Wednesday, 19 March 2014

How to make JMeter save results to a database

Our team is responsible for performance testing in the company, and JMeter is one of our major tools. Recently we understood that to make our job easier we need to save aggregated test results to a database instead of a file. There are different use cases for that, the most important being to run periodic automatic performance testing and graph the results to see if a new build dropped in performance. You can do it manually, sure, but saving results to a database makes it so much easier.

Turns out there is currently no plugin for JMeter (that we know of) that would allow you to do that. So a collegue of mine made a plugin to do just that. Then I got interested, and decided to do it a bit differently, and found a problem in his plugin, and... to make the long story short now we have two slightly different plugins that save aggregated results to a database.

I'll probably try and share source code in JMeter's Github once I'm not too lazy to figure out how to do that, but for now I just want to share few things I learned on the way. And boy, was it a harsh way. JMeter has the most unfriendly API I've ever seen (though to be fair I haven't seen much), it looks crazy, and I couldn't find answers to my questions in the internet when I needed them, so here you go. Maybe the next person who decides to make a fancy visualizer will benefit from this post.

So, you decided to write a visualizer that does something more than just calculating statistics differently or showing the data you already have in a prettier graph. Here's some tips that go beyound common sense and general ability to write code in Java and google.
  • Do not do any logic in your visualizer class, because in non-GUI mode JMeter will behave like your class doesn't exist, so you will get no logic whatsoever. Think about standard Aggregate report: in non-GUI mode all you can do is save every and each request to a file, you cannot just get an aggregated table. That's because aggregation happens in the visualizer code, and visualizer doesn't get initialized in non-GUI mode.
  • In non-GUI mode samples are being processed by ResultCollectors. This is where you want to put all your logic. To do that you need to implement two classes and integrate them with each other:
    • implement your visualizer (extend AbstractVisualizer)
    • implement your result collector (must extend ResultCollector, or it won't get started)
    • override "createTestElement" method in the visualizer and create your result collector. You must also override "modifyTestElement" and "configure" methods and make sure the proper constructor of your result collector is called. See the example 1 for "createTestElement" in the end of the post. If you don't do it, JMeter won't know that your two classes are connected. Basically this is where you say: okay, my GUI shows information which really comes from this TestElement, so please create this TestElement even when you skip the GUI.
  • In your result collector override the "sampleOccured" method and put all your aggregating results logic here. You also probably want to call "super.sampleOccured" in the beginning - this way you will get the standard logic (check if sample is okay, send it to visualizer) as well as your new one.
  • If you need to get settings from the GUI, make sure they are saved as properties of your result collector (and not as properties of your visualizer).
  • Keep in mind that you can only access properties after the constructor. Yep, cannot to it in constructor even if your result collector is fully initialized at that point. JMeter runs the "give test elements their properties from the jmx file" process only after it initialized those elements.
  • If you want to use JMeter variables (e.g. you have a field "Test run description", and you want to put some context dependent info there), be aware: you only get access to parsed variables in result collector, but not in the visualizer. In other words, getPropertyAsString will give you "${host}" if called from visualizer, though it will give you "" if called from result collector for the same property.
  • If you want to know active number of threads (load level) you will have to calculate it. See example 2 below for what to put in the "sampleOccured" method in result collector or in the "add" method in visualizer to do that.

Promised examples.
example 1:
public TestElement createTestElement() {
            if (collector == null || !(collector instanceof DBResultCollector)) {
                collector = new DBResultCollector();
            return collector;

example 2:
loadLevel = Math.max(res.getAllThreads(), loadLevel);
//where res is SampleResult

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