We get many requests from vendors to review the test automation tools. We review some of these tools when we feel something is useful for our readers. We get evaluation version for these reviews, but for most of these tools, the trial version is also available so you can try these tools by yourself. After all, to really get good at something, you have to practice.
Today, we are reviewing one such useful web application performance tool – WAPT Pro.
If you have just started using this tool or want to try it, you will find this review helpful.
WAPT Pro 4.0 is the latest update of the popular web load testing tool developed by SoftLogice Inc. Their previous version was numbered 3.5, so this should be considered a major update. In this review, I will mainly compare these two versions.
Read more => Learn more about WAPT earlier versions here.
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The updated product features generally have the same GUI with all interface elements familiar to WAPT Pro users with only graphical elements somewhat refreshed. The left view is structured a little bit better than before with more pages containing log and report settings.
Performance counters are now managed in a slightly different way providing essentially the same functionality. The number of predefined counters has been extended.
When you create a new scenario, you see the Wizard as before.
It is still targeted for novice users, thus containing a lot of explanations and suggestions. However in this version, they have removed strange and misleading choice between different test types.
This page now lets you select the load type directly. The choice is limited to three options as before. Subsequent Wizard pages are generally unchanged.
The new Recording mode:
The first significant difference from the earlier versions comes to play when you try recording a profile. After you click the “Rec” button on the toolbar, WAPT Pro enters the recording mode, which is completely different in the new version.
All HTTP requests intercepted by the recorder appear in the left view under the “Recorder” folder. They are not directly recorded to the profile as before. All requests, including “page elements” appear there in the raw format.
So if you select a request, you will see only its headers in the right view. This is probably done to create a better visibility of the recording process in general.
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You cannot edit anything in the properties until you finish recording, but you can insert bookmarks to highlight the profile structure and mark logically complete parts. When you click the “Stop Rec” button, WAPT Pro processes the recorded content and converts it to the usual profile, pretty much like it did before.
This conversion takes some time, so you may need to wait few seconds. However, this is a little expense for a great improvement in the recording speed and visibility. With previous versions of WAPT Pro, you could wait much longer during the recording process while guessing if something was still passing through or if the whole thing got stuck and broken already. This was quite annoying and now this problem seems to be resolved.
With WAPT Pro 4.0, SoftLogica has finally managed to create a 64-bit version for the workplace component. I remember that several years ago they added an option to use a 64-bit load agents for large tests. The workplace has remained 32 bit in all versions until now.
While this was not a problem for most users, those who wanted to work with very long profiles (like ones consisting of 5,000 requests) or tests requiring extraordinary data volumes did experience quite dramatic fails when the product crashed because of insufficient virtual memory.
Now this problem is resolved completely and what is quite remarkable, this is done at no additional cost. If you have a WAPT Pro license, you can choose to install either 32 bit or 64-bit version. The 64-bit load agent (called x64 Load Engine) still remains a separately paid extension, though.
The new version is probably more applicable for large and complex tests in other respects as well. All GUI elements work visually faster even when you have thousands of items in the views. And this is not the only improvement in usability. In all previous versions, you were limited to only one workplace window on your system. This was inconvenient, because if you ran a long test, you could not do anything in parallel. Now this limitation is gone. You still can use only one window at a time for running tests and one for recording. However you can open as many windows as you want to browse and compare test results, work with profiles and logs, etc.
Another great achievement is that now you can specify pass/fail criteria for any test. This suggests us that a test is not just an emulation of some real life load.
This is a part of the QA process that should determine if the system meets the performance requirements or not. Now in WAPT Pro, you can specify exact conditions distinguishing between the successful and failed tests.
One of the new features that I do not fully understand is the “performance degradation” metric. You need to set so-called “baseline time” for each request and WAPT will calculate the difference from that baseline time in the test.
In my view, this only produces additional numbers in the report while presenting essentially the same results. Fortunately, you can disable all prompts related to that feature and remove the extra values from the report.
For example, you can find the slowest response in the whole test, or compare error rates of different users. Such things are rarely required in practice, but probably this may be useful in case of very specific complex testing where the functionality of the application may also somehow correlate with its performance.
There are other small new features like ability to ignore errors on specific HTTP requests. Overall my conclusion is that most of us will only see the difference in the product usability. However in some cases, this can make a dramatic benefit. Some users may also like new specific features. For example, integration with Jenkins may be useful for those who use it.
The regular version of WAPT was also updated at the same time with the Pro version and includes some of the features mentioned above.
As usual, a different numeration was used, so despite a higher number, regular WAPT 9.0 corresponds to WAPT Pro 4.0. You can even upgrade one to another for a fixed price without affecting your maintenance period.
By the way, all types of upgrades are now listed on a separate page of SoftLogica website, so you do not need to purchase a new license at full price if you want to refresh your older WAPT or WAPT Pro license.
Let us know if you have any queries about this load testing tool.