Measure and Improve Frontend Performance by Using Test Automation

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Automated performance testing can help detect the harmful effects of code changes on application performance. Learn how to use tools like Lighthouse and Web Core Vitals in your CI and set performance thresholds to maintain optimal frontend performance in this session.

Ramona Schwering
Ramona Schwering
22 min
11 Dec, 2023

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Video Summary and Transcription

The Talk focuses on the importance of testing and gathering information for building good applications. It highlights the use of test automation for performance monitoring and logging for performance measurement. The Talk also discusses the impact of performance on user engagement and search engine rankings. It emphasizes the use of Cypress plugins for monitoring performance metrics and setting thresholds for tests. Overall, the Talk emphasizes the value of test automation tools in providing valuable information at a low cost.

1. Introduction to Testing and Information

Short description:

Hello, everyone at TestJS Summit this time. I'm so glad to be here again. Today, I'm coming home with an interesting discovery on performance. I'm passionate about testing and believe that information is king. Gathering information is important for building good applications. Make it work, make it right, make it fast - the order of building good applications.

Hello, everyone at TestJS Summit this time. I'm so glad to be here again because the TestJS summit was one of the first conferences I was honored to be a speaker at. It's just like coming home today.

Today, I'm actually coming home here with a little interesting discovery I want to showcase to you when it gets to my testing experience. If you might have guessed already, it's on performance. Well, before that, real quick, my name is Ramona. I'm working as a Developer Advocate at Offs Zero. Apart from that, I'm a Google Developer Expert in web technology and a Cypress Ambassador. As you might have guessed, I think I'm, yeah, at least I'm passionate when it comes to testing. Yeah, it shouldn't be a surprise that I'm here to talk about testing today.

So well, especially when it comes to testing, there are some things which are really important. And yeah, this little thing, Content is King, which I hope I have enough for this 20 minutes. It was done by Steve Bommer, I guess. He's doing lots of quotes, which are memorable. But well, let's change this quote a little bit. Because, if Content is King, Information is King like, doubled or even more. And it's not just because I like to play video games and this is the title of a World of Warcraft quest. But I, well, find interesting. At least I like those little sidequests where, for example in this case, a goblin vendor named Goodskitch wants to have some Krukal skin in exchange for information. So, it's not only in video games that information is really important. Gathering information, having a good grasp on what happens inside of your application, is really important. Not only in gaming, but also when it comes to testing.

So, well, I guess this should be clear for most of the time. But, well, why do we need to have information on our application? Because we want to build good applications, right? So, you might have stumbled upon this quote by Comeback, which says, make it work, make it right, make it fast, in that particular order. So, just to dive into it a little bit, make it work is self-explanatory. So try to solve a problem at hand, which might build a good application. So, well, just make it work when it comes to your requirements. If you are able to do that, do the second thing, make it maintainable, make it right. So, try to mind non-functional requirements. Mind clean code, for example, to make it not only work, but work the right way and work the way that you still want to work with your application, let's say, one year from now.

2. Using Test Automation for Performance Monitoring

Short description:

And last but not least, make it perform, make it fast, make it that the user is not annoyed by using your application. We can use automation to support us in all of those three points, even performance. Test automation can be used for monitoring performance and gathering information. Logging is the art of keeping a log or a list of events that occur in your computer system, such as problems, errors, or just information in the current operations.

And last but not least, make it perform, make it fast, make it that the user is not annoyed by using your application. And yes, of course, the first point, make it work is pretty easily achieved with testing. So, if you test your application, you know that it's working as intended. The second one, make it right can be supported by tooling, for example, if we had good tests, making it easier to write good code. And I don't want to start with all the linches, all the static analysis tools you can run, like phpStan, ESlearnStyle and whatever. But, well, we have good support when it comes to first, like, make it work, make it right. But what is with the third point, make it fast and perform and basically make it feel flawless? Well, make your application perform seems really daunting, because as I said, you don't have that much tool support yet. And well, even the point, the steps of speeding up your application code wise is really difficult, because you could ask, like, who has time for that, who has the power to do that? And may it be because of pressure by clients, but especially head space inside of yourself. And do we get the time for improving the performance or maintaining it? Because even getting all the information you need on your application to monitor performance, doing all those measures locally takes lots of time. And all of this together seems really daunting. So what if I told you some interesting point that we don't need to feel lost. We don't need to feel so drained or scared. What if I told you that we can use automation to support us in all of those three points? Even performance. Not only working, not only making it right, making it perform. What if I told you you can use test automation for that? Not only trying to learn GitHub Actions to implement some tools to help us to monitor performance, but using everything we already have. Test automation we already have for our project. Well, I know, I know, it's a little like misusing testing, right? So well, it's still good because you can use your knowledge you already have for it. You don't need to learn new tools. You can use your well known familiar CI. For example, if you don't want to use GitHub Actions, which can give it to you, or if a standardized GitHub Action is not enough to fulfill your needs. So, in my mind I think it's interesting to use end to end testing for measuring performance because the AppStack application stack is completely there, and existent. So we can do more of it, than only when it comes to unit tests. And we are close to the user who would be annoyed by performance problems, right? But, if we want to think about using test automation for monitoring performance and gathering, monitoring, and collecting information on our performance, let's take a step back and take a look how we measure or collect information on our test automation to begin with. Well, as this talk is called Measuring, let's start with the defaults to shed some light on it.

Many think about the most interesting or most normal way of taking a look at information from your test automation pipelines. For example, if you want to take a look why something fails, you will take a look at the logs. Logging is actually the art of keeping a log or a list of events that occur in your computer system, such as problems, errors, or just information in the current operations. It might be testing, for example, in this regard. It logs everything what happens inside of your tests. It looks like that.

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