June 30, 2005, 12:00 AM

Start early, test often -- and collaborate, says Empirix

Performance and application testing requirements are rising in complexity with that of web applications. With troubleshooting and resolution needing the input of what may be far-flung teams, Empirix has web-enabled testing and collaboration software.

The holiday season seems to keep starting earlier – so should advance load testing of new web applications and infrastructure at online retailers, Joe Fernandes, director of product marketing for web test solutions at testing services provider Empirix Inc., tells InternetRetailer.com. The increasing complexity of web transactions, which may incorporate applications from multiple outside sources, is one reason to prepare to test well in advance of holiday spikes, but the outsourcing of development also is having an effect on what it takes for online retailers, from a technology perspective, to get ready for their busiest season.

“Building the test scripts and setting up and running the load scenarios is really the easier part," says Fernandes. “What really takes a lot of time is analyzing what the test results are telling you, identifying what the weaknesses are within the application or infrastructure, and figure out what to do with it.”

Fernandes says this usually requires the participation of different groups: the people who built the application, those who are doing the tests, the IT operations people who know the infrastructure and systems, and the marketing and businesses teams who can supply input on scheduled promotions and other events that could affect traffic to the site. “It can be difficult to get people to talk to people within their own organizations. And the applications may not have been built by people in the same building, or the same part of the world. With a lot of development being outsourced, it’s affecting the ability of a company and its application team to work together with the marketing and IT operations people,” he says.

To save time and facilitate needed collaboration in performance testing, Empirix web enabled its most recent release of e Load, the load-testing product in its e Test suite. “That means our tool can be installed in one location and the test software can be accessed from across the network via browsers,” he says. Previously, Fernandes adds, the software was installed and used from one machine.

A new collaboration feature allows multiple users to be logged into the same test. That allows a tester engaged in running a load test who needs to share results or get input to open the session to other users such as other testers or web developers, who can log in though their own machines via the web and see the data in real time.

Fernandes says the new functionality is a response to the geographic dispersion of those involved in performance testing and development, and also to what Empirix sees as the need for a collaborative approach to performance and application testing. “It’s not just the testers who need to be involved, it’s the whole organization,” he says.

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