We talk a lot about continuous and consistent load testing for your ongoing projects. (Continuous load testing means you integrate it into your continuous integration pipelines; consistent means you always do it.) What we don’t talk about as much is when you should be load testing your new projects - not your ongoing ones.
Let’s say you’re starting a new project. When is the right time to start load testing? And how can you build your project so it’s the most friendly to load testing? Here are a few tips.
First, if you’re just building sample proof-of-concept sites or apps, you may be less concerned with performance. You might be creating simple code that strings together some basic API calls and a basic UI just to gauge an idea. Or you might be doing some early idea exploration to see what might realistically be done. At this very early stage, much of the code base will be discarded, and features may come and go. Thus, load testing is much less important unless you’re specifically testing different components, APIs or even cloud providers. If you’re using this sample code as a testing vehicle, go ahead and load test. Otherwise, it’s less important here.
That early, idea exploration code is, however, the only place where load testing is less important. Otherwise, you do need to plan for and conduct load testing.
As you build your app or site, we recommend you start load testing as soon as you have even the most basic capabilities and functionality in place. The moment any piece of it can run, it’s time to gauge its performance. This sets a significant baseline for you - you can compare this early version’s performance to that of later versions.
Similarly, as you add functionality to your project, you can see what functionality affects performance the most. You may find that a particular UI idea or execution has a dramatic effect on performance once there are more than 100 simulated (virtual) users, for example.
Starting early has another benefit: since you’ve been load testing throughout builds, you have also been developing load testing scripts throughout those builds, making your later builds much easier to script.
It’s easy to think that the theoretically ideal time to load test is when your project is feature complete and all set for release. Realistically, however, that time never comes. Today’s projects are much too flexible and deliver too quickly for that to happen.
Instead, we recommend that the best time to start load testing your new project is as soon as possible. Then, test continuously and consistently for a better performing project.
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