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Randomizing Input Data for Visual Studio Load Tests

Basic random numbers for VSTS Web Tests

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While preparing for my presentation Load and Performance Testing: How to do Transactional Root-Cause Analysis with Visual Studio Team System for Testers that I gave at the Boston .NET User Group on May 13th I came across certain load-testing topics. One was: How to randomize Input Data.

If you go with Visual Studio you can code your web tests in any .NET Language giving you the freedom to create random data by using e.g.: System.Random. If you however want to use the “nicer” UI Driven Web Test Development (that’s how I call it) – you are limited in your options. You add web requests – you can parameterize input values by using Context Parameters with hard coded values, you can reuse values extracted from a previous request or you can use data from an external data source like a database, CSV or XML file.

Basic random numbers for VSTS Web Tests

One thing that I missed was the ability to use basic random values, e.g.: a random number from 1 to 5 that would be used for a quantity field of a web form or a random username with the pattern “testuserX” where X is in the range of my test user accounts.

In order to do that there only seems to be one way – implementing a WebTest or WebTestRequest Plugin that generates random data and makes it available as Context Parameter to the test.

Sample: Randomizing username and password

Lets get back to my username/password example. Following illustration shows my original Web Test:

Hard Coded values for Username and Password

Hard Coded values for Username and Password

I extracted the hard coded values from the recorded web request into a context parameter – but still using the hard coded values. One option that I would have here – as indicated in the first paragraph – would be to make this test data driven by binding the Context Parameters to an external data source. But this is not what I want in my example. I really want to randomize the input data so that every web request uses a new random value. I therefore created a WebTestRequestPlugin as shown in the following image:

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Andreas Grabner

Andreas Grabner has been helping companies improve their application performance for 15+ years. He is a regular contributor within Web Performance and DevOps communities and a prolific speaker at user groups and conferences around the world. Reach him at @grabnerandi

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