Welcome!

Java IoT Authors: Liz McMillan, Jason Bloomberg, Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Zakia Bouachraoui

Related Topics: @DevOpsSummit, Linux Containers, Containers Expo Blog

@DevOpsSummit: Blog Post

Why Software Testers Should Strive to Go Unnoticed | @DevOpsSummit #DevOps

Flying under the radar

Ah, the plight of software testers - destined to crank away behind the scenes ensuring all runs smoothly. Unlike musical conductors who command the spotlight while overseeing the performance of a piece, testers only seem to attract attention when things go terribly wrong.

The same can be said for most IT professionals, at least according to Reddit. In December, this question was posed to the AskReddit community:

"What is a job when done right no one notices, but the moment its [sic] done wrong all eyes are on you?"

Second only to a response about bass players, a comment citing IT professionals ranked highest with more than 5,500 upvotes. I'm sure many testers can lament with the commenter, who added, "When things work well, it's because of the glorious vision of Operations and Marketing. When things don't, it's because we're plagued by IT glitches that hold back the glorious vision of Operations and Marketing."

Okay, so life isn't fair and software testers seem to have drawn the short stick, at least in regards to the blame game. When users notice application performance issues, the fallout may prove detrimental to the success of not only the application, but also the organization as a whole. To prevent reoccurring performance problems, understanding what went wrong and why is critical. Failing to adjust testing strategies accordingly will only lead to unhappy users, unhappy managers, and ultimately an unhappy you.

When Users Notice
Slowly but surely, organizations are realizing the monumental importance of validating application performance. In the same vein, web and mobile application users are becoming less patient, opting to visit a competing site if pages either fail to load or take too long to load. How long is too long?

According to surveys of online shopping behavior, 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in two seconds or less and 40% will abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load.

Three seconds.

A lot could happen in three seconds, or nothing could happen in three seconds – it simply depends on how long it takes your application to load. BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE! Think three seconds is nothing? Check out what can happen in one or less:

  • For Bing, a one-second delay results in a 2.8% drop in revenue
  • For the Aberdeen Group, a one-second delay resulted in 11% fewer page views, a 16% decrease in customer satisfaction, and 7% loss in conversions
  • For Amazon, every 100ms increase in load time results in a 1% decrease in revenue

When a company faces site outages and poor performance, the finger pointing begins - usually at software testers - whom many believe to be at fault. After the QA team is forcibly dragged into the spotlight, testers must then turn to the task at hand: discovering what went wrong and why.

What Went Wrong?
Application crashes and slow load times can be attributed to a number of factors including but not limited to software configuration issues for web servers, databases, or load balancers, poor network configuration, poorly optimized software code, for example, code that does not allow for concurrent access, and insufficient hardware resources or lack of auto-scaling elastic computing. Obviously, these areas should receive immediate attention after end users experience poor performance.

If a thorough analysis of all of the above returns no red flags, you may be faced with one of several other common performance problems that you can explore in detail here.

If your team is utilizing a synthetic user monitoring tool, it should be able to access all the synthetic user data inside a browser to provide you with a rich set of dashboards. A deep dive into this data should yield insight into common and/or complicated user paths and the experiences synthetic users are having within said paths. With a synthetic monitoring system, you'll be able to identify performance issues before real users encounter them on your production environment - the ultimate safeguard against spotlight-inducing performance problems.

Preventative Measures
It's not enough to merely identify and fix a performance issue after the fact. Software testers should use this information to create a list of action items designed to prevent future crashes and/or poor application performance.

After you understand the core issue, it may be tempting to stop at the initial, immediate solution. However, installing more storage after determining the problem was disk space still won't explain why you incorrectly estimated how much you needed in the first place. Keep this thought process in mind and you'll be more likely to discover the precise solution.

After determining the solution, look for ways to recreate the issue in a controlled way. For example, use a load testing tool to simulate a large number of users stressing the system through a variety of realistic testing scenarios. Focus on scenarios that have been known to cause problems in the past, are new and untested, are likely to produce bottlenecks, involve complex transactions, and/or are critical paths for users.

Scenarios like these are crucial for discovering how your application reacts with abnormal amounts of load. By simulating user performance, you'll be able to understand how tasks and transactions will function for your real users.

Flying Under Users' Radar
If testers are able to successfully ensure the performance of a web or mobile application, users should remain unaware of their involvement. Sure, software testers may never be famous in the eyes of the public, but when it comes working in QA, going unnoticed is, more often than not, a good thing.

Testers that go unnoticed deliver high quality applications designed to provide exceptional performance across different browsers, devices, locations and more. Throughout a career, most testers will have to face the spotlight in the aftermath of application crashes or performance problems - but if you can learn from mistakes, invest in the right tools and initiate preventative measures, you'll be able to not only, for the most part, remain out of the spotlight, but you'll also be able to handle the heat when the spotlight becomes unavoidable.

More Stories By Tim Hinds

Tim Hinds is the Product Marketing Manager for NeoLoad at Neotys. He has a background in Agile software development, Scrum, Kanban, Continuous Integration, Continuous Delivery, and Continuous Testing practices.

Previously, Tim was Product Marketing Manager at AccuRev, a company acquired by Micro Focus, where he worked with software configuration management, issue tracking, Agile project management, continuous integration, workflow automation, and distributed version control systems.

IoT & Smart Cities Stories
@CloudEXPO and @ExpoDX, two of the most influential technology events in the world, have hosted hundreds of sponsors and exhibitors since our launch 10 years ago. @CloudEXPO and @ExpoDX New York and Silicon Valley provide a full year of face-to-face marketing opportunities for your company. Each sponsorship and exhibit package comes with pre and post-show marketing programs. By sponsoring and exhibiting in New York and Silicon Valley, you reach a full complement of decision makers and buyers in ...
There are many examples of disruption in consumer space – Uber disrupting the cab industry, Airbnb disrupting the hospitality industry and so on; but have you wondered who is disrupting support and operations? AISERA helps make businesses and customers successful by offering consumer-like user experience for support and operations. We have built the world’s first AI-driven IT / HR / Cloud / Customer Support and Operations solution.
LogRocket helps product teams develop better experiences for users by recording videos of user sessions with logs and network data. It identifies UX problems and reveals the root cause of every bug. LogRocket presents impactful errors on a website, and how to reproduce it. With LogRocket, users can replay problems.
Data Theorem is a leading provider of modern application security. Its core mission is to analyze and secure any modern application anytime, anywhere. The Data Theorem Analyzer Engine continuously scans APIs and mobile applications in search of security flaws and data privacy gaps. Data Theorem products help organizations build safer applications that maximize data security and brand protection. The company has detected more than 300 million application eavesdropping incidents and currently secu...
Rafay enables developers to automate the distribution, operations, cross-region scaling and lifecycle management of containerized microservices across public and private clouds, and service provider networks. Rafay's platform is built around foundational elements that together deliver an optimal abstraction layer across disparate infrastructure, making it easy for developers to scale and operate applications across any number of locations or regions. Consumed as a service, Rafay's platform elimi...
The Internet of Things is clearly many things: data collection and analytics, wearables, Smart Grids and Smart Cities, the Industrial Internet, and more. Cool platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel's Galileo and Edison, and a diverse world of sensors are making the IoT a great toy box for developers in all these areas. In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists discussed what things are the most important, which will have the most profound e...
In today's enterprise, digital transformation represents organizational change even more so than technology change, as customer preferences and behavior drive end-to-end transformation across lines of business as well as IT. To capitalize on the ubiquitous disruption driving this transformation, companies must be able to innovate at an increasingly rapid pace.
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 Day 2 Keynote at 17th Cloud Expo, Sandy Ca...
New competitors, disruptive technologies, and growing expectations are pushing every business to both adopt and deliver new digital services. This ‘Digital Transformation’ demands rapid delivery and continuous iteration of new competitive services via multiple channels, which in turn demands new service delivery techniques – including DevOps. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit 20th Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Co-Chair Andi Mann, panelists examined how DevOps helps to meet the de...
According to Forrester Research, every business will become either a digital predator or digital prey by 2020. To avoid demise, organizations must rapidly create new sources of value in their end-to-end customer experiences. True digital predators also must break down information and process silos and extend digital transformation initiatives to empower employees with the digital resources needed to win, serve, and retain customers.