TestIDMS – DMS Load Testing for Development for National Grid Plc.
Demonstrate performance and reliability of a problematic complex application, without investment in a high-end test toolset
National Grid had developed a new document management system based on OpenText’s LiveLink product. This was functionally very rich, implementing a very complex workflow for approval and registration of the documentation for complex construction or maintenance works. However for a long time it suffered performance and reliability problems.
Part of the resolution was to implement load testing. In order to be credible this needed to run on typical user PCs, and execute key parts of the production workflow, reversing or tidying up as necessary so that the tests could also be demonstrated on the production system. As a further challenge there was neither the budget nor appetite to invest in a high-end commercial load test toolset.
I addressed this by creating a small tool which automated Internet Explorer via its COM interface. TestIDMS could interact intelligently with the security and navigation functions of the DMS, and then drive complex workflows through to completion including recognising and handling fault conditions. It was a very lightweight application which could be run on any user PC with an appropriate .NET framework, without needing administrative access.
Combined with the ability to simulate a number of user sessions from a single low-spec PC, this allowed us to use a number of non-administrative users and their PCs to simulate the expected load from a large number of external users.
With the help of TestIDMS we demonstrated that the performance and reliability issues had finally been resolved, and the DMS was accepted into full operation.
Problems and Challenges
Issues with versions 6-8 of Internet Explorer.
Successfully profiled and, after rectification, proved the performance of the DMS
No longer required
Tools and Technologies
Technologies: VB.Net, Windows API, Internet Explorer COM interfaces
Tools: Visual Studio
TestIDMS was a simple performance test tool built using .NET and Internet explorer able to drive complex workflows through to completion, able to simulate multiple sessions from a single low-specification user PC.