|By Christophe Marton||
|February 7, 2012 02:31 PM EST||
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.
WebRTC has had a real tough three or four years, and so have those working with it. Only a few short years ago, the development world were excited about WebRTC and proclaiming how awesome it was. You might have played with the technology a couple of years ago, only to find the extra infrastructure requirements were painful to implement and poorly documented. This probably left a bitter taste in your mouth, especially when things went wrong.
Aug. 30, 2015 01:00 AM EDT Reads: 426
SYS-CON Events announced today that IceWarp will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. IceWarp, the leader of cloud and on-premise messaging, delivers secured email, chat, documents, conferencing and collaboration to today's mobile workforce, all in one unified interface
Aug. 30, 2015 01:00 AM EDT Reads: 381
With the proliferation of connected devices underpinning new Internet of Things systems, Brandon Schulz, Director of Luxoft IoT – Retail, will be looking at the transformation of the retail customer experience in brick and mortar stores in his session at @ThingsExpo. Questions he will address include: Will beacons drop to the wayside like QR codes, or be a proximity-based profit driver? How will the customer experience change in stores of all types when everything can be instrumented and analyzed? As an area of investment, how might a retail company move towards an innovation methodolo...
Aug. 29, 2015 11:45 PM EDT Reads: 426
The Internet of Things (IoT) is about the digitization of physical assets including sensors, devices, machines, gateways, and the network. It creates possibilities for significant value creation and new revenue generating business models via data democratization and ubiquitous analytics across IoT networks. The explosion of data in all forms in IoT requires a more robust and broader lens in order to enable smarter timely actions and better outcomes. Business operations become the key driver of IoT applications and projects. Business operations, IT, and data scientists need advanced analytics t...
Aug. 29, 2015 07:30 PM EDT Reads: 378
A producer of the first smartphones and tablets, presenter Lee M. Williams will talk about how he is now applying his experience in mobile technology to the design and development of the next generation of Environmental and Sustainability Services at ETwater. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lee Williams, COO of ETwater, will talk about how he is now applying his experience in mobile technology to the design and development of the next generation of Environmental and Sustainability Services at ETwater.
Aug. 29, 2015 03:45 PM EDT Reads: 111
Consumer IoT applications provide data about the user that just doesn’t exist in traditional PC or mobile web applications. This rich data, or “context,” enables the highly personalized consumer experiences that characterize many consumer IoT apps. This same data is also providing brands with unprecedented insight into how their connected products are being used, while, at the same time, powering highly targeted engagement and marketing opportunities. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nathan Treloar, President and COO of Bebaio, will explore examples of brands transforming their businesses by t...
Aug. 29, 2015 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 202
SYS-CON Events announced today that Pythian, a global IT services company specializing in helping companies leverage disruptive technologies to optimize revenue-generating systems, 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. 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 DevOps to advance innovation and increase agility. Specializing in designing, imple...
Aug. 29, 2015 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 253
While many app developers are comfortable building apps for the smartphone, there is a whole new world out there. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Narayan Sainaney, Co-founder and CTO of Mojio, will discuss how the business case for connected car apps is growing and, with open platform companies having already done the heavy lifting, there really is no barrier to entry.
Aug. 29, 2015 10:30 AM EDT Reads: 112
SYS-CON Events announced today that HPM Networks will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For 20 years, HPM Networks has been integrating technology solutions that solve complex business challenges. HPM Networks has designed solutions for both SMB and enterprise customers throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
Aug. 29, 2015 09:30 AM EDT Reads: 855
SYS-CON Events announced today that Micron Technology, Inc., a global leader in advanced semiconductor systems, will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Micron’s broad portfolio of high-performance memory technologies – including DRAM, NAND and NOR Flash – is the basis for solid state drives, modules, multichip packages and other system solutions. Backed by more than 35 years of technology leadership, Micron's memory solutions enable the world's most innovative computing, consumer,...
Aug. 29, 2015 08:45 AM EDT Reads: 200
Through WebRTC, audio and video communications are being embedded more easily than ever into applications, helping carriers, enterprises and independent software vendors deliver greater functionality to their end users. With today’s business world increasingly focused on outcomes, users’ growing calls for ease of use, and businesses craving smarter, tighter integration, what’s the next step in delivering a richer, more immersive experience? That richer, more fully integrated experience comes about through a Communications Platform as a Service which allows for messaging, screen sharing, video...
Aug. 29, 2015 08:45 AM EDT Reads: 588
As more intelligent IoT applications shift into gear, they’re merging into the ever-increasing traffic flow of the Internet. It won’t be long before we experience bottlenecks, as IoT traffic peaks during rush hours. Organizations that are unprepared will find themselves by the side of the road unable to cross back into the fast lane. As billions of new devices begin to communicate and exchange data – will your infrastructure be scalable enough to handle this new interconnected world?
Aug. 29, 2015 07:45 AM EDT Reads: 130
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...
Aug. 28, 2015 07:45 PM EDT Reads: 199
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome,” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
Aug. 28, 2015 06:00 PM EDT Reads: 329
Akana has announced the availability of the new Akana Healthcare Solution. The API-driven solution helps healthcare organizations accelerate their transition to being secure, digitally interoperable businesses. It leverages the Health Level Seven International Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (HL7 FHIR) standard to enable broader business use of medical data. Akana developed the Healthcare Solution in response to healthcare businesses that want to increase electronic, multi-device access to health records while reducing operating costs and complying with government regulations.
Aug. 26, 2015 07:00 AM EDT Reads: 123
For IoT to grow as quickly as analyst firms’ project, a lot is going to fall on developers to quickly bring applications to market. But the lack of a standard development platform threatens to slow growth and make application development more time consuming and costly, much like we’ve seen in the mobile space. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Weiner, Product Manager of the Omega DevCloud with KORE Telematics Inc., discussed the evolving requirements for developers as IoT matures and conducted a live demonstration of how quickly application development can happen when the need to comply wit...
Aug. 2, 2015 11:15 AM EDT Reads: 547
The Internet of Everything (IoE) brings together people, process, data and things to make networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever before – transforming information into knowledge and knowledge into wisdom. IoE creates new capabilities, richer experiences, and unprecedented opportunities to improve business and government operations, decision making and mission support capabilities.
Aug. 1, 2015 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 476
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Red Hat's Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems, described how to revolutionize your archit...
Jul. 30, 2015 07:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,561
MuleSoft has announced the findings of its 2015 Connectivity Benchmark Report on the adoption and business impact of APIs. The findings suggest traditional businesses are quickly evolving into "composable enterprises" built out of hundreds of connected software services, applications and devices. Most are embracing the Internet of Things (IoT) and microservices technologies like Docker. A majority are integrating wearables, like smart watches, and more than half plan to generate revenue with APIs within the next year.
Jul. 30, 2015 02:30 PM EDT Reads: 275
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Opening Keynote at 16th Cloud Expo, Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, d...
Jul. 30, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,223