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Category: WebAssembly

How to automate WebXPRT 4 testing

As the number of WebXPRT runs continues to grow, we realize many new WebXPRT users may be unfamiliar with all the features and capabilities of the benchmark. To help inform users about features that might facilitate their testing, we’ve decided to highlight a few WebXPRT features here in the blog. A few weeks ago, we discussed the multiple language options available in the WebXPRT 4 UI. This week, we look at WebXPRT 4 test automation.

WebXPRT 4 allows users to run scripts in an automated fashion. You can control the execution of WebXPRT 4 by appending parameters and values to the WebXPRT URL. Three parameters are available: testtype, tests, and result. Below, you’ll find a description of those parameters and instructions for utilizing automation.

Test type

The WebXPRT automation framework accounts for two test types: (1) the six core workloads and (2) any experimental workloads we might add in future builds. There are currently no experimental tests in WebXPRT 4, so always set the test type variable to 1.

  • Core tests: 1

Test scenario

This parameter lets you specify which tests to run by using the following codes:

  • Photo enhancement: 1
  • Organize album using AI: 2
  • Stock option pricing: 4
  • Encrypt notes and OCR scan using WASM: 8
  • Sales graphs: 16
  • Online homework: 32

To run a single individual test, use its code. To run multiple tests, use the sum of their codes. For example, to run Stocks (4) and Notes (8), use the sum of 12. To run all core tests, use 63, the sum of all the individual test codes (1 + 2 + 4 + 8 + 16 + 32 = 63).

Results format

This parameter lets you select the format of the results:

  • Display the result as an HTML table: 1
  • Display the result as XML: 2
  • Display the result as CSV: 3
  • Download the result as CSV: 4

To use the automation feature, start with the URL http://www.principledtechnologies.com/benchmarkxprt/webxprt/2021/wx4_build_3_7_3, append a question mark (?), and add the parameters and values separated by ampersands (&). For example, to run all the core tests and download the results, you would use the following URL: http://principledtechnologies.com/benchmarkxprt/webxprt/2021/wx4_build_3_7_3/auto.php?testtype=1&tests=63&result=4

We hope the WebXPRT automation features will make testing easier for you. If you have any questions about WebXPRT or the automation process, please feel free to ask!

Justin

The WebXPRT 4 results calculation white paper is now available

Last week, we published the Exploring WebXPRT 4 white paper. The paper describes the design and structure of WebXPRT 4, including detailed information about the benchmark’s harness, HTML5 and WebAssembly capability checks, and the structure of the performance test workloads. This week, to help WebXPRT 4 testers understand how the benchmark calculates results, we’ve published the WebXPRT 4 results calculation and confidence interval white paper.

The white paper explains the WebXPRT 4 confidence interval and how it differs from typical benchmark variability, and the formulas the benchmark uses to calculate the individual workload scenario scores and overall score. The paper also provides an overview of the statistical techniques WebXPRT uses to translate raw timings into scores.

To supplement the white paper’s discussion of the results calculation process, we’ve also published a results calculation spreadsheet that shows the raw data from a sample test run and reproduces the calculations WebXPRT uses to produce workload scores and the overall score.

The paper is available on WebXPRT.com and on our XPRT white papers page. If you have any questions about the WebXPRT results calculation process, please let us know!

Justin

The Exploring WebXPRT 4 white paper is now available

This week, we published the Exploring WebXPRT 4 white paper. It describes the design and structure of WebXPRT 4, including detailed information about the benchmark’s harness, HTML5 and WebAssembly (WASM) capability checks, and changes we’ve made to the structure of the performance test workloads. We explain the benchmark’s scoring methodology, how to automate tests, and how to submit results for publication. The white paper also includes information about the third-party functions and libraries that WebXPRT 4 uses during the HTML5 and WASM capability checks and performance workloads.

The Exploring WebXPRT 4 white paper promotes the high level of transparency and disclosure that is a core value of the BenchmarkXPRT Development Community. We’ve always believed that transparency builds trust, and trust is essential for a healthy benchmarking community. That’s why we involve community members in the benchmark development process and disclose how we build our benchmarks and how they work.

You can find the paper on WebXPRT.com and our XPRT white papers page. If you have any questions about WebXPRT 4, please let us know, and be sure to check out our other XPRT white papers.

Justin

A note about WebXPRT 4 and Internet Explorer

During some recent internal WebXPRT 4 Preview testing, we discovered that the WebXPRT 4 Preview does not run in Internet Explorer (IE) 11. In fact, before the first workload begins in IE, the WebXPRT 4 built-in WebAssembly (WASM) check fails and produces an error message.

The reason we haven’t tested WebXPRT 4 on IE 11 before now is that Internet Explorer is currently in its end-of-life phase. Microsoft has been removing support for IE 11 in Microsoft 365 and other apps for some time, they did not include the desktop version of IE 11 in Windows 11, and they are removing support for IE 11 in Windows 10 on June 15, 2022. Among Windows users, the most popular browsers are now Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, and Mozilla Firefox.

We’re proud that WebXPRT has historically had broad, cross-platform compatibility in almost any browser. However, the modern web is rapidly incorporating powerful tools such as WASM that do not work in older legacy browsers. To maintain the benchmark’s relevance in future years, we need to deprioritize some level of legacy compatibility, and this begins with WebXPRT 4 release.

For the WebXPRT testers who wish to continue testing with IE 11, WebXPRT 3 will remain on our site for the foreseeable future. Barring any further changes from Microsoft, the benchmark should continue to run in existing instances of the Internet Explorer desktop app.

The official WebXPRT 4 launch is approaching, and we hope to announce the release date within the next few weeks! Until that time, we will continue to share the latest updates here in the blog. If you have any questions or comments about WebXPRT 4 or compatibility with legacy browsers, please feel free to contact us!

Justin

The WebXPRT 4 results viewer is live!

In October, we shared an early preview of the new results viewer tool that we’ve been developing in parallel with WebXPRT 4. The WebXPRT 4 Preview is now available to the public, and we’re excited to announce that the new results viewer is also live. We already have over 65 test results in the viewer, and in the weeks leading up to the WebXPRT 4 general release, we’ll be actively populating the viewer with the latest PT-curated WebXPRT 4 Preview results.

We encourage readers to visit the blog for details about the viewer’s features, and to take some time to explore the data. We’re excited about this new tool, which we view as an ongoing project with room for expansion and improvement based on user feedback.

If you have any questions or comments about the WebXPRT 4 Preview or the new results viewer, please feel free to contact us!

Justin

Here’s what to expect in the WebXPRT 4 Preview

A few months ago, we shared detailed information about the changes we expected to make in WebXPRT 4. We are currently doing internal testing of the WebXPRT 4 Preview build in preparation for releasing it to the public. We want to let our readers know what to expect.

We’ve made some changes since our last update and some of the details we present below could still change before the preview release. However, we are much closer to the final product. Once we release the WebXPRT 4 Preview, testers will be able to publish scores from Preview build testing. We will limit any changes that we make between the Preview and the final release to the UI or features that are not expected to affect test scores.

General changes

Some of the non-workload changes we’ve made in WebXPRT 4 relate to our typical benchmark update process.

  • We have updated the aesthetics of the WebXPRT UI to make WebXPRT 4 visually distinct from older versions. We did not significantly change the flow of the UI.
  • We have updated content in some of the workloads to reflect changes in everyday technology, such as upgrading most of the photos in the photo processing workloads to higher resolutions.
  • We have not yet added a looping function to the automation scripts, but are still considering it for the future.
  • We investigated the possibility of shortening the benchmark by reducing the default number of iterations from seven to five, but have decided to stick with seven iterations to ensure that score variability remains acceptable across all platforms.

Workload changes

  • Photo Enhancement. We increased the efficiency of the workload’s Canvas object creation function, and replaced the existing photos with new, higher-resolution photos.
  • Organize Album Using AI. We replaced ConvNetJS with WebAssembly (WASM) based OpenCV.js for both the face detection and image classification tasks. We changed the images for the image classification tasks to images from the ImageNet dataset.
  • Stock Option Pricing. We updated the dygraph.js library.
  • Sales Graphs. We made no changes to this workload.
  • Encrypt Notes and OCR Scan. We replaced ASM.js with WASM for the Notes task and updated the WASM-based Tesseract version for the OCR task.
  • Online Homework. In addition to the existing scenario which uses four Web Workers, we have added a scenario with two Web Workers. The workload now covers a wider range of Web Worker performance, and we calculate the score by using the combined run time of both scenarios. We also updated the typo.js library.

Experimental workloads

As part of the WebXPRT 4 development process, we researched the possibility of including two new workloads: a natural language processing (NLP) workload, and an Angular-based message scrolling workload. After much testing and discussion, we have decided to not include these two workloads in WebXPRT 4. They will be good candidates for us to add as experimental WebXPRT 4 workloads in 2022.

The release timeline

Our goal is to publish the WebXPRT 4 preview build by December 15th, which will allow testers to publish scores in the weeks leading up to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January 2022. We will provide more detailed information about the GA timeline here in the blog as soon as possible.

If you have any questions about the details we’ve shared above, please feel free to ask!

Justin

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