Software Testing: 5 Tips for Writing LoadRunner Scripts

hploadrunner-300x243 Software Testing: 5 Tips for Writing LoadRunner ScriptsOur software testing team in Vancouver has been busy writing LoadRunner scripts. LoadRunner is one of several tools we use at Optimus. It’s a powerful application that enables you to create automated test scripts that measure end-to-end application performance.By automating performance testing, you can conduct reliable, consistent benchmarking.

Here are 5 tips for writing LoadRunner scripts.

  1. Although LoadRunner’s HTTP/HTML protocol has been reliable and flexible, it’s always good to try the other protocols available in LoadRunner to identify which ones are the most compatible with the application under test. LoadRunner’s Protocol Analysis is a good start.
  2. Transaction names should use a naming convention which allow sorting and ordering so that the transaction summary graphs can easily show transactions in proper order.
  3. After recording a script, make sure to rearrange Think Times to be placed outside of transactions to avoid including think time as part of actual transaction time.
  4. Changing runtime settings’ Browser Cache handling and Browser’s emulation of new user can help resolving some playback issues.
  5. Make use of the various Description properties of functions like web_button can help in identifying the correct component to perform action on.

If you’d like to learn more about how Optimus can help your team setup or improve their performance testing, email us at

Have any tips of your own? Leave them in the comments!

Cloud Storage Solutions for Students

September means the students are back to school and looking for new technologies to keep them organized. In the spirit of lightening up the heavy backpacks and improving efficiency, here is our list of the top 5 (+1) cloud storage solutions for students.

dropbox-150x150 Cloud Storage Solutions for Students1. Dropbox – Free up to 2GB (Referral bonus up to 10GB)

Dropbox is my personal favorite. It’s easy to setup, use, and access from almost any device with an internet connection. You can even mark favorite files for offline access. It installs as a folder on your computer that will automatically sync anything placed in it. You can then access that folder from their website or any other device you’ve installed the app. Another key feature is that you can share a folder with other users for synchronized collaboration.

boxnet-150x150 Cloud Storage Solutions for Students2. – Free up to 1GB is a leading enterprise class cloud storage solution. The Personal account enables you to sync files up to 25MB; whereas, the Business and Enterprise plans have advanced features for increased security, administrative controls, and integrations.

google_docs_logo-150x150 Cloud Storage Solutions for Students
3. Google Docs– Free up to 7GB+ (shared with Gmail)I view Google Docs as a stepping stone into cloud storage. Although it’s a useful tool for sharing and collaborating, the web interface doesn’t yet stand up against desktop applications. For basic documents it’s a great free tool except for the restrictive size limitations.
livemesh-150x150 Cloud Storage Solutions for Students
4. Live Mesh– Free up to 5GBLive Mesh is Microsoft’s consumer level cloud solution. It’s called Mesh because it integrates beta versions of Messenger, Photo Gallery, Mail, Movie Maker, Writer, Family Safety, and Sync, plus Bing Bar and Messenger Companion. This feature rich service is undoubtedly going to be very popular.

zumodrive-150x150 Cloud Storage Solutions for Students 5. ZumoDrive – Free up to 2GB

ZumoDrive is very similar to Dropbox in that it creates a new drive on your computer that is automatically synced with any connected device. The service is easy to setup and enables you to access your documents and multimedia content on netbooks and iPhones.

jungle-disk Cloud Storage Solutions for Students
Bonus: JungleDisk– $2 per month + storage feesJungleDisk gets an honorable mention because it’s a little different from the other services. It’s a subsidiary of Rackspace that provides the front end software to create your own cloud storage. It’s tailored for business and enterprise users as it enables you to pay a relatively low monthly fee to JungleDisk and receive storage from Amazon S3 or Rackspace with pay-as-you-go pricing models. Advantage, you don’t get locked into a tiered pricing model, you only pay for the storage you use.
Did I miss your favorite cloud storage solution? Let me know in the comments.

Top 5 Open Source Issue Tracking Solutions

top-5-open-source-issue-tra-150x150 Top 5 Open Source Issue Tracking Solutions
We recently compared some industry leading open source issue tracking software in order to setup our own cloud-based solution. We now use Redmine to track bugs while software testing. Below are the top five that we looked at.
Redmine_logo-150x150 Top 5 Open Source Issue Tracking Solutions

1. Redmine
Redmine is our favorite open source issue tracking software. We’ve installed our system on the cloud so that it’s scalable and easily accessed by our globally distributed team and our clients.

bugzilla-150x150 Top 5 Open Source Issue Tracking Solutions

2. Bugzilla

BugZilla was developed by the same team that created the Firefox web-browser. The Mozilla Foundation uses BugZilla to track defects and communicate amongst team members.

bugtracketnet_logo-150x42 Top 5 Open Source Issue Tracking Solutions

3. BugTracker.NET

BugTracker.NET is one of the original open-source issue tracking solutions. It was developed in 2002 on .NET, C#, and SQL.

eventum_logo Top 5 Open Source Issue Tracking Solutions

4. Eventum

Eventum is designed with a user-friendly interface that makes it easy to track incoming bugs or work on new development tasks. It has a fairly strong developer community as shown by its contributor points.

project_open_logo-150x72 Top 5 Open Source Issue Tracking Solutions

5. Project Open

Project Open is a very detailed and integrated ERP/PM tool. The modular components include a IT Service Management module that enables users to track, log, and communicate bugs and development tasks. The strength of this open source solution is that it can be integrated with many other software solutions and other modules from Project Open.

What is your favorite open-source issue tracking software? Let us know in the comments.

Cisco Internal Social Media Guidelines

Image068 Cisco Internal Social Media Guidelines

Cisco has shared their internal Social Media Guidelines with the world. It explains how they encourage their employees to participate in online forums, discussion groups, blogs, and other social networks provided employees follow the guidelines.

This is a great document for companies looking to establish Social Media guidelines of their own. Cisco outlined their policies such as not making statements about Cisco’s financial situation, not committing Cisco to any action without proper authority, and not sharing confidential information.

The guidelines are more interesting as they described tips to succeed. Although the other guidelines are important, the top three for any successful social media campaign are #6, #7, and #8.

#6. Be Honest. Always tell the truth. Correct any mistakes you make as quickly as possible. Don’t alter older posts without indicating that you have done so.

#7. Add Value. Express an interesting point of view and worthwhile information and perspective. When speaking about Cisco, offer your subject matter expertise and contact your PR Prepresentative if unsure if a topic is appropriate.

#8. Build relationships. Focus on engagement with the audience and building trust to develop relationships rather than using your site solely as a marketing tool to sell Cisco products or to promote yourself.

Here at Optimus we encourage our employees to be active on social networks. We leverage the power of social media to improve communication by sharing industry insight, news, and interesting content.

Connect with us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to see how we are building a strong online community.

To learn how Optimus can help your company establish a social media presence, email us at

What is Software Testing and why is it important?

Put simply, software testing is the process of ensuring a program can do what it is designed for. An email program should be able to send and receive emails, a word processor should be able to write letters, and an invoice scanning application should be able to scan invoices.

There are infinite situations and variables that need to be tested in order to guarantee that a software application will function properly once released to users. For example, what happens if a user forgets to put a subject in their email? Or enters an invalid email address? Does the program malfunction or will it recognize the error and prompt the user to correct it?

There are many different types of software testing. Depending on the type of program being built, different tests should be conducted to make sure the program is reliable, secure, and well-designed. At a broad level, testing can be categorized as: Functional Testing & Non-Functional Testing.

Functional Testing is driven by the functional requirements and focuses on specific behaviours of the application. For example, can the email program actually send emails? Can it receive emails? This type of testing is designed to make sure that software can complete the tasks it was built to do. Functional Testing covers all possible paths including failure paths.

Non-Functional Testing focuses on operations of the system rather than a specific behaviour. Non-Functional Testing ties in with the quality of the application. For example, what happens if the save button is more prominent than the send button? Or what happens if many users are sending/receiving large files at the same time?

Some types of Non-Functional Testing are:

  1. Compatibility Testing: This type of testing focuses on the compatibility of the application across various platforms – Hardware & Software. For example, can the user access the email application through various web-browsers such as Internet Explorer, Firefox or Safari? Will the application run on multiple OS such as Windows, Mac, and Linux?
  2. Performance Testing: Performance Testing or sometimes known as Load Testing focuses on the performance of the application under various conditions. From an end user perspective, Performance Testing primarily addresses:
    1. Speed: Does the email application responds within its defined response time if multiple applications are running in the background?
    2. Capacity: What happens if all users try sending emails at the same time?
    3. Scalability: Is the email application flexible enough to accommodate more users?
    4. Stability: Is the email application stable under all defined conditions?

The goal is to measure the effectiveness of the application under a particular workload.

Why is software testing important?

Let us take a hypothetical scenario. Imagine you log on to your online bank account and instead of seeing your balance, you see that the decimal place has shifted to the left! Imagine the anxiety. This is exactly the type of scenario software testing addresses.

In addition to being vital to an application’s success, software testing aims to identify issues before an application reaches production.

Studies have shown that the earlier a software bug is indentified the less expensive it is to fix[1]. In 2005, Toyota had to recall 160,000 of its Prius Hybrids because of a software glitch[2]. Had that issue been identified early, Toyota could have saved millions of dollars.

Optimus Information is a leading Vancouver-based software testing company. If you would like to learn more about how Optimus can help conduct high quality testing on your software, please send us an email at

[1] ^ Kaner, Cem; James Bach, Bret Pettichord (2001). Lessons Learned in Software Testing: A Context-Driven Approach. Wiley. p. 4. ISBN 0-471-08112-4.