The COVID 19 pandemic has taught the world the importance of staying in touch. While social distancing norms prevent people from meeting each other, no such norms or rules exist in the virtual world. Thus, instant messaging has now become the mainstay of communication.
Messaging apps like WhatsApp, Facebook, Telegram, WeChat etc. have turned into lifelines for many and are also playing an important part in the social marketing domain. Today, about 189 million different apps are downloaded daily out of which chat apps have a fair share.
Performance Testing of a Chat Application
Performance testing forms a critical part of chat app testing. It tests the app behaviour using different test case scenarios. Most chat apps undergo functional testing to ensure they function as per the pre-decided specifications and requirements, however performance testing is becoming equally important given usage patterns, in recent times.
Some functionalities of special focus are:
- Incoming and outgoing SMS, MMS and calls
- Other app generated incoming information
- Network switching
- Switching the media player on and off etc.
All hybrid and native chat apps have to undergo testing using both manual and automated performance testing services By using a regression test suite, all failures, bugs, issues and errors can be quickly validated.
Performance Testing Tools for Chat Apps
Chat apps work on specific IM protocols like WebSocket, XMPP, MTProto, TCP etc. These protocols help chat apps to communicate with individual or group users by instant messaging (like text message, exchanging image/audio/video multimedia files, transferring documents, etc.). The user authentication managed on the central server, sending and receiving private messages and public chat room conversations are all facilitated with the help of the IM protocols. Hence, it is important to test the protocol of a chat app while doing performance assessment.
Some of the popular tools for performance testing of IM protocols are:
1. Apache JMeter
An open-source, Java-based app developed to perform load and performance testing services on a variety of Web apps, the Apache JMeter works on static as well as dynamic resources. It helps to analyse the overall performance of applications including their environment (resource utilization and configuration of server nodes, Database, network, load balancer configuration, etc.) by simulating the real world peak load scenario on a performance tuning environment. Some of its features include:
- Varied servers, protocols, apps etc. can undergo load and performance testing with JMeter
- It is compatible with almost all IM protocols like XMPP, WebSocket, TCP etc.
- Supports all JAVA-based apps
- Enables easy analysis of important load-cased statistics and scrutiny of resources using charts and graphs
- Has a user-friendly interface etc.
- Open source solution to give flexibility to users to customize or enhance existing inbuilt features as per project requirement. (e.g., developed a Custom JMeter plugin to extend JMeter capability to support XMPP based actions to test chatting, connection, etc.)
For chat apps, where innumerable users are online at the same time, load testing is very important. The Apache JMeter with its advanced testing features keeps chat apps from crashing when faced with unprecedented loads.
There are few other performance testing tools available in market to test chat app or IM:
This performance testing tool helps to load test a chat app protocol. Additionally, it also tests for the scalability of the app. It works by creating steadfast real-life load and stress test scenarios even for highly complicated systems. Some of its crucial features are:
- Can be easily deployed on-premises or from the cloud
- Test environment created is very flexible
- Recognises bottlenecks automatically
- Supports all major web technologies and chat protocols like WebSocket etc.
A chat app is created to manage innumerable users and hence app scalability is important to maintain a positive user experience. WebLOAD tests chat app protocols to ensure that irrespective of the number of users online at any given point of time, each user has a superlative app experience.
Enabling the building of scriptless load and stress testing, LoadNinja reduces performance testing time by about 50%. It also facilitates real-time debugging, instant identification of performance issues, boosts testing coverage without any compromises on the quality of testing.
LoadNinja supports a variety of IM protocols like WebSocket etc. and helps developers concentrate on building scalable chat apps rather than spend time on developing scripts for performance testing services.
This is a multi-protocol open source stress and load testing tool. It works by simulating users thereby testing the performance and scalability of various servers and protocols like XMPP, TCP, WebSocket, HTTP etc. Its key features include:
- Supports multiple protocols by making use of a plugin system
- Enables the use of several different IP addresses in a single machine by making use of OS IP Aliasing
- Real-time viewing of statistics during on-going tests is possible using the built-in web dashboard
Its ability to simulate innumerable virtual users simultaneously makes it a good chat testing app. It helps to test the stability of the chat app thereby preventing its malfunctioning. Stress testing also assures users of its performance during peak chat hours.
A powerful performance testing tool; it simulates thousands of users to test the performance of the app. It consists of monitoring modules that help to immediately identify performance bottlenecks and correct them quickly. Some crucial features of Neoload are:
- Supports performance testing of several servers and IM protocols like WebSocket
- Helps to load test CRM, ERP etc.
- Easy to use
- Enables scriptless test creation, has automated parameterisation and has a GUI driven design
- Offers quick time-to-value and is cost-effective
This app helps to ensure the overall performance of the chat app thereby ensuring its superlative performance and resulting in a good user experience.
The importance of performance testing of chat apps cannot be denied. These performance testing tools help engineers to perform load testing, scalability testing, capacity testing, stability, stress/failover testing, resilience testing to uncover performance bottlenecks or problems that may occur in the live environment. The performance testing effort helps the engineering team to discover and fix issues before release preventing any further challenges that may impact the overall business, user experience or brand.