WebLoad Strengthens Tests

By Jim Rapoza  |  Posted 2003-08-11 Print this article Print

Upgrade gains impressive script editing environment.

With the release of WebLoad 6.0 last month, RadView Software Ltd. has added more significant improvements and additions to its core Web application testing suite than in any previous revision, making it the most significant upgrade to the product in some time.

WebLoad 6.0
A major upgrade to RadViews (www.radview.com) core Web application testing product, WebLoad 6.0 gains some welcome features that will make it possible to hone Web testing to meet just about any need. With an excellent visual script editing environment and improved reporting options, WebLoad continues to be one of the best options weve seen for Web application testing.
  • PRO: Excellent visual script editing environment; good standards support; improved performance metrics.
  • CON: Usability quirks in console; clients run only on Windows systems.

    Empirix Inc.s E-Test Mercury Interactive Corp.s Astra LoadTest Segue Software Inc.s Silktest
    However, although much has been improved, many aspects have stayed the same—if previous versions of WebLoad didnt meet your needs, its unlikely that WebLoad 6.0 will change your mind.

    Still, many of the new features in WebLoad serve to improve a product eWEEK Labs has already found to be among the best Web application testing tools around. We especially appreciated the increased statistics options and the very good new test script editing environment.

    Although WebLoad can test pretty much any application and Web server running on any platform, the individual WebLoad component applications will run only on Windows systems. WebLoad is priced starting at $7,595, and the price increases based on the number of virtual clients tested.

    A Fresh Start

    immediately after launching WebLoad 6.0, we were presented with the new launch window, which let us choose which WebLoad capability we needed without having to dig through the often-cluttered menu of WebLoad items. Typically, when starting a test of a Web application, the first step is to create a test script, or agenda, as RadView calls it. This area is where WebLoad is probably most improved.

    The recording of our paths as we browsed through Web applications worked pretty much the same as in previous versions, although WebLoad did a good job of handling a pretty wide variety of applications and client-side scripts.

    WebLoad 6.0 really stood out when it came time to edit the scripts. In fact, the new Visual Agenda Authoring Tool provides one of the best environments weve seen for creating and editing test scripts (see screen, Page 57).

    Using this tool, we could carry out a wide number of edits and tests on our scripts. WebLoad provides multiple views and several testing, preview and debugging options. It also has Web service and XML support and improved form data handling. A new Optimizer interface made it possible for advanced users to do even more complex editing of test scripts.

    Previous versions of WebLoad provided good feedback during tests but had limited reporting options for analyzing the tests once they were completed. Version 5.0 provided better final reporting. Version 6.0s reporting provides a more accurate assessment of the effects of the load tests on servers and databases performance. Using the new Performance Measurement Manager, we could designate which statistics to measure, and the tool provided a set of prebuilt settings for many popular application and Web servers, databases, and operating systems.

    One of the least-changed areas of WebLoad is the main console interface. It still provides lots of good feedback during tests, and we liked the new live alert options. However, some interface quirks that bothered us before, such as the tedious, nonintuitive processes for setting time and load balances for virtual clients, are still problematic.

    Although WebLoad isnt specifically designed for use as a constant monitoring tool for live Web sites and applications, it does provide some features that work well for this type of usage. The new alerts included in Version 6.0 made it possible to receive updates when specific performance events occur on the live site. In addition, we could use regression testing to see performance over time.

    East Coast Technical Director Jim Rapoza can be reached at jim_rapoza@ziffdavis.com.

    Jim Rapoza, Chief Technology Analyst, eWEEK.For nearly fifteen years, Jim Rapoza has evaluated products and technologies in almost every technology category for eWEEK. Mr Rapoza's current technology focus is on all categories of emerging information technology though he continues to focus on core technology areas that include: content management systems, portal applications, Web publishing tools and security. Mr. Rapoza has coordinated several evaluations at enterprise organizations, including USA Today and The Prudential, to measure the capability of products and services under real-world conditions and against real-world criteria. Jim Rapoza's award-winning weekly column, Tech Directions, delves into all areas of technologies and the challenges of managing and deploying technology today.

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