By Francis Chu  |  Posted 2004-06-07 Print this article Print

Empirix Inc. extends the capability of its e-Test Suite with Version 6.8, which adds support for testing Web services and improves load generating performance.

One of the biggest improvements to e-Test Suite is its ability to test SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol)-based Web services. To get this capability, organizations will have to purchase e-Test Suite for Web Services, sold separately from the base e-Test Suite. The module will let IT managers build test scripts from a WSDL (Web Services Description Language) file using a new Web services script-generation wizard.

E-Test Suite 6.8 can be installed on Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows 2003 machines with at least an Intel Corp. Pentium III processor, 128MB of memory and 300MB of disk space. We installed e-Test Suite on a 2.5GHz Pentium 4 machine running Windows XP with 512MB of memory.

E-Test Suite is licensed by the number of virtual users and is priced starting at $20,000 for 50 virtual users. Included at this price are the e-Tester scripting tool and the e-Load testing tool, e-Load Controller and the default server monitors. E-Test Suite for Web Services is priced depending on load; for 50 virtual users, the module costs $6,000.

eWEEK Labs tests show that e-Test Suite provides a solid set of core Web testing modules that can provide quick Web application assessment out of the box. E-Test Suite will be a solid tool for quality assurance and Web application testing in the enterprise.

However, we would like to see improvements in the usability of the suites various interfaces. We commend Empirix for keeping the applications interfaces clean and simple, but we would like to see the addition of wizards that would guide users through scripting configurations and load generation setup. Empirix officials said usability improvements are planned for the next release of e-Test, Version 7.0, due this month. (Segue Software Inc.s SilkPerformer 6.5 Enterprise Edition, reviewed here, includes these kinds of wizards.)

E-Test Suites tool set includes the e-Tester Visual Scripts recorder, which can be used for functional and regression Web testing.

The e-Tester module integrates with the e-Load module to generate Web loads for application stress testing and for scalability assessment.

We like the improvements Empirix has made in e-Loads debugging and editing capabilities. For example, testers can now compare a page in a script with the display page in the Virtual User Results Display, allowing problems to be spotted more easily.

The e-Tester module provides good feedback, displaying in the Playback Results Pane whether pages run by the test scripts passed or failed.

The e-Tester module also provides HTML reports that offer useful statistics and let us quickly drill down into failures during tests.

The e-Load testing tool let us specify the characteristics of virtual users, including connection speed, browser emulation (Netscape or Internet Explorer) and whether the user would cache data.

The ServerStats tool collects real-time performance metrics from various applications under test.

There havent been many enhancements made to ServerStats in this version—the biggest is that a new stand-alone mode allowed ServerStats to collect data without initiating an e-Load session. Users can also run ServerStats to gather performance data from their Web servers, databases or application servers without having to run e-Load, and Empirix has added handles for collecting data from Siebel Systems Inc. application servers.

The data collected using ServerStats can be fed to the e-Reporter tool for in-depth data analysis. We used e-Reporters browser-based interface to create custom reports that were useful in helping us correlate data for determining Web application performance bottlenecks. IT managers can use the reports generated by e-Reporter for capacity planning.

The e-Manager Enterprise module provides a silo for storing testing scenarios and testing requirements and for managing automatic and manual test cases. Accessible by desktop clients or over the Web, e-Manager allowed us to keep track of testing policies and schedule a series of automated tests.

Technical Analyst Francis Chu can be reached at francis_chu@ziffdavis.com.

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