Test throughout the Entire Development Process: An Interview with Andreas Grabner


I think people learn now with more and more competition on the mobile app market, it is crucial that you have a good, quality product. One example was this year, the FIFA World Cup, soccer World Cup, there was the FIFA World Cup app, the official one. We looked at this app two weeks prior to the world cup and it got, I think, one of the worst ratings I've ever seen for an app. Obviously, FIFA had the advantage that they're the only one that can produce an official app. I think a lot of them, a lot of the users still went with one of the apps that somebody else built. Because it just worked. They probably lost a lot of revenue that they could have made with some ads in there.

I think people understand more and more now. It's a very competitive market if you are building bad-quality apps, you get bad ratings, much faster than it used to before. And therefore, nobody will ever look at your app and they’ll then just go to the competition.

The things, I think, things are changing now. People are understanding it's not enough to push something out, but when you push something out it has to have quality. Because otherwise, you'll lose your reputation and sometimes you don't have a second chance.

Josiah: Absolutely. I don't want to give away too much of your STARWEST talk, but what one metric would you say that you're going to share during your discussion do you think will surprise most testers and developers?

Andreas: Actually, I think I already took away a little bit of the surprise because I already talked about the wrong things that we recognized and saw and I see with every customer that we interact with. It is the number of database statements being executed for a single action on the page. Sometimes it's just really hard to understand for some people what actually happens within the application, because they don't go to the database directly as a developer.

All developers, most of developers I would assume, never write a single line sequence statement but they just use frameworks to do their work for them. They have no clue of what's going on underneath the hood. So for us, whenever we go to customers that come to us and say, "Hey, we need your help. All our applications don't perform well. We know we waited too long with all the testing and all that stuff."

We look at that, and they analyze the software and its typically the sheer amount of clearing the database. A number of duplicated statements to get the same data all over again not using caching. I think this is a key metric, a key metric for me. If I can just chime in on another metric for more on the web developers, here we see that typically pages get overloaded with too many images, too many JavaScript files. Too many resources on a single page and need to get downloaded in order to display the initial page content or the initial message that people want to push out to their end-users to go to their website.

I know we all live in a world where we want to leverage the web and everything is bright and shiny. Everything is web 2.0 and HX. But, in the end, it's about making sure that the end-user who is spoiled now, with Google and other great websites that work pretty well, they're spoiled, because we want to be, people want to have fast performance and so overloading pages are not good. The number of resources on a page that need to get downloaded, in order to get the first visual impression, is a key metric that I want to keep low.

Josiah: Fantastic. Well, I really do appreciate your time, Andy. It's been really nice talking to you and meeting you. I'm looking forward to actually meeting you in person and hearing more of what you say about all this at STARWEST in October.

Andreas: Looking forward to it, too.

Josiah: All right. You have a great day.

Andreas: Thank you, you too. Bye. 

Andreas Grabner

Andreas Grabner has more than fifteen years of experience as an architect and developer in Java, .NET, and Web 2.0 with a strong focus on application performance. At Compuware APM (formerly dynaTrace) Andi is a technology strategist, helping companies improve their applications’ performance across the development lifecycle by embracing ideas of continuous delivery and DevOps. He is a frequent speaker on software performance, testing, and architecture topics at technology conferences including Velocity, STAREAST, STARWEST, and JavaOne. Andi regularly publishes articles and blogs on apmblog.compuware.com. Before dynaTrace, Andi was an engineer and product manager for Segue Software and Borland on their Silk Product Line.

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