Visual Studio Application Insights is a service of the Microsoft Azure Cloud Computing plattform that is best known for its monitoring and analysis features for web apps and services. Application Insights collates all sorts of data provided by your deployed system, creating an aggregated however highly accessible view allowing you to “detect, triage, and diagnose issues”.
Less known but nevertheless useful are the integrated features for testing.
To spread the word about those features I wrote a whitepaper describing the features, their usage and some examples of how to actually use them within your process. The (German) whitepaper Testing aus Application Insights can be downloaded from the AIT download area.
Two features are discussed by the whitepaper: Web tests and load tests. Web tests consist of 1 or more http requests and the possibility of matching each http result content with some static value. Web tests can thus be used to implement a simple availability monitoring or to periodically execute some rudimentary business workflow tests. A load test takes one of those web tests executing it with a given user load for a given duration.
Though only allowing for some rudimentary tests, there are some advantages in using Application Insights:
- Nearly all the tests can be created using the Application Insights web frontend, making the tests very easy and fast to implement.
- The results are integrated with the data you (might or might not) collect using Application Insights, allowing you to expand your monitoring by adding periodical calls to your key functionality.
- You don’t have to provide any testing infrastructure. Furthermore you can choose from where in the world your tests will be executed.
Application Insights should not be the be-all and end-all of your testing strategy. But if you have nothing so far or you want to enrich your testing and/or monitoring activities, Application Insights is certainly worth a try.