středa 21. září 2016

Release 7.0 and The Vision

I would like to officially welcome you to 2016 autumn/fall (depending where you are). The days are getting shorter and the weather is becoming more moody. Fortunately, there are even good and exciting news. The number 7 in the PerfCake version number is not only lucky. It also introduces 57 total enhancements and 17 bug fixes. We spent extraordinary efforts on bringing the best performance testing tool we could to you. Feel free to download now!

Except for code enhancements, we also completed our guides (Users' Guide and Developers' Guide) to carry the best up-to-date information. In addition to this, we realized that, first, performance testing is not an easy job and there aren't too many resources on how to do that properly, and second, some scenarios in PerfCake that can be especially powerful aren't very obvious on first sight. To overcome these difficulties, we started writing two books on LeanPub. First is Performance Engineering and the second is PerfCake: Performance Testing Scenarios. The first one will ask you to contribute a small amount of money to support our work, the second one is and will be for free forever, however, small contributions will be gratefully appreciated.

I would like to use this opportunity to also introduce you to our vision of future of performance testing and what we do to make it happen. For a long time, we know that we suffered in the area of development of performance test scenarios for PerfCake. No matter how powerful the XML is, we need something more visually appealing. Currently, an IDE plugin is under development that will bring you not just a scenario editor but also a debugging tool. You will be able to use the new debugging facility in PerfCake and monitor an actual test execution.

Regarding runtime, we would like to work more in a way of performance testing as a service. Users could use a Web UI to connect their favorite cloud environment (e.g. EC2, Azul, GCE, OpenStack...) and use the machines in the cloud as agents to run the performance scenario in a cluster determining geographical locations and other attributes.

The results would be then stored in a PerfRepo which is already a part of our portfolio. The PerfRepo is undergoing a rework to cover more common use cases in fewer clicks and be more user friendly. Also the integration between PerfCake and PerfRepo will be more seamless and automated. The results will be stored for later examination, comparison between various runs, and reporting. Again as part of our Web UI suite.

Regarding the PerfCake core, we are not aiming at any "shake the world" changes for spring release. Unless there is any demand on specific features, we will cover the issues currently open on Github and concentrate more on the books, documentation, video blogs and viral marketing in general. The development efforts will be spent more on the supporting tooling.

Just for curiosity, the code name of this release is Raspberry Moon according to a full moon we had a chance to see while thinking about the code name. It was a beautiful full moon low on the horizon and it had a nice red-pink (like raspberries) color.

pondělí 14. prosince 2015

PerfRepo in Docker

Using PerfRepo now became much easier than it was before. How so? It comes to Docker. To run an instance of PerfRepo is as simple as starting 2 docker containers - one with PerfRepo web application and the second with the DB - and link them together.

So, let's have a look at how to run PerfRepo with Docker...
  • Start a DB using perfcake/perfrepo-postgresql image with container name perfrepo-db:
$ docker run -d --name perfrepo-db perfcake/perfrepo-postgresql:v1.4

  • Start PerfRepo container from perfcake/perfrepo image at a specific port (e.g. 5000) and link it with the previously created DB container (the link alias needs to be perfrepo-db):
$ docker run -d -p 5000:8080 --name perfrepo --link perfrepo-db perfcake/perfrepo:v1.4
  • Verify Docker containers are running:
$ docker ps
CONTAINER ID   IMAGE                               COMMAND                  CREATED          STATUS         PORTS                    NAMES
251863199f81   perfcake/perfrepo:v1.4              "/root/jboss-eap-6.4/"   4 seconds ago    Up 3 seconds>8080/tcp   perfrepo
baaeacfd98f5   perfcake/perfrepo-postgresql:v1.4   "/usr/bin/postgres -D"   35 minutes ago   Up 35 minutes  5432/tcp                 perfrepo-db

PerfRepo should be running on the port set in the previous step (e.g. 5000) http://localhost:5000. The default user and password are:
  • login: perfrepouser
  • password: perfrepouser1.
And that's all it takes...

The docker images are ready for you in the Docker Hub so have fun!!

čtvrtek 25. června 2015

CzechTest 2015

This time, we would like to share our talk with you in advance. Let us introduce you the planned Friday talk at CzechTest, the presentation and the description of the demo. You won't be able to have the unique experience the demo will bring to live participants. We will be sharing recording later of course. But you know, you won't be able to say "I was there".
You can find the presentation at Google Drive already.
Let me start with a short live questionnaire.
  1. Have you ever considered performance of the software you were developing?
  2. Have you ever used any performance measurement tool?
  3. Which one?
  4. How was your experience with the tool you have used?
  5. Have you considered the performance of the tool itself?
What we have discovered over the time is that most people use jMeter. Which is a fact we do not understand at all. It is not easy to use, it has cumbersome user interface with ugly design, it is not very user friendly. Plus it does not have that great performance at all.
Why didn't you consider PerfCake?
It is the first open-source performance measurement... well, I can even say the first performance measurement tool ever created with all the critical aspects in mind. We take care of user experience, ease of use, the minimal footprint and great performance. It can be used as a load generator, to run stress tests (finding the maximal application throughput), to run soak tests (endurance testing), to validate application responses under stress, to generate nice chart report and many more.
All of this can be done very fast. With the highest performance among such tools. We have measured this.
From our experience, performance testing is very complex area. Developing a single performance measurement tool that fits all is like trying to sew trousers that fits all. Impossible. If you do not want to make them extra large. But this is not fitting, this is clumsy.
Many tiny details need to be incorporated for individual requirements. Instead of trying to make everyone happy we decided to use a different concept. We do not want to develop a user interface that can do all but nothing because nobody understands it.
Instead, we have developed a simple, stable and reliable platform with well documented interfaces that can be easily extended.
In the end of the day, just people with developers' skills run performance tests. So why we don't let them develop what they need. They know better. You know better!

We owe you, our happy users, a complex Developers' guide at the moment. We promise to finish it for release 5.0. Should you need any help, you could use the contact form at our web pages.
Let's have a look at few examples. These should demonstrate in deeds why we believe we are presenting you the best performance measurement tool ever created.
First, we will show you how to easily develop your first performance test in a nice user interface in IntelliJ Idea. So to give you some eye candy.
Next, for more advanced guys, we will show you how to get latest updates on the code before the 5.0 release. And we will show you the ease of use from the command line. The command line is nothing to be afraid of, especially with PerfCake.
Having fallen in love with the command line, we will conclude with developing a slightly more complicated scenario using our cool almost-spoken-like DSL language. We can verify several HTTP echo implementations in your favorite languages. Finally, we will have a look at a more complex scenario with sequences and validators.

The examples can be found at GitHub.

pondělí 27. dubna 2015

University release 4.1

We have been invited to teach a lecture on performance testing at Faculty of Informatics, Masaryk University. The choice of the performance testing tool to use during the practical part was clear (PerfCake if it wasn't obvious). We already knew about a couple of things that were broken in 4.0. So for the demo to be as smooth as possible we have decided to create a dedicated University release, numbered 4.1.
It has five bug fixes, three enhancements and we also updated our web pages. All our friends and users are strongly recommended to update to version 4.1 to avoid any possible inconveniences.
Did the lecture went all that smooth in the end? Of course not. What was the deal breaker? The students were supposed to run PerfCake on a commercial operating system by Microsoft. This has not been tested thoroughly by us. We found out that the main script in the binary release works only when executed from the main installation directory. Plus some more minor things that we were able to overcome. Some of them are already fixed in the devel branch but we are unlikely to create another release now. Possibly later in the summer as we are still hoping to be able to show PerfCake in public again.

neděle 19. dubna 2015

PerfCake has a cool new logo

As we already announced on Twitter, PerfCake has a cool new logo! It is also available in SVG format with its variants.
The previous logo we used to use was fine. We needed something for a beginning project and Pavel created the original one quickly. Btw. did you know that it depicted an inner side of a cake cut from a close lookup? :-)
As PerfCake matured, we knew that we are going to need something that resonates more with us. We have a stable core so it really deserved something nice. We also tweaked our web page a little bit. But more changes are likely to come to make it even more simple.
We are especially excited about the new logo because it enables us to further develop the brand. We created a nice presentation template already. Come to a public event to see it in action! We can now create a boxed version of PerfCake, we can create cool stuff like t-shirts... The possibilities are now unlimited!
Any feedback on the new logo is highly appreciated!

pondělí 23. března 2015

From 4.0 to 4.1

As usually, we celebrated spring equinox with an even numbered release of PerfCake. We managed to release a couple of days earlier. The main reason for that was that we had a planned vacation for the release period.
This release has some really cool features that makes PerfCake even easier for usage. Actually there are 26 of enhancements and new features in this release. Just have a look on the list to see if you could make a use of them.
Except for these cool features there is one thing we are especially proud of in this release. This is its stability. We finally managed to get rid of all the raise conditions appearing now and then and bothering us constantly. I do not want to claim that there aren't any now. But there aren't any we are aware of. And there is a fair chance that nobody will discover a new one (until we change the code ;-)).
Unfortunately, bad things happen and there will be version 4.1 soon. Especially due to a bug that prevents smooth shell script usage randomly.
We also decided to fix several other issues. This is mainly because we want to get ready for a possibility to present PerfCake publicly soon again. All information on that will be shared once we have an official confirmation. Stay tuned!

neděle 8. února 2015

DevConf 2015

This year, we were accepted with our talk at DevConf as well. We always try to show something new. So we worked hard to be able to show major cool features.
The first is the ability to automatically generate chart reports using Google Charts. This is provided in the form of a ChartDestination. PerfCake also automatically combines recent results with any previously existing in the output directory which gives you an automatic comparison.
We have demonstrated this with several HTTP Reverse Echo clients, each of which was implemented in a different language. We reused the same scenario to show the user friendliness of PerfCake and the fact that PerfCake does not care about the language the measured application is developed in.

The second major feature was automatic memory leak detection. This works only for Java currently, however, we were able to detect all the leaks.
The way we do presentations is that we try to evolve over time. We try hard to create something new for anybody visiting all of our presentation still have some fun. The thing is that we did not see many people coming back and listening to new things. After this last presentation we are likely to reevaluate our approach and make sure we always presents the basics. If you could provide your opinions on that, we would love to take them into account.