Baseline testing: What is it, and Why is it important?

April 17, 2024Aaron Thomas
Baseline testing What is it, and Why is it important

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Picture this: you’ve spent countless hours fine-tuning a software application, making it faster, smoother, and more efficient. But before you unleash it into the wild, how do you ensure it will perform like a champion? That’s where baseline testing steps onto the stage! It’s like taking a snapshot of your software’s performance, capturing all the details. Why? Because when you update your application later on, you want to be able to compare its new performance with the old one.

Like detectives examining clues, baseline tests equips organizations with the tools to spot performance hiccups. Ready to unravel the mysteries behind baseline testing? Let’s get started!

What is Baseline Testing?

Baseline Testing is a fundamental process for evaluating a system or component’s initial performance and characteristics. It serves as a reference point, establishing a benchmark for future comparisons. During this testing, software application performance metrics are meticulously recorded and documented. These metrics provide a snapshot of the system’s performance under specific conditions, including workload, user interactions, and environmental variables.

Baseline testing sets the stage by measuring and documenting how a system or software application performs when it’s first tested. It captures crucial performance data, enabling organizations to establish a baseline or a “normal” operating condition. This baseline becomes a point of reference for subsequent tests, allowing comparisons to be made to detect any deviations, improvements, or potential issues in performance or behavior.

Whether it’s assessing the speed and responsiveness of a software application, the throughput of a network infrastructure, or the efficiency of a hardware component, baseline testing is a vital step to ensure that the system meets the desired performance requirements. It provides valuable insights into the system’s initial performance and helps organizations identify any performance variations or anomalies that may arise during future testing or production.

Why Is Baseline Testing Important?

It is important for several reasons:

  • It establishes a performance benchmark, providing a reference point for future comparisons.
  • It helps detect changes in performance or behavior, allowing timely identification of potential issues.
  • It aids in troubleshooting and optimization by providing a starting point for investigating performance deviations.
  • It validates the performance of systems or applications before they go into production, ensuring they meet requirements.
  • It enables proactive performance management by monitoring performance trends and identifying bottlenecks.
  • It helps organizations meet compliance requirements and adhere to Service Level Agreements (SLAs).

Overall, baseline testing is critical in ensuring optimal system performance, addressing issues proactively, and meeting performance-related obligations, ultimately contributing to improved user satisfaction and business success. In summary, baseline testing is important as it establishes a performance benchmark, detects changes in performance, aids in troubleshooting and optimization, validates performance, facilitates proactive performance management, and ensures compliance and SLA adherence. It enables organizations to deliver high-performing systems and applications, enhancing user satisfaction and driving business success.

Read more on Benchmark Testing.

What Is The Purpose of Baseline?

The purpose of baseline testing is to:

  • Establish a performance benchmark for future comparisons.
  • Capture and record the initial performance and characteristics of a system or component.
  • Serve as a reference point to detect changes in performance or behavior.
  • Identify performance regressions or deviations from the established baseline.
  • Enable troubleshooting and optimization by providing a starting point for investigation.
  • Validate that the system or software application meets performance requirements.
  • Proactively manage performance by monitoring trends and identifying potential bottlenecks.
  • Ensure compliance with regulations and adherence to Service Level Agreements (SLAs).
  • Provide documented evidence of system performance for auditing and reporting purposes.

Baseline Testing In Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC)

Baseline testing plays a crucial role in the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) by ensuring the performance and stability of software applications at various stages of development. Here’s how baseline testing is used in different phases of the SDLC:

1. Requirements Gathering:

It establishes performance requirements and metrics during the requirements-gathering phase. These performance criteria serve as a baseline reference throughout the development process.

2. Design and Architecture:

It helps in designing the software architecture with performance considerations in mind. Developers can make informed decisions about system design, infrastructure requirements, and performance optimizations by establishing a baseline.

3. Development and Coding:

It aids developers in writing efficient and optimized code. They can use the established baseline as a performance reference, ensuring the code meets the expected performance levels.

4. Integration and Testing:

During integration and testing, baseline test is employed to assess the performance of the integrated software components. Performance tests are conducted to compare the actual performance against the established baseline, identifying any performance regressions or deviations.

5. Deployment and Production:

Before deploying the software application into production, this testing is conducted to validate its performance in the target environment. By comparing the performance metrics with the established baseline, organizations can ensure that the software meets performance requirements before it goes live.

6. Maintenance and Upgrades:

It is useful during maintenance and upgrades to monitor and evaluate the performance of the software application over time. Any changes made to the software are tested against the baseline to identify any performance impacts or improvements.

Baseline testing is integral to the SDLC, ensuring that software applications meet performance expectations, identifying performance issues at different stages, and providing a reference for optimization and troubleshooting. It helps deliver high-quality software with optimal performance and user experience.

Read more about Software Testing Life Cycle also the difference between SDLC and STLC

Example of Baseline Testing

Here is a video that shows the use of baseline testing in test automation

[check visual testing in Testsigma]

Visual testing involves baseline testing, which involves taking screenshots or photos of the application’s screens or pages as baselines. These images serve as reference pictures for the desired appearance and structure of the application’s visual elements. Testsigma’s visual testing functionality compares the current state of the application’s displays to the baseline pictures, identifying deviations or visual disparities as possible faults or regression concerns.

Testsigma helps testers quickly discover and rectify any unintentional changes in the application’s visual appearance by doing baseline testing. This method aids in detecting visual flaws or inconsistencies produced by code updates, layout changes, or other reasons.

The video’s baseline testing emphasizes the necessity of preserving consistency and visual integrity in an application’s user interface. It enables efficient regression testing, guaranteeing that the application’s visual components stay intact and in line with the set baseline throughout the development lifecycle.

Automate your visual tests for web, mobile, desktop, and APIs 5x faster

Check out Testsigma

Test Case Creation Steps for Baseline Testing on SimplyTravel Website:

1. Launch the Testsigma Recorder: Open the Testsigma tool and launch the Testsigma Recorder to create test cases.

2. Start Recording: Navigate to the SimplyTravel website in a browser and start recording the test case.

3. Verify Homepage UI: Perform a series of actions to verify the UI consistency of the homepage across different browsers, operating systems, and versions. This may include checking the logo, navigation menu, search bar, and any other UI elements.

4. Cross-Browser Testing: Record steps to navigate through different browsers (such as Chrome, Firefox, and Safari) and verify that the UI remains consistent and functional in each browser.

5. Cross-Operating System Testing: Record steps to access the SimplyTravel website on various operating systems (Windows, macOS, Linux) and ensure the UI elements are displayed correctly and behave consistently.

6. Version Compatibility Testing: Verify the UI across different browser versions (e.g., Chrome 89, Chrome 90) by recording steps to access the website on each version and checking the UI consistency.

7. Visual Testing: Utilize the visual testing capabilities of Testsigma to capture screenshots of the SimplyTravel website in different browser, OS, and version combinations. Record steps to compare these screenshots against a baseline to identify any visual differences or anomalies. This baseline is the expected UI.

8. Save and Finalize: Review the recorded test case, make any necessary modifications or additions, and save it in the Testsigma test case repository.

9. Repeat for Additional Scenarios: If required, create additional test cases to cover different scenarios, such as testing specific pages, interactive elements, or responsive design.

By following these steps and utilizing the visual testing features of Testsigma, you can effectively create test cases for baseline testing on the SimplyTravel website to ensure consistent UI across various browsers, operating systems, and versions.

How Does The Baseline Test Work?

Step 1: Test Preparation

The first step in conducting a baseline test is to prepare the system or software application for testing. This involves ensuring that the system is stable, all necessary resources are allocated, and any required test data or scenarios are set up.

Step 2: Establishing the Baseline

Once the system is ready, the baseline test measures its initial performance. This involves executing predefined test scenarios or workloads to simulate real-world usage. Performance metrics such as response time, throughput, resource utilization, and error rates are carefully recorded and documented.

Step 3: Capturing Performance Metrics

Performance monitoring tools and software capture detailed performance metrics during the baseline test. These metrics provide quantitative measurements of the system’s behavior, including CPU usage, memory utilization, network latency, and disk I/O. The captured metrics comprehensively record the system’s performance during the baseline test.

Step 4: Analysis and Documentation

After the baseline test, the captured performance metrics are analyzed to establish a performance baseline. This involves identifying patterns, trends, and specific values for each metric. The baseline metrics, including the test configuration, environment, and other relevant details, are then documented. This documentation serves as a reference for future tests and enables accurate comparisons.

Step 5: Future Test Comparisons

Once the baseline is established, future tests are conducted using the same or similar test scenarios to evaluate the system’s performance under different conditions or after modifications. The performance metrics from these subsequent tests are compared against the baseline metrics to identify any deviations or improvements. This comparison helps detect performance regressions, bottlenecks, or unexpected changes in behavior.

Step 6: Troubleshooting and Optimization

Further investigation and troubleshooting can be initiated if any discrepancies or performance issues are identified during the comparison. The baseline metrics act as a valuable point of reference for understanding the expected performance and diagnosing the root causes of any observed deviations. This allows organizations to optimize the system or application to improve performance and ensure it meets the desired standards.

Following these steps, baseline testing enables organizations to establish a performance benchmark, track performance changes over time and proactively address performance-related concerns. It provides a solid foundation for performance testing and optimization, ensuring that systems and software applications deliver the desired performance and user experience.

Points to Be Considered in Baseline Testing

Before embarking on baseline testing, several crucial points deserve consideration:

  1. Comparison Scope: It involves comparing the current and previous states. If the software is in poor condition, challenges may arise, such as issues with third-party services, randomness, or factors causing changes in the software.
  2. Dynamic Data Scenarios: It is adept at handling scenarios where data changes frequently, making it suitable for evaluating dynamic environments.
  3. Testing Parameters: Determine the testing parameters upfront: browsers, devices, operating systems, cross-browser compatibility, and more. Precise alignment between developers and testers is essential to avoid errors caused by inconsistencies in testing environments.
  4. Tool Selection: Wisely choose tools based on their suitability for the intended purpose. Consider factors such as font display variations on different machines when deciding which elements to test.

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Baseline testing is a critical aspect of software development and performance management. It establishes a performance benchmark, aids in issue detection and optimization, enables proactive management and ensures compliance and user satisfaction. By conducting baseline tests throughout the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC), organizations can deliver high-performing applications, meet performance requirements, and provide an optimal user experience.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Is Benchmark and Baseline Testing the Same?

No, benchmark and baseline testing are not the same. Benchmark testing involves comparing the performance of a system or application against industry standards or competitors, while baseline tests establishes a reference point to track performance changes over time.

What are the Types of Baseline Methods?

There are various types of baseline methods used in baseline tests, including static baselines (established before any testing), dynamic baselines (adjusted during testing based on system behavior), and hybrid baselines (combining elements of both static and dynamic baselines). The specific method chosen depends on the nature of the system being tested and the objectives of the baseline testing process.

What are the Differences Between Baseline and Load Testing?

Several distinctions set baseline testing and load testing apart:

  1. Execution Time: It boasts quicker execution times compared to load testing.
  2. Resource Requirement: It demands fewer hardware and software resources than the more resource-intensive load testing.
  3. Speed of Results: It delivers quicker results than load testing, ensuring faster insights.
  4. Reporting Efficiency: Reporting is more efficient in baseline testing than the often more complex reporting in load testing.
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