OK, so HPE has launched the latest version of their market-leading performance testing tool, but what does that mean for me as a performance tester?
I’ve been a user of LoadRunner software since last century (which makes me feel somewhat “long in the tooth”). The testing world has changed a great deal since I started out. Each time a new version is released I’m keen to find out what new features have been squeezed into the latest codebase to see how they’ll help me as a tester now.
A comprehensive list of new features in this release is available on the HPE LoadRunner “What’s New” Page. The ones that I’m most interested in are:
Git integration – I’ve maintained a Git repository of useful sample/example LoadRunner scripts for some time now and I’m not a big fan of conventional source control software like Git for Windows. I don’t come from a developer background and all this “branching” and “forking” doesn’t sound like fun to me. If this is well implemented, I can see it delivering real improvements to agile, distributed test-teams who want to maintain a core library of scripts.
64-bit replay support – this is something that testers have been demanding for some time. Personally, I’ve never needed it, but it will be interesting to see if this changes the number of vUsers that load generators can support, or LoadRunner’s ability to run larger, more complex scripts than before. I’ll definitely be asking about this at HPE Discover.
HTTP Video Streaming (HTML5, HLS) support – Last year I tested a lecture streaming site for a University using LoadRunner 12.0. It worked, but I had to get some help from a colleague to write code to handle different bit rates and realistically simulate video downloads. Native support would have been a great help here and I’m looking forward to trying this out.
HTTP/2 support – I haven’t had to test a HTTP/2 site yet, but as more sites move over to this newer, faster standard, all vendors will have to support this protocol and it’s good to see HPE add this feature natively. It’ll be interesting to see how PUSH technology is handled in LoadRunner.
I’ve been happily been using previous (unsupported) LoadRunner 12.x on Windows 10 for some time but it’s good to see official support for Windows 10 and Microsoft Edge Browser.
I spotted that there is a new “Comparison and Merging” tool mentioned in the Read Me. Historically I’ve always used third party software such as “Beyond Compare” to compare multiple recordings of a script to identify values that should be correlated. After editing scripts it can sometimes be hard to work out which part of the edited script matches a new recording, if this new feature helps with script maintenance, I’ll be pleased.
It looks like there are numerous TruClient improvements. New 'step' and 'end' events have been added and improvements to object identification are welcome. My favourite TruClient improvement is the ability to skip ‘waitsteps’ during replay. This should improve productivity when replaying and tweaking scripts before incorporating them into tests.
VUGen isn’t the only part of LoadRunner that’s been improved. The Analysis tool has a new UI, Controller supports a new cloud provider (Digital Ocean, adding to the existing support for AWS, Google Compute Engine and Azure) and the Controller also has a new compatibility checker to ensure that load generators are compatible with the test scripts. Improvements to VTS, the Help libraries and integration with HPE and third-party products add up to a large number of improvements in this release. Now I’ve downloaded it, I’m looking forward to giving it a “test drive”.