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Oops Error and Java Error/Exception Handling

April 4, 2014 by kiranbadi1991 | Comments Off on Oops Error and Java Error/Exception Handling | Filed in Development, Environment, Performance Engineering, Project Management, Web Server

Very Often during the testing for java based application, I come across the generic Oops error message which looks something like below screenshot,

image

Lot many developers who are building the java based application  or are new to development use these techniques to display error or exception message. It’s a good technique and even I have this technique in my application which I have coded.The code to display Oops error which I have in my application is something like below,

<%@page contentType="text/html" pageEncoding="UTF-8"%>
<!DOCTYPE html>
<%@ taglib prefix="c" uri="http://java.sun.com/jsp/jstl/core" %>
<%@page isErrorPage="true" %>
<html>
    <head>
        <title>Show Error Page</title>
    </head>
    <body>
        <h1>Oops...</h1>
        <table width="100%" border="1">
            <tr valign="top">
                <td width="40%"><b>Error:</b></td>
                <td>${pageContext.exception}</td>
            </tr>
            <tr valign="top">
                <td><b>URI:</b></td>
                <td>${pageContext.errorData.requestURI}</td>
            </tr>
            <tr valign="top">
                <td><b>Status code:</b></td>
                <td>${pageContext.errorData.statusCode}</td>
            </tr>
            <tr valign="top">
                <td><b>Stack trace:</b></td>
                <td>
                    <c:forEach var="trace" 
                               items="${pageContext.exception.stackTrace}">
                        <p>${trace}</p>
                    </c:forEach>
                </td>
            </tr>
        </table>
    </body>
</html>

The code above uses the JSTL tag and EL to display the error page.It works perfectly fine and it does display most of the exception which is thrown by the application.

However drawback of this approach  is that it shows error or exception directly to the end user and it means that we are leaking information to the outside world about our code base. Its not good. Some of the reasons as why its not good can be found here.

Most of the sites display catchy error screens when something goes wrong with site. They look so good and in fact  appeal the users. Great number of examples  can be found here.

Now changing from that Generic Oops page to some thing catchy and stylish is also very easy. It involves creating one static page with funny image in it and steps for the user to go to other section of the site or report the error message to site administrator or something which you want your users do when they see error page. However to implement this change some knowledge as how java handles error/exception is required. Below links are probably worth the read  to understand the science of java errors or exception,

http://docs.oracle.com/javase/7/docs/api/java/lang/Throwable.html

http://www.artima.com/intv/solidP.html

http://www.onjava.com/pub/a/onjava/2003/11/19/exceptions.html?page=2

http://docs.oracle.com/javase/6/docs/technotes/guides/logging/overview.html

Now changing from Generic Oops page to some catchy page is also quite easy. Build the static JSP or HTML page and edit the web xml error page section. It looks something like below in Netbean editor,sorry I use netbean for development so I have screenshot based on it. Web xml can also edited in notepad or any other IDE.Editing via IDE is recommended since its heart of the application.

image

We can also write the exception handler servlet and build the page dynamically using the throwable class. The important thing to be considered here is that we are not leaking information and at the same time we are also informing users that something went wrong and they can follow some other path to their work. Once you have implemented the change, we can immediately test this change by triggering the error condition to see that in fact we are redirecting to error page correctly.

If you are QA  and if you see Oops Page, then probably you want to log the defect for this irrespective of the condition/data as what triggered the error.However you also need to make sure that exception stack trace is correctly logged in the logs and it has all the information that is required to debug the condition. If you are using any logging framework like Log4j ,it should not take more time to redirect the error to appender and verify the completeness of the message.

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How to enable logging in IIS 7.0

February 24, 2014 by kiranbadi1991 | Comments Off on How to enable logging in IIS 7.0 | Filed in Development, Environment, Performance Engineering, Web Server

IIS 7 on Windows 2008 Server has increased the logging capability of IIS compare to IIS 6. IIS 7 ships with below modules which are default on set up,

HTTP Logging Module(loghttp.dll)

Interacts with HTTP.sys process and processes request status. It is required for generation of logs.

Failed Request Tracing Module(iisfreb.dll)

Logs failed Requests for debugging purpose

Request Monitor Module(iisreqs.dll)

Watches the worker process activity

Tracing Module(iisetw.dll)

ETW tracing to capture trace file

Custom log Module(logcust.dll)

Logs custom module information

All the modules are located in system 32 /inetsrv directory of the server (Please see below screenshot),

image

It’s now possible to log information on per site basis or globally with IIS. It’s also possible to log just only the failed requests or only successful requests. Centralized logging can be done in Binary or W3C format.

In Order to enable logging, below steps needs to be followed,

  • Open Server Manager. Open command Prompt window and Type Run. Run Window will open. In Run window type CompMgmtLauncher.exe
  • Click on Roles (Web Server Roles).Check if Http logging is installed. If it’s not then you need to install it by adding appropriate Role.
  • Check the HTTP Logging box and install it.
  • Close the Server manager.
  • Once enabled you should be able to see something like below screen once you click on HTTP logging Module. (Below screen is from IIS 8).

image

Once the logging is enabled, logs tags are automatically created in applicationhost config file.

<log>
<centralBinaryLogFile enabled=”truedirectory=”%SystemDrive%\inetpub\logs\LogFiles/>
<centralW3CLogFile enabled=”truedirectory=”%SystemDrive%\inetpub\logs\LogFiles/>
</log

Its always a best practice to generate logs in the separate drive from your main drive where we have installed IIS 6 or the drive where heavy lifting of requests take place.

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Transaction Response time–First Indicator of Application Performance

February 14, 2014 by kiranbadi1991 | Comments Off on Transaction Response time–First Indicator of Application Performance | Filed in Performance Center, Performance Engineering, Performance Test Tools, Quality, SilkPerformer, Small Businesses, Web Server

What do you mean by Transaction ?

What do you mean by Transaction Response time ?

Why is the Transaction Response time a key Performance Indicator for the application or system ?

Lot of young people who wants to become Performance Engineer asks me about these types of questions. Seriously I believe Transaction is often associated with the context.For Database DBA it could be something like commit the output of the SQL statement to the DB or rollback the entire output of the SQL Statement and bringing the DBA to its initial state due to some failures.For Developer, it could be related to 1 business requirement equal to 1 transaction and to the banker or domain specialist, it could be one entry in the ledger log.For the prospective of Performance Engineer, it could means any of the 3. It just depends on what is your objective of your tests or what are we looking for measure in the system or application.

The way Performance Engineer sees the transaction is bit different than the way Developer sees them.Some of the examples of the Transaction as seen by Performance Engineer are,

  • Time taken to do the login of the application
  • Time taken to generate and publish the report to the users.
  • Time taken to load the data to the database or Time taken to process xx amount of data and load it into the database(Batch Jobs).

If you look closely at above example, you can see that transaction is always associated with Time. Time taken to do X activity is prime focus of the Performance Engineer.The same might not be true for other folks like DBA,Domain experts or Developers.

One of the reasons as why Performance Engineer always associates time to transaction is because most performance tools have taught us to see transaction this way.Wrap the activity/event/Business functionality between start and end transaction markers and calculate the difference between these start and end time and say that these are our transaction response time for that activity.Most Load testing tools works this way and this logic works for almost 99.9999% of the application.However this kind of logic does not gel well with few of the technologies where non blocking of UI is more preferable than blocking of the UI. Comet/Push are some of the technologies where Marker based transactions do not work favorably unless you do some kind of the hacking.So I believe that Transaction marker based solutions work only for technologies where users waits for the response to come back.

Transaction Response time is most important characteristic of the System Performance from the Users point of view.If they are satisfied with the speed of the system to do more work in short time, then probably no effort is required to speed up the system, else lot of effort is required to increase the speed. Sometimes users are also satisfied with bit of high response time because they know the there is lot analytical calculation program/application has to do to bring data back to them.However when as more and more users starts getting into the system , they start experiencing slowness of the application.Application starts to more time to respond to the users request and the functionality which was taking 3 to 5 sec now starts to give response in 5 to 8 sec.As the user load increases, response time also starts to increase and after a certain point, it fails to respond to the users request.Performance Engineers calls this behavior a breaking point of the application.The reason for the application to stop responding could be many reasons ,however from the performance engineering’s prospective,its suggested that we do bit of analysis based on queuing theory.Rate at which application is receiving requests is more than the rate at which it can serve the requests keeping in mind the environmental constraints.Response time degradation can  happen not only when the number of users or volume of data exceeds some thresholds, but also after the application is up and running for a particular period. A period can be as short as hours or as long as days or weeks. That is often an indication that
some system resources are not released after transactions are completed
and there is a scarcity of remaining resources to allocate to new transactions.
This is called  resource leak  and is  usually due to programming/coding defects.

We say application is having performance issues after analyzing the trend of transaction and can conclude the below points based on data we have collected

    • Transaction response time is getting longer as more users are actively
      working with the system
    • Transaction response time is getting longer as more data are loaded
      into application databases.
    • Transaction response time is getting longer over time even for the same
      number of users or data volume primarily due to leaking of resources like memory,connections etc..

Transaction response time matters a lot when your application is web based application and its public facing site. The revenue of the company depends on how fast the application responds to the user’s request. If your application is internal , then it increases the productivity of the team and company over all.

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