Although we’ve made great strides in application performance management, the need for adequate testing remains. In fact, not even the most sophisticated IDEs can spare developers from this critical step of software programming. They may have simplified coding and automated interface design, but testing has always been and will always be an external exercise that rests solely on the developer. Here’s why application performance testing is so important.
Slow application performance can increase costs and ruin a company’s reputation
It doesn’t matter if you offer your web application as freeware or as a commercial product. Buggy software can slow performance and increase costs by (1) delaying release dates, (2) suspending development of other projects, (3) requiring paid overtime and/or (4) necessitating refunds to angry customers. Complicating the situation even further, dissatisfied customers may publicly express their discontent and ruin a product’s potential to develop a devoted following. Even worse, the developer’s reputation may suffer as well.
Improper application management can lead to off-label usage
At some point in an application’s life-cycle, an end-user will run the app in an unintended way. When pursing off-label usage of an app, users typically feel frustrated as functionality and performance of the application suffer. When managing the life-cycle progress, it is imperative to have an application performance monitoring (APM) system in place for testing. An APM system can catch off-label usage and alert the managing IT application engineer to the issue. Programmers do not need to accommodate every unintended action that users take, however, they should assume a significant number of end-users will encounter application performance and functionality issues in the first cycle of product release, and implement an application performance monitoring strategy to help manage this process.
The application may not perform correctly on all platforms
We all know that a single website can take on a completely new appearance in different browsers. Colors will be off, carefully lined HTML DIVs will be askew, and CSS specified fonts will disappear in favor of installed typefaces. Web applications suffer from the same effects, making things like cross browser testing absolutely imperative. One of the best ways to monitor and track errors with cross-compatibility issues when browsers are updating is to use a web application monitoring service. There are numerous vendors and companies that offer these services, so they’re readily available and not too expensive. One of my favorites is Kiwi Monitor, which offers both a free and paid application monitoring tool.
One thing to note about cross platform issues is that an app’s GUI isn’t the only issue affected here. Both browsers and the servers that they access can change the way a coded app operates, which is why developers have to “either code separate versions for each browser and/or server combo, or program a single app with conditional statements that can address a variety of environments and their specific needs” according to one of the more popular hosting and performance websites.
It’s important to remember that the need for testing increases with every modification. Never assume that fixing one bug is a sufficient repair job because chances are, a single change can alter a significant number of other areas in an application and inadvertently create additional bugs. So to summarize, in the app development cycle it is important to implement an application performance monitoring tool and then test, test, and test again!