork to paperless to mindless is the ultimate goal for any seamless transaction. The sweetest sweet spot in innovation is automation. The most painful pain point for any business is the mismatch between supplies a...
As a company adopts a DevOps approach to software development, what are key things that both the Dev and Ops side of the business must keep in mind to ensure effective continuous delivery? In his session at DevOps Summit, Mark Hydar, Head of DevOps, Ericsson TV Platforms, will share best practices and provide helpful tips for Ops teams to adopt an open line of communication with the development side of the house to ensure success between the two sides.
As more and more data is generated from a variety of connected devices, the need to get insights from this data and predict future behavior and trends is increasingly essential for businesses. Real-time stream processing is needed in a variety of different industries such as Manufacturing, Oil and Gas, Automobile, Finance, Online Retail, Smart Grids, and Healthcare. Azure Stream Analytics is a fully managed distributed stream computation service that provides low latency, scalable processing of streaming data in the cloud with an enterprise grade SLA. It features built-in integration with Azur...
WebRTC: together these advances have created a perfect storm of technologies that are disrupting and transforming classic communications models and ecosystems. In his session at WebRTC Summit, Cary Bran, VP of Innovation and New Ventures at Plantronics and PLT Labs, will provide an overview of this technological shift, including associated business and consumer communications impacts, and opportunities it may enable, complement or entirely transform.