Software testing fundamentals: Performance testing

Software performance testing is crucial to software development and very easy to mess up. These tips and expert opinions illustrate how to conduct performance tests effectively.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
   Software testing basics
   Performance testing
   Regression testing
   User acceptance testing
   Other useful resources



  Performance testing

When assembling a guide on performance testing, it's very difficult not to include every single one of Scott Barber's "Peak Performance" columns. In the interest of space, we've included a few below, but you can find the entire series here.

  • Definition:Performance testing: The definition from WhatIs.com explains why performance testing is used and what it might verify, with links to other definitions throughout.


  • Definition: Load testing: The definition from WhatIs.


  • Definition: Stress testing: The definition from WhatIs.


  • Column:What is performance testing?: Many aspects of software testing defy simple definition. Performance testing guru Scott Barber explains why pinning down performance testing is harder than it first appears.


  • Expert response:Understanding performance, load and stress testing: These three tests are generally linked together because load and stress tests are two distinct types of performance tests. Scott Barber breaks down the differences with examples.


  • Expert response:Performance testing in context: Expert Mike Kelly discusses testing for performance from different perspectives. He outlines the advantages and limitations of using Web analytics to test with different goals in mind.


  • Column:Software performance testing: You can't test everything: Narrowing down what to test can be a difficult process, and no tester wants to neglect testing for something important. Scott Barber provides a series of heuristics for covering your most important testing issues.


  • Expert response:Performance testing in the production environment: Testing results can vary wildly depending on the where they are performed. Karen N. Johnson explains why it's critical that performance tests be conducted in the production environment.


  • Expert response:Software testing tools -- How to interpret results from OpenSta: The popular open source tool OpenSta returns data, rather than typical "test results," explains Scott Barber. Once testers understand how to approach this data, they can effectively use this tool.


  • Expert response:Free load and performance testing tools: Dan Cornell offers an open source option for performance testing.


  • Tip:Performance and load/stress tests -- Two types of capacity tests: How do testers schedule, design and implement performance and stress tests? This tip illustrates how to plan these capacity tests based on their varying goals and circumstances.


  • Tip: Testing for performance, part 1: Assess the problem space: Strategizing, understanding your system, creating models and establishing your focus are important first steps for performance testers, and Mike Kelly instructs readers on accomplishing each step. This three part tip series is based upon conversations Kelly had with a developer friend who needed advice on planning and conducting performance tests. Part two focuses on building out the test efforts, and part three tackles providing information. Developers and testers looking into performance testing will find a wealth of information here.


  • Site:Performance & software testing articles, columns and papers from PerfTestPlus. This is a fantastic resource containing a large amount of publications from performance testing expert Scott Barber.


  • Expert response: How to specialize in performance testing: Mike Kelly focuses specifically on performance testing in this response, but his advice is useful for someone trying to specialize in any specific aspect of software testing.


Visit our next section on regression testing.

This was first published in April 2008

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