Performance and usability testing Facebook integration

10 Nov

Just wanted to blog about this as there doesn’t seem to be much discussion about this online or I’m not searching right.

I am assuming either of the following is occurring at present:

  • nobody has really implemented performance and usability testing around Facebook integration
  • people/organizations have done so (or to some extent) but have decided for company policy not to share their experiences

I write this because this is an interesting area of testing. In terms of load/performance testing, and also automation, there’s a fine balance between doing accurate and valid testing and abusing Facebook’s terms of service (for actual user accounts anyways). And on the usability performance side, it may be a pain to “set up” a Facebook account (real or not) with thousands of friends, or photos/albums, or posts, or likes, etc.

From my research, there’s only 2 ways of doing this:

  • using real Facebook user accounts, perhaps sometimes painstakingly set up (unless someone programmed a bot to do all the set up work). And being careful not to create too much activity that Facebook would ban/delete the account.
  • using Facebook’s test users API, which requires significant amount of investment in reading up on the documentation, and developing API client calls to interface with Facebook to do all the set up work for the accounts (unless done manually later) then to use the APIs with Selenium/UI automation and HTTP/web service/API load/performance testing.

See these links for references:

http://stackoverflow.com/questions/8845614/testing-a-facebook-connect-application-using-selenium

http://developers.facebook.com/docs/test_users/

For me, I’m not looking to getting the details and code from others on how they automated Facebook for usability/performance testing but rather hearing experiences from others on how things worked out. What worked, what didn’t, pitfalls to avoid, etc. Like whether Facebook’s test users API is all that useful for rich functional automated testing or for high volume performance testing. For example, here are some Facebook integration examples in terms of from your site/service access Facebook for:

  • photos, where user has thousands of photos or albums
  • login, and you want to test what happens if you had a lot of users on your site/service login via Facebook connect at a given time period (burst or ramped up)

I find it also interesting that Facebook doesn’t mention anything about this area to help themself or other companies with regard to testing usabillity/performance with Facebook integration, since it affects them to some extent as well.

Taken further, this could also apply to other service integrations like OAuth login with Google, Yahoo, WordPress, etc.

Your  thoughts?

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