Early spring 2011, we were sitting on a ton of ideas about how to improve Load Impact. We had lots of things on our TODO list for the next few major releases of the service, and were discussing what to focus on first and what our general development road map should look like for the rest of 2011.
We came to the conclusion that incremental updates, that we had been doing so far, was not the best course of action. Some of the changes we wanted to make to the service were dependent on other changes we also wanted to make, and some were hard to achieve on top of the current legacy system. Some parts of old Load Impact we had long been wanting to remake from the ground up, and we realized that this was the time to do it. To break with the old codebase and start a new one, transferring everything we liked from the old code base but not hesitating to throw out anything we did not like.
So we embarked on that long and hard, but also fun, journey. Initially, we aimed to continue updating the old platform regularly, rolling out new features and updates to the live site while developing Load Impact 2.0 in parallel. We soon realized that this was overly ambitious, however, and decided that advanced scripting and the menu-based scripting editor that we released in April would be the last major update to the old Load Impact code base.
Then we spent most of the summer and autumn frantically developing Load Impact 2.0. Since August we have been in crunch mode, working 10-hour days, 6 days a week (which is quite a lot to us lazy and decadent Europeans) and our efforts are starting to pay off now, with the 2.0 platform getting closer and closer to being release ready. At the time of writing we are running a closed beta test, and we expect that to continue for another week or two, then we will take 1-2 weeks to finish off everything, and finally release in the second half of October.
So, what's in it for me? How will Load Impact 2.0 affect me?
First of all, Load Impact 2.0 is a huge upgrade from the old system. We don't want to spoil the surprise, but it will mean a big step up functionality-wise. We expect our competitors to tear their hair out when they see it, at the very least. Introducing a lot of new features often means that you also introduce complexity, but we think we have made a pretty good job of hiding complex functionality until the user asks for it. Load Impact 2.0 should be as easy to use as (or easier than) the current system.
One big change that we want to announce beforehand, however, is the new pricing model we will adopt in 2.0. So far, we have been selling subscriptions to premium users, letting them buy premium access for a certain amount of time (a day, a week or a month) but we have realized there are several drawbacks to this scheme. For example, people cannot try out all the Load Impact features until they buy a premium subscription. How do they know that they will be able to do what they want to do, if they can't try before they buy? Also, we have to have limits in place on how many tests you can run, how much data you can transfer etc during your subscription period, otherwise we could be hard hit if someone bought e.g. premium access for a month and then ran one test after another, continuously throughout the whole month. So we set limits, and when a user runs one test too many they are told they can't run any more tests. Many people miss these limits, and are upset when they suddenly get denied trying to start a test.
To avoid these problems, and to get a simpler premium product, we have decided to scrap the old time-based subscriptions and instead sell Load Impact Credits. The credits are used whenever you run a load test, with a small test costing less than a large test. Just by having a registered account you will automatically receive a small amount of credits for free every month. You can use these credits to run several smaller load tests, or perhaps one medium-sized test. Per month. If your needs are more frequent or you need to run larger tests, you have to buy extra credits.
We think this system is fair and that it will allow all our amateur load testing users to continue running really small-scale load tests for free, with access to all our functionality, while the professional testers will have to pay for their testing as they often need to run more large-scale tests and sometimes more frequently also.
When Load Impact 2.0 is released, we will transfer all users from the old system to the new. We will then also migrate all old test results, configurations etc. The new system will be backwards compatible with the old so you will not lose any data. In fact, there are some test result metrics that we collect today, but which you are not able to see in the user interface (such as how many transactions returned error codes). These metrics will be available in 2.0, even for your old test results.
As Load Impact 2.0 will contain all the functionality (and more) of the current system, we have no plans on keeping the old system running in parallel with the new. When we release, you will not be able to logon to the old system anymore. The web address will still be the same as always - http://loadimpact.com - but the look-and-feel, and the functionality will be different.
What if I have an active subscription at the time you upgrade the site - what happens to my subscription?
Existing subscribers will be given a generous supply of credits, so they will not feel they lost anything by buying a premium account just before the upgrade.
We have to get back to you on that! When the exact date is set, we will email all our users about it.
If you have any more thoughts or questions, don't hesitate to contact us