What is software performance testing?

Isabelle Wuilleumier Salemme

Whether you’re an experienced developer or just entering the world of software development, the overall concept of software performance testing shouldn’t be new to you. If you’re still a little confused as to what this concept encompasses, don’t break a cold sweat just yet, sit back and find out everything you need to know about performance testing.

Putting it into layman’s terms, software performance testing involves all necessary activities you partake to determine whether an application is capable of performing in certain terms under a previously specified workload.

Performance testing can involve qualitative tests run in a controlled environment under previously established conditions (such as evaluating an app’s response time with X simultaneous accesses). These tests are often used to analyze qualitative attributes such as reliability and scalability.

Running performance tests should allow you to analyze an app’s responsiveness (its ability of meeting performance goals within a certain period of time) as well as its scalability (the amount of activities it processes simultaneously within a given time.

Performance testing is as essential as all other steps taken when developing an application of any kind and should absolutely not be taken for granted or considered superfluous.

No cosmetics company would release a new makeup product without running several tests to determine how well it performs as well as finding out whether it can cause an allergic reaction so why should you release an app without determining whether it performs as expected?

In order to cover all basis when testing an app there are quite a few types of software performance tests (all of them will be explored in depth at a future opportunity). These types are: load, stress, soak, spike, configuration, and isolation tests.

When should performance testing be used?

For starters, let’s establish the main purposes of performance testing. The most obvious reason for running performance tests is assessing and ensuring its quality, as well as determining whether a certain app means the pre-determined performance criteria such as supporting X simultaneous accesses or X requests within X seconds.

The second reason for running performance tests is comparing your app to other apps in other to determine which of the alternatives performs better. Comparing an app to the other alternatives available on the market not only for identifying points in which you should place your efforts but also because it gives you a clear terrain for demonstrating to your prospects/potential customers why they should choose your app over the other alternatives.

Last but not least, another reason why developers should test their app’s performance is for identifying the parts of a configuration that may be responsible for a poor overall performance. This is necessary because sometimes your app’s performance is lower than you’d want it to be and it could take a rather long time to determine what’s causing this low results without running smaller, more specific tests.

Written by
Isabelle Wuilleumier Salemme
Head of Customer Support @Pipefy. She uses her extensive Pipefy knowledge to help users make the best of Pipefy via support and writing informative content pieces. Besides being in charge of support, she's an avid reader, a coffee lover, and a professional photographer.

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