Mobile Load: Performance Testing for Mobile Applications

mobile load testing.jpgIn today’s world, it’s not hard to spot a person using a mobile application. You see them just about anywhere you go—from coffee shops to office buildings, family rooms to city parks—people are accessing mobile applications on smartphones, tablets, and other handheld devices.   Mobile applications are much more than a trend these days; it’s a way of life that many people can’t live without. I often wonder what life with mobile technology will be like in 20 years.

Smartphones have become our go to devices when we want to map directions, find a restaurant, look up flight details, or just simply check email. Consumer applications and games were the first to hit the market on mobile phones, and enterprise applications followed soon after. It appears that everything is now accessible by mobile. Banking, retail, and even kids are going mobile!

 

It’s no surprise that smartphones have become the dominant phone platforms

 

IDC recently forecast an increase in annual mobile application downloads on mobile devices from 87.8 billion in 2013 to 187 billion in 2017. End-user revenue associated with IDC's mobile download projections is forecast to increase from $10.3 billion in 2013 to $25.2 billion in 2017.

 

Smartphone users are ready, willing, and able to connect online to consume a company’s goods, services, or internal assets. But smartphones aren’t the only devices that users want to access your applications from, and this complicates application development. With the growing popularity of tablets, users want to be able to access their applications and information from anywhere, at any time, and on any device they have.

 

While the platform to access these applications has changed from the computer to a smartphone, the age-old questions still remains: how do you test your application to ensure that it will perform as expected? There are so many factors you have to consider when developing for these different platforms:

  • How do you account for the difference in how your system behaves when responding to mobile traffic rather than to Web traffic?
  • What about the various bandwidth conditions?
  • What about hops across the sky?
  • How do you ensure that the application will not fail your users?

A new set of challenges

 

All of these changes in the industry present a new set of challenges to meet mobile users’ expectations for a high quality application experience. Mobile applications bring a wide and diverse set of performance validation challenges that go beyond those of performance testing in a hard-wired world. A key point here is that mobile devices don’t simply imitate the desktop environment—they have their own set of requirements. These challenges include:

  • A plethora of devices: Compared with desktop PCs, mobile devices come with many more variables and many more moving parts that can influence the end-to-end experience for users. Connections can come from cell phones, tablets, and various other devices with widely different capabilities. There is also a diverse and growing range of platforms used in the mobile world, including Android, BlackBerry, iPhone, and Microsoft® Windows® Phone. To complicate matters further, there are many existing versions of platforms in use today. In many cases, companies need to transform or create from scratch new applications that can offer their goods and services via one if not all of the most common mobile platforms.
  • Mobile-specific sites (m.sitename.com): Despite users’ expectations for a desktop-like experience, mobile devices typically have slower CPUs, smaller screens, and less memory than the typical desktop PC. To provide a good experience to their users, most companies need to modify their applications and rework their interfaces to tailor them to the limitations of mobile devices.
  • Mobile meets agile: As companies embrace the mobile platform, they are pushing out updated application versions at an alarmingly fast rate. If this is the case in your organization, this rapid pace of development can overwhelm your QA department and threaten application quality. So how do you ensure a quality release without slowing down the fast pace of development?
  • Hops across the sky: Another key issue revolves around various network bandwidths. You need to be able to effectively emulate various bandwidth rates, since your end users may come from a variety of networks with various bandwidths, such as 3G, 4G, and LTE connections.

To comprehensively test your mobile applications, you need solutions that will simulate various bandwidths, latency and other real-life network conditions. You also need to be able to test geographically dispersed loads to accurately represent real-world traffic.

 

The HP Mobile Performance Solution

HP solves the mobile testing problem with a comprehensive, out-of-the-box solution for testing the performance of mobile applications. The solution is built on the tried and tested capabilities of HP LoadRunner software and HP Performance Center software, including HP TruClient technology.  

 

The HP mobile performance testing solution includes two new protocols:

  • HP Mobile TruClient: Built on top of the innovative new HP TruClient technology, HP Mobile TruClient helps you record your browser-based applications directly through the browser. It makes scripting and testing browser-based applications very fast, easy, and robust.
  • HP Mobile Applications: For native mobile applications, or for any other application that can’t be recorded using HP Mobile TruClient, the HP Mobile Application protocol lets you build Web scripts using agents on the device or through emulators.

In addition,HP LoadRunner is one of the industry’s most popular performance testing solutions and is trusted by millions of users. You can download HP LoadRunner here to try it for yourself.

 

LoadRunner mobile recorder app.pngLoadRunner helps you prevent performance problems by detecting bottlenecks before a system deployment or upgrade. HP LoadRunner allows you to load test a broad range of applications, including Web 2.0, Enterprise Resource Planning or Customer Relationship Management (ERP or CRM), and legacy applications—on traditional platforms as well as new platforms such as cloud and mobile. It also helps you identify and reduce performance bottlenecks and obtain an accurate picture of end-to-end system performance before going live. This allows you to verify that applications meet specified performance requirements and also avoid issues in production. HP also supports comprehensive network emulation through integrations with HP Network Virtualization.

 

Mobile users have high expectations. Even though they are connecting via a diverse range of devices—that typically have less bandwidth and computing power than most low-end PCs—mobile users still expect fast response times, secure connections, and consistently good service quality. And if those expectations aren’t met, users are likely to vote with their feet and walk away from the use of the application.

 

This reality makes performance testing for mobile applications not just a nice thing to have, but an essential activity for success in the age of the always-on enterprise. Remember people expect instantaneous access to your organization and the services you provide.

Ensure that your mobile apps get 5 stars!

Watch a webinar to learn more: Tips, Tricks, and Tools for Mobile Performance Testing

Be sure to send us your insights here and at: @HPLoadRunner!

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About the Author
WW Sr Product Marketing Manager for HP ITPS VP of Apps & HP Load Runner


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