Tag Archives: web

How to build a simple web page fast? Use HTML Shell

For testing purposes, I occasionally need to generate a simple page to test. This “quick custom boilerplate HTML5 markup generator” does the job for me. Recommended.

html shell

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Thoughts on using JMeter to do web performance testing

There are many tools to use for web performance testing, but if you want a good tool that does the job, I recommend Jmeter. The good and bad thing about JMeter is that there are alot of different options and features. To make it simpler for you, the good folks at Digital Ocean have a good tutorial on getting it set up, here: How To Use Apache JMeter To Perform Load Testing on a Web Server | DigitalOcean. While this is fine for testing one page, there are test scenarios where you want to have the user perform multiple steps (e.g. go to the home page, login to their account, check their account balance, then logout). If that is the case for you, too, then you want to read this next: How To Use JMeter To Record Test Scenarios | DigitalOcean (I used Firefox for this: if you are going to use JMeter to develop your performance test cases, then download Firefox too.) For any performance testing that follows a sequence, you really want to use the recording feature of JMeter.

Some other thoughts….

On my thread group, I added the following listeners:

  • Response time graph
  • Graph results
  • Aggregate report
  • View results tree (with scroll automatically on)

I also login to the web server and tail -f  the access log (and sometimes the error log).

I do all this because it is easy to run have a lot of errors when you first (and even later) run your test. For example, if you are testing a sequence, you might see good performance, but you might also see 404s in the access log, or you might see other anomalies in the aggregate report (e.g. good response 90% of the time, but bad response on average). Having more data is better and it insures you don’t have false positives (e.g., you think performance is good, but it really isn’t because the application is failing).

As soon as your developers have some code in place, have someone run Jmeter against it. Don’t wait until towards the end of the project. Jmeter is free and anyone can use it.

Back up your test plans often. It is easy to change your test plan, have it go from a successful one to an unsuccessful one because of the change, and then find it hard to go back because you changed a number of variables.

For your test plan, have multiple thread groups. This will allow you to test different test scenarios for different test groups. You can have different test plans too: it’s up to you how you manage it. For example, I recorded a long sequence for one test group, then I copied it and made a simple test group with less steps by removing them.

A simple tutorial to set up an about.me site on github

I used to be a big fan of about.me: they enabled me to create a personal home page far better than what I could do. Unfortunately they stripped out some of the things that made the page look great, and when they did that, I decided to make my own about.me page, using free hosting on Github.

First off, here is what my page looks like: http://blm849.github.io

Here’s the steps I took to make it.

Before you start, here’s what you will need if you want to follow my steps. You’ll need:

  • a text editor. Notepad or Textpad or vi will all work fine.
  • some knowledge of HTML. Not too much. If you just follow the steps below, you should be fine. If you want some quick knowledge of HTML, see this: HTML Tutorial
  • some knowledge of  git and github.com. Again, not too much. If you follow the steps below, you should not need any. If you want some quick knowledge of git and github, see this: How to learn github fairly easily | Smart People I Know
  • Some words describing yourself that you want to have on the site.
  • An image file of yourself that you would want to serve as the background of the site. The one I had was a simple photograph I took with my smartphone.
  • A working file directory on your computer to hold your files.

Here are the steps:

  1. Set up your site on Github. To do this, follow the steps, here: GitHub Pages – Websites for you and your projects, hosted directly from your GitHub repository. Just edit, push, and your changes are live. Check it out. Use your working file directory to store the files. Once you complete the steps, and pointing your browser at http://username.github.io works, you are going to want to personalize the site. (Note: username = the name of your userid. e.g. my userid on github is blm849)
  2. Use a repository from someone else to make the job simpler. To create my site, http://blm849.github.io, I used a repository from here: https://github.com/weightshift/The-Personal-Page. It’s great. I simply downloaded the ZIP file, unzipped the files, and copied and replaced the files in the working file directory. In your case, I would recommend you take my repository and my files and modify them. I’ll explain in a bit. My repository and my files are here: https://github.com/blm849/blm849.github.io. Click on the “Clone or Download” button and then click “Download ZIP” to do this. Like I said, download the zip file, unzip the files, put them in your working file directory.
  3. Also, copy your background image (e.g. background.jpg) into the working file directory.
  4. Now edit the index.html file in the working file directory. Make the following changes and then file index.html:
    1. On line 5, change the text between <title> and </title>. This text will appear on the browser tab when someone opens your site.
    2. For lines 41-51, replace the lines I have in here with the words describing yourself. The only HTML I used here is:
      • the <br> tag to add some blank lines before the line “My name is….”. I found it looked better when I did this.
      • the <p></p> tag to format the words into paragraphs. Again, it makes it more presentable.
      • the <b></b> tag to make my name bold. I wanted it to stand out. If you don’t, remove those tags.
      • the <a></a>tag to have links to other web pages about me. If you don’t have links elsewhere, you can remove those.
    3. On line 58, replace “blm.jpg” with “background.jpg” (assuming that the file name of your background image is called background.jpg. If it is called something else, use that file name instead.)
  5. Once you have made the changes and saved index.html,  open it with your favourite browser. (To do this, right click on the file and select “open with…” and pick your browser.) Check to see if the words are correct and the background image is correct and the formatting is correct. If not, you will have to go back and edit the file and fix your errors.
  6. Once you are happy with it, do the following:
    1. Delete any background image files in the working file directory that are not yours (blm.jpg and nh_bg.jpg)
    2. Enter: git add –all
    3. Enter: git commit -m “secondary commit with my own information”
    4. Enter: git push -u origin master
    5. Point your browser at http://username.github.io and make sure it works.

That’s it!

One final note: I recommended using my repository and not the original one I worked on. I did that because I had some problems with displaying my page on my iPhone 6s plus. I added some files and tweaked the index.html file to get it to work. By using my package and my index.html file, there are less changes for you to make, I believe. That said, I am grateful for the code from the original repository and I am making sure I credit the owner of that repository (as should you).

The timeline of the World Wide Web

If you are going to talk about the Web or the Internet, it pays to know the history of it. The people at Pew put together the key dates and events of the World Wide Web here: Web History Timeline | Pew Research Center. Of course the history of the Internet is even older.

A very useful thing to consult whenever you read some think piece on “The Internet used to be X or Y”.

In 1996, James Fallows wrote about Microsoft, the Internet, and even something called Java

I remember all this, but for those of you who feel like the Web has always been with us, it’s worthwhile reading his piece, The Java Theory in The Atlantic.

He didn’t know it at the time, but everything was about to change. I enjoyed reading it, first with hindsight, and then reading it while imagining/remembering what it was like then.

Worthwhile.

If you think it is alarming that Facebook also collects what you decide not to post, then I have some news for you

If you think this is alarming: Facebook also collects what you decide not to post, tech consultant warns – Technology & Science – CBC News, then I have more news for you.

Not only can Facebook do this, but they can do other things. For example, if they wanted to, they could track where you move your mouse, even if you don’t click on something, using technology like the kind mentioned here: web page mouse tracking – Google Search.

In fact, you don’t even have to go to Facebook to have them track you: Facebook Is Tracking Your Every Move on the Web; Here’s How to Stop It.

And if you use Facebook on your mobile phone, there’s potentially even more information they can track about you.

So, lots of reasons to be concerned. I all but avoid Facebook, but it is not an easy thing to do. In addition, I don’t think Facebook is the only one that does this. They seem to be just the most notorious.

 

 

Some thoughts on the infancy of the Web, on it’s 25th birthday

The web is 25 years old, and I have been using it since the very beginning. For those of you that haven’t — and those feeling nostalgic — here are some fun facts about the early days of the World Wide Web:

  • Before the web, there was just the Internet. And the Internet consisted of various services, from e-mail (of course) to Gopher to ftp to WAIS to news groups/Usenet, etc. It was all great, but then the World Wide Web sprung into action and the browser quickly became THE tool for using the Internet (save email). I wonder if anyone under 30 has even heard of any of those other services, let along use any of them?
  • In the beginning, most people couldn’t access the Web or even the Internet. Most people’s PCs had Windows, and Windows didn’t come with software to connect to the Internet. I was using OS/2 at the time – Really! – and OS/2 did provide a “TCP/IP stack” that allowed you to connect. You could buy a Stack and install it on your Windows machine, and eventually Microsoft bundled it with Windows. When that happened, Internet access took off.
  • To access the Internet, everyone had a dial up modem, with U.S. Robotics making some of the finest ones at the time. Web pages had to be designed to be very small, because every byte delivered by modem had to count.
  • The mid to late 90s was an exciting time to be on the Internet. The web, access to the Internet via new software, ISPs, and email all hit most people at about the same time. Things changed so quickly, the notion of a “web year” (3 months) came about.
  • In the early days, there were a range of browsers, from Mosaic to Viola to the one from IBM called Web Explorer. Then came Netscape and then Internet Explorer. It was along time before Firefox and Safari came along to challenge IE.
  • The “www.” part was important at first when you were using the Web. You could type “www.ibm.com” or “ftp.ibm.com” or “some other protocol.ibm.com” and your browser and the server would figure out what you wanted. It wasn’t assumed you were going to a web site Likewise, you could type “ibm.com:80” to go the web server. Eventually , the only thing that people wanted was their browser to talk to the web server, and the “www.” and the “:80” became superflous.
  • Server technology was very expensive at first. Netscape’s web server came with nice bells and whistles and cost about $10,000 for some form of that. Then Apache came along with their web server and essentially obliterated the web server software market.
  • Yahoo! was a big thing in the beginning. I actually tried to do a Canadian version of it. FYI: you cannot hand craft your own Yahoo! It’s like an artisanal Google. Needless to say, I abandoned that idea soon and left it to the professionals. I was involved with the early development of IBM’s global presence on the web.
  • Early web pages seem ugly now, but at the time they were amazing. You didn’t have to type in a bunch of commands to access information, like you did with FTP. You could type in one thing and just point and click, and each click brought up new information or played audio files or played video files! All of that was simply amazing.
  • The moment I thought the web was going to be big was when paintings from the Louvre went online. I thought: this isn’t just for technical people: any one can do this.
  • In the early days of the Web, there were two big concerns. One was doing commerce on the web. Companies were cautioned to be very discreet about selling things: otherwise the hard core Internet people would make a big stink and make life difficult for you. The second big concern was that the Internet backbone in the United States would get broken up or underfunded or somehow messed up and that this would inhibit the health of the Internet. This was a really big concern. The Internet has always been in various states of precariousness, and the recent threats to net neutrality are part of an ongoing story.
  • Speaking of net neutrality, there have always been special connections between major sites and major ISPs. In the early days it was from big sites like AOL connecting directly to big ISPs. Now it is Netflix who is making the deals. The more things change… 🙂

Happy birthday, World Wide Web, you great information superhighway! May you be around for 25 more!