Users' failure to test ecommerce applications adequately means they are in danger of losing customers, according to Ovum.
A new report called Software Testing Tools indicates that ecommerce applications have increased the need for extensive testing and can make the difference between success and failure.
Graham Titterington, Ovum analyst and coauthor of the study, said: "The use of the Web for conducting business transactions has brought a much higher level of business exposure to software failure than did traditional IT systems. This brings the need to apply extensive testing."
He continued that poorly performing sites were irritating to users. "The user's perception of a Web site is crucial to whether a user does business with an organisation. There is little consumer loyalty to a Web site," he said.
He added that some of his own experiences with Web sites have been less than satisfactory and that customers "are being used as unpaid testers."
But by using two types of testing tools properly, IT could detect where problems lay.
These comprise capture/replay tools, which test code functionality by capturing input and output from existing applications and using them to test future versions, and load testing tools, which test a number of scripts simultaneously to determine response times under intensive use.
Titterington also underlined the need to frequently retest Web-applications, however. "They are continuously evolving. The configuration of the network is changing, and new types of software are being added with little overall control," he said. "Users may be upgrading their browsers, and other applications may be added to the Web to compete for the same resources as existing applications. Similarly, the hardware and software on the Web servers are frequently changing," he added.
Vivek Wadhwa, chief executive of Relativity Technologies, said: "Testing is absolutely crucial. Companies are taking an application from a mainframe and making it available to the world. They are airing their dirty laundry in public. They can no longer hide bugs from the world."
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