Performance Testing is key to ensuring a piece of software performs exactly as it is designed to perform. Also known as “perf testing,” these processes involve testing the software’s speed, scalability, response time, reliability, and resource optimization under specific workloads. During these tests, developers recognize and remove the performance issues in the software.
The key focus of performance tests are the engineering aspects of software applications such as –
- Stability – Can the app stay stable while dealing with varying workloads?
- Response Time – How quickly does the application respond to commands?
- Scalability – How much work or user load can the software handle?
These are the key features and functionalities that are exposed, investigated, and resolved during Performance Testing. In web applications, these tests help developers monitor how the server-side of the app is performing while handling multi-user concurrent loads.
There are certain criteria that the app needs to meet. Different metrics measure the output of these tests. Companies can then use all the data collected from these tests to increase their productivity. They can create a stable digital environment where their software applications and workforces thrive.
However, with the rollout of HTTP 2.0, the number of factors that affect web performance has increased. If you base your web application development on Web 2.0 or Web 3.0 standards, you’ll have to carry out more client-side functional logistics than server-side logistics. That’s the only way for developers to make their platforms more dynamic and user-friendly.
That’s why client-side browser performance testing is now an essential aspect of web application development. So, what does client-side monitoring in performance testing entail?
- The focus is on understanding how the rendering of webpages impacts the web app’s performance on the client’s browser.
- In client-side performance testing, developers only collect one set of metrics that gives them a narrow perspective of the issues their apps may have. With client-side monitoring, they get a complete view of their products’ true efficiency.
- Standard performance testing tools like JMeter don’t return reliable metrics during client-side testing. These processes involve special tools.
The key metrics that need to gauged after these tests are –
- Page Weight
- First Byte Time
- Page Loading Time
- Page Component Loading Time
All of these metrics requires several optimizations. For instance, all CSS, JS, Images, etc., need to be optimized to be fast-loading. All Performance Testing experts need to ensure these web performance evaluation measures are key parts of their Performance Test Strategies. After they ensure these criteria are met, they can officially certify the web system’s performance.
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What tools are best for client-side performance testing?
The most commonly used tools for client-side Performance Testing include – Google PageSpeed Insights, GTMetrix, WebPageTest, dotcom-monitor, and other Chrome Developer Tools.
The type of tool you want to work with depends on your requirements. For instance, developers who want to measure software performances across all devices (mobiles or PC browsers) will need a completely different tool than someone who only needs basic web performance monitors on a permanent basis. The best Performance Testing experts don’t depend on specific tools. They use different tools to test the apps’ wide range of qualities.
The importance of client-side performance testing
Back in 2012, when Google Engineers argued that 400 milliseconds (the speed at which we blink our eyes) is the average attention span of an internet browsing expert, most people thought they’re underestimating our patience levels. Surely we can wait for more than 0.4 seconds for a website to load, right? No, we can’t. As internet users search more, their patience for website loading times rapidly decreases.
In a recent survey, 64% of smartphone users said they expect webpages to load within four seconds, and 74% said they’d abandon websites that fail to load within five seconds. Client-Side Performance Testing helps developers understand these user perspectives. If they can think like a user, it’s easier to meet their expectations. End-users don’t care about server response times; they simply want fast-loading websites and web apps!
If a developer regularly runs a web app through Lighthouse or other testing tools to assess page load metrics, it’s highly likely that the web app will start performing much better in a couple of months. However, that’s not enough. If they also assess client-side performance issues, the increase in the rate of improvement of the web app will be massive. Be it poor image compression and formatting issues or blocks in resource rendering processes – developers can fix more issues when they conduct client-side Performance Testing. Both of these aspects of Performance Testing are equally important.
Automation is making client-side Performance Testing easier. Quality assurance processes are now being carried out using test automation tools. These tools can fast-track testing processes. However, these tests alone won’t resolve every performance issue in a web app. Conducting server-side performance testing along with these tests is still very important.