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What a Performance

 

At CAST 2022 Eric Proegler delivered a keynote speech packed with information, audience participation, and humour.  

Anyone Can Performance Test?!? he said, and then showed a roomful of sceptical testers that he wasn't lying by having us hammer the WOPR web site while he monitored the back end.

In a second round we gathered stats from our browsers's dev tools and shared the findings into a Google sheet. From that we were able to start seeing some potential patterns in the speed at which pages were loading on the client side for different kinds of devices and networks. We also got a hint that those accessing the server at different times might be experiencing different performance.

Eric then introduced us to WebPageTest where, for free, you can request a device, a connection type, a geographical location, and a URL, push a button, and get back data on page load times, accessibility scores, and other metrics for your chosen combination.  He continued to monitor WOPR on server side and, although the page didn't quite go down, we did see latency increase.

While this was going on, we were also getting a history lesson, on the evolution of performance testing from a back-end, bare-metal, low-bandwidth focus to one looking primarily at mobile, front-end, and broadband. 

The technology has changed on both sides, with servers becoming software commodities capable of scaling on demand while clients have become heavier and heavier with more and more time spent in rendering.

To finish, Eric reminded us that this trajectory wasn't predestined and today's future isn't either. The way to adapt to whatever is coming is to stay interested, have fun, and keep learning. 

And so are we all performance testers now? No, but we found it interesting, we had fun, and we learned.

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