If you had a chance to read any of my blogs from Velocity 2010, you would have seen a blog I wrote about a tool from AOL called WebPageTest. I even took a sample using my externally hosted Bb site by Managed Hosting.
Nori and I both attended a number of sessions that presented these tools. There were a few things that impressed us. Probably the most important feature is that it takes Video of the screen rendering. This is by far the coolest thing as it would be great to watch how fast the page truely renders. Second, while the application is hosted, you could actually host it yourself. Third, you can also capture CPU metrics of the App Server that is running the test. You could throw in a fourth being that a number of players in the Web Performance space are making their infrastructure available for serving as a test location. You now have AOL, Strangeloop, Aptimize and a few others throughout the world making their test locations available and integrated into the free service.
My motivation for this blog is that I want to be able to take advantage of the Video Rendering features that exist in the product. I think it’s quite remarkable and can provide some major advantages for us for the purpose of reproducing issues, as well as teaching customers about solid UI design fundamentals. There’s one major caveat that we have to address which is in order to work with WebPageTest, we need to be able to pass credentials via script capabilities. We need to review their wiki on scripting. Here’s for inline scripting. One thing I’m not certain about is how we handle hidden post variables such as our one_time_token. It also looks like we could automate a page test request as well.