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JMeter – A Priceless Performance Testing Tool
21 Aug, 2019

JMeter – A Priceless Performance Testing Tool

JMeter Load Testing

This is 2019 and technology is omnipresent. The involvement of technology in our lives cannot be denied and is simply inevitable. With smartphones covering every nook of the globe, mobile applications are flooding the market and strategic app testing is the only way to keep a check in this ever-evolving market.

The developers today are preferring to use JMeter, an open source tool and a 100% pure Java application, to load test functional behaviour and measure performance. 

The tool was initially built for testing web applications but later on evolved and found extensive usage in other test functions    

JMeter Load Testing can strategically be used to test performance on resources (static and dynamic) as well as on web dynamic applications. 

It is also used to simulate a heavy load on servers, different networks or objects to analyze overall strength and performance under different load types. Some of the salient JMeter Performance Testing features include:

  • Capability to load and performance test under different apps and conditions
  • Full-featured Test IDE that allows fast Test Plan recording (from Browsers or native applications), building and debugging
  • Command-line mode to performance and load test from any Java-compatible operating system
  • Ready to use dynamic HTML report
  • Seamless correlation with the ability to extract data from most popular response formats
  • 100% pure Java with complete portability
  • Offline analysis and replaying test results

Choosing the best performance testing tool however depends upon certain factors such as budget, thoroughness, reporting and skills; JMeter is a clear winner when compared to other commercial performance testing tools. Let us see below why:

1. Support for tools & Community Development

Though you will find a number of articles in the form of blogs and forums for both free tools online as well as premium knowledge-based articles but most of them would belong to JMeter performance testing as it is a 100% pure java based open source tool.

However other premium and commercial performance testing tools also have a significant amount of online information in the form of blog posts, white papers and articles but you need special permission to access them; such as the paid ones. 

The ability to clone and download the source code is another significant difference when it comes to JMeter. The developer can also freely contribute to the JMeter Issues Page or develop and distribute their own customized JMeter Plugins. 

Also, if an individual is keen to get involved in future development and maintenance processes of this load testing and performance testing tool, JMeter is surely the option to go for.

2. Scripting Language

Primarily, the performance testing tools which are available commercially use ANSI C whereas JMeter supports Groovy or Java Expression Language (JEXL) as both of them are great performers when tested under load. 

However, the subject matter experts feel that the only limitation that one may face in scripting any of these languages is creative imagination. Any other technical challenges that one can face while performance development testing can be resolved by using any of the above-mentioned languages.

3. Budget & Licence

JMeter is basically free to use as it has an open-source license. These licenses duly comply with the Open Source Definition which allows them to be used, modified and shared for free.

On the contrary other performance testing tools that are available commercially in the market have complex pricing and licensing costs. Some of them, such as LoadRunner from Micro Focus allows you to use upto 50 virtual users for no cost and access to all protocols except:

  • COM/DCOM,
  • Templates,
  • GUI.

Incase of 50+ concurrent virtual users the pricing is complex as there are different factors to consider while purchasing the license. 

So, clearly JMeter is your saviour if your number of concurrent virtual connections are higher than 50. It is widely considered as a very good alternative by the developers community across the globe due to its ability and open source nature.

4. Performance Analysis & Runtime

JMeter due to its open-source nature has a number of wrappers and tools which offer cogitation or abstraction when it comes to analysis, reporting and execution whereas on the contrary other commercially available or paid tools generally do not offer integration with any other 3rd party performance testing tool. 

Here we will briefly compare one of the most popular paid performance testing tools i.e. Micro Focus’s Load Runner with the open source Apache JMeter.

4.1 JMeter

The smartest way to extract the analysis data from a JMeter test is by using Simple Data Writer which can export the test results to *.csv or *.xml formatted file.

JMeter offers a considerably high number of output file formats and is comparatively light-weighted when it comes to exporting test results.

Execution here must always be performed with no listeners in headless mode except from Simple Data Writer which restricts the level of information that JMeter is providing during runtime mechanism, however the output of the test is basic but enough to ensure that:

  • there are no errors
  • the required transaction per min is achieved
  • indication of response time is given

JMeter offers a very easy reporting process with the file that is produced by the Simple Data Writer during execution.

The listeners listed below use this file to produce reports and graphical representations that majorly satisfy the requirements of the test analysis. The listeners are:

  • Response Time Distribution
  • Aggregate Report
  • Response Times Over Time
  • Connect Times Over Time
  • Hits per Second

4.2 Micro Focus’s Load Runner

This tool has a real-time approach to analysis with a plethora of available graphs which includes:

  • Hits per second
  • Transaction per sec [Failed, Errored, Passed]
  • Transaction response time
  • Running virtual users

The above mentioned support drag and drop with LoadRunner Controller User Interface in order to obtain a real time view of the test progress with a clear bifurcation of response timings on transaction basis. One can also go real time deep into the scenario status with the information available at log level of Failed, Error-ed and Passed transactions.

The LR controller allows building a set of Service Level Agreements that the under test application may need to meet, the defined set of goals. It also supports scenario building to specifically test and track against particular Service Level Agreements and also report against the same.

So, is JMeter a viable alternative?

With equally comprehensive reporting and with an easier UI as compared to the latter JMeter is surely a viable load and performance testing alternative.

5. Education & Learning Opportunities

The best investment one can make is in the progressive development of their skill set. Though every tool offers equal chances of learning the most important factor being the budget and to conquer all, JMeter is free and gives more opportunities to express technically. 

JMeter gives you everything you need to amend your own approach by using samplers, logic controllers, processors (pre / post) and assertions etc. 

JMeter thus gives you a plethora of options to improve your scripting skills by using Java / Groovy or build complex and reusable performance testing scenarios through coding. 

It gives you the option to solve complex coding problems whilst learning about the languages supported by it.

6. To opt in or opt out DevOps

Nearly all the performance testing tools support the DevOps approach to test in the form of plugins. Basically, we are talking about Continuous Integration, Pipelines, Docker Images, Version Control etc. and all of the tools commercially available have an image on Docker Hub.

From a test perspective, the developer always prefers the ease at which a jmx file can be built and executed as an integration test in code, the aforementioned is true while dealing with web based technologies and web services especially. Also, adding it to custom Docker Images in order to be used in distributed configurations, is a relatively direct and straightforward task that makes this a very powerful combination of DevOps and JMeter.

It can also be wrapped in the Taurus CLI thus allowing tests to be built quickly and fits seamlessly with the testing in development process. This doubles up as another strong example of QA InfoTech supporting JMeter at par. To conclude, definitely opt in.

7. Easy usage of available talent

The flexibility of choosing your load testing tool is governed by the talented Quality Assurance professionals you have access to, because building and delivering performance testing in a sustainable and appropriate manner is the skill you need in your professionals.

So, as long as you have dedicated bandwidth, expertise and access to resources at your disposal, JMeter is always the option to opt for, which is not possible in the case of other testing tools. 

The basic point here is to make sure that your QA team possesses the necessary skills to use load or performance testing technology and any investment in them would directly mean investment in your testing process.

8. Growth and progress

The space of JMeter load testing and performance testing tools is an ever evolving scenario and JMeter has come a long way since its launch.

It has primarily evolved with and for the open source community, by supporting the development of sampler, controllers and listeners by not only using the libraries but also by updating the available and released versions which has a number of significant technical changes.

Conclusion

By now you must have got a fair idea – if JMeter fully supports the protocols being tested then it is definitely a better option than other commercially available performance testing tools. Also, it can be now be clearly emphasized that in the new world of DevOps, JMeter serves as a better option anytime due to its major advantage of being open source software 

However, it is important to note that though there are several commercial as well as open source performance testing tools in the market all have one common factor amidst them and that is the ability to build performance testing assets. This potential and possibility is only going to scale up in the near future with the advancement in the field of technology.

To have an unbiased and exclusive interaction on testing techniques, usage of tools and best in class help get in touch with the adroit support at QA InfoTech and experience the next level thrust towards progress.

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