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Xceptance: Defining QA Services for eCommerce

Rene Schwietzke , CEO & Owner
With the growing reliance on technology, there has been a steep rise across verticals in the whims and demands of the modern-day consumer. eCommerce is no exception: it has revolutionized the entire retail industry. This dynamic nature of the eCommerce industry tends to make eCommerce software extremely complex. While working in the Quality Assurance department at an eCommerce software firm, the founders of Xceptance discovered the significance of highly qualified and effective QA personnel, as well as the pitfalls involved in running QA in a dynamic software development environment like eCommerce. They foresaw that there would be a growing demand for good software, and that the role of QA would soon be a crucial one in the software industry. With this perspective in mind, the four seasoned professionals jointly established Xceptance in 2004 as a company providing QA services and products.

With its headquarters in Jena, Germany, and a subsidiary in the Boston area (USA), Xceptance helps customers develop a customized QA approach and build a QA organisation tailored to the customer’s specific needs. Their broad spectrum of services includes analyzing and improving existing QA processes, developing a complete QA strategy with concepts, training and consulting services, or taking on the role of QA partner for long- or short-term projects. One of their specialities is in the area of load and performance testing, with a powerful tool they developed in-house. René Schwietzke, Partner and Managing Director, explains, “Xceptance Load Test (XLT) was originally developed for load testing web applications; however, it was later extended into the areas of test automation and web application monitoring.”

XLT offers realistic testing of a web application’s performance under load by simulating the behaviour of parallel web users with their browsers. “XLT is platform-independent as it is based on Java, which offers a rich framework for scripting test scenarios, supports the WebDriver API, and is highly adjustable,” explains René Schwietzke.
Its distributed architecture with master controllers and agents allows the creation of high traffic loads by running agent machines in the cloud, and the company offers ready-to-use Amazon-EC2 images. After a test, Xceptance provides extensive reports and highlights major problems. Test automation scripts can be created using a Firefox add-on or any IDE with Java as a scripting language. These tests can be executed in the browser or from the command line so that they can easily be incorporated into a continuous integration process.

XLT’s web application monitoring provides the means to execute test cases periodically to check the long-term availability, response time and accuracy of production websites. In case a site is affected by a serious problem, Xceptance offers a configurable notification system.

Across the spectrum of QA services, Xceptance’s team members bring their experience to bear in supporting customers. René Schwietzke explains, “Our test managers help customers in planning all test activities and managing the test organization.” Many customers use Xceptance’s resources to bridge staff shortages and benefit from the experience of Xceptance’s testers and test managers.

XLT offers realistic testing of web application's performance under load by simulating the behaviour of parallel web users with their browsers

In their more than decade of managing software development projects with varied development processes, Xceptance has worked with customers including Demandware, Adidas, Barneys New York, Columbia Sportswear Company, Michaels, L’Oreal, Motorola, Kate Spade, Warner Bros., Quicksilver, Otto Group and many more. In the coming years, Xceptance intends to increase its team’s strength in both the US and Germany and expand its offerings. Clarifying the future strategies, René Schwietzke adds: “Xceptance wants to develop XLT from a single product to a multi-functional platform for test automation, load and performance testing and monitoring.”

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