Thursday, 18 August 2016

Know your tools

A colleague a few days ago passionately spoke to me on how we don't have access to new tools that are storming market and provide some amazing features. I could not disagree for the world of internet always fascinates me with its offerings. Our discussion had started around "what do we do to make our tests better"specially to have a stimulation to our customers usage patterns or infrastructure, New tools, processes, technologies would certainly help, but then when we have new things do we really exploit them to the best? Did we try the best out of the old ones? is switch to the new thing, just arbitrary?

Years ago, we were using Charles as a web proxy to find out what was happening with our web application on every request. We swiftly moved to fiddler (For many in our team don't remember why this transition happened or since when we started using Fiddler or even why Wireshark was not chosen over Fiddler). The answer then was our webapp testing needed 2 things

1. Decrypting the traffic
2. Ability to view the request and response headers and info in a seamless way

Both these features were not provided by Charles then, the Internet Developer tools on browsers were not complete and Charles was memory expensive. Fiddler on other hand was turning light. When it comes to Charles we still have a feature or 2 that we miss in fiddler and that is where knowing these tools is so important.

Throttling your bandwidth   is one feature we can use and use it effectively using this proxy to ensure we test in a closely stimulating environment. Our customers who are located in desert areas and using the tools, would be having a very unpredictable bandwidth and latency and Charles allows you to configure this. SO much that it can let you define the bandwidth and the latency in which you can test your product and tell how the performance is if not set a defining benchmark if it works.

A small feature from a tool can be so important in defining how your product can shape.. but then.... Do you know your tools? Well Enough?