Performance testing as an important non-functional quality attribute is no new player in the software development landscape. It has long existed as one of the more technical areas requiring deep understanding of the product architecture, internals, implementation, and connecting these facets with business and user expectations around overall application delivery. Areas of specialization including load, stress, and overhaul have all been factored in not just from current performance considerations, but also future scalability, how the application would perform under normal and peak seasons of usage, amongst others. Traditionally, app performance testing has been a key piece in the overall quality strategy outside of functional testing. However, even such an important attribute has sometimes taken a back seat before release, given other cost, and time to market considerations.
However, this situation has fast changed in the last decade, thanks to the revolutionary growth in mobile computing. Cloud computing on one hand has made performance testing more realistic and achievable, significantly bringing down the infrastructural overhead. With this easing the situation and mobile computing making performance testing mandatory to give the application a competitive edge, amongst users, app performance has been enjoying significant momentum.
Mobile app performance testing goes much deeper than the traditional performance testing where one focuses just on client – server communication, overall page load and response times. While these are also tracked in mobile performance testing, a lot of other parameters are also at play – including, how the current app under test performs at various network speeds, how it consumes network resources, how the app renders based on whether it is a native, web or hybrid app, how it impacts other mobile functionalities amongst others. In addition to the cloud being leveraged to test, a lot of simulators and emulators also come into the picture.
Herein, mobile performance testing has become a need of the hour, not just due to the new elements at stake in the ecosystem or the ease of being able to do it, all talked about above, but mainly also due to expectations of the users and the market that has evolved around such expectations. If users expect a certain launch time, that becomes the new norm for the app developers to deliver on. It has truly turned out to be a push and a pull scenario with solution providers outdoing themselves and competition, and users reciprocating such exceptional delivery by showcasing their loyal usage patterns.
Another significant thing to note is that mobile performance testing is one that is actively taken up in live environments too. Not all testing can be exhaustively done before release. There is ample room for monitoring, learning from live usage patterns both for future fine tuning as well as be able to align the current system too. For example, the big billion dollar sale, which I spoke about as a case study, is a classic example of how mobile performance testing is an ongoing process that needs both a proactive and reactive test strategy, keeping the product team on toes at all times. With mobile comes in several new technologies, and solutions in the space of wearables, IoT, AI, AR/VR – performance testing is deep rooted as a core non-functional piece that is here to stay, bringing in user experiences like never before.