Performance Testing, LoadRunner Tips&Tricks

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Working with Web (HTTP/HTML) V: File Download/Export

Frequently, I've observed that there are always questions relating to file download functionalities or file export not being recorded by Vugen for Web (HTTP/HTML) protocol in Web applications, such as clicking a link and the file will be downloaded.
In this article, I will describe the possibilities of the problem based on my experiences. We will elaborate using a Winword file.
When you click on the link or button to access the file, the file gets loaded in the browser. From here, the business process requires you to click on a link to export it or save it to the local machine.
There are two possibilities that will happen. The Winword is either saved over the network or at the OS level.
In the context of network level, the client makes a request to the server (as per norm) to download the file which translates to network traffic going to and fro between the client and server. This will be recorded.
In the context of OS level, the client issues a OS command to "save-as" the file from a temporary location (e.g. Temporary Internet Folder) to a defined location. Why is that so? Sometimes, the file is actually saved in the temporary folder in the first file download request which is viewed in the browser and the subsequent "export" command is actually an OS command to retrieve the file from the temporary location. This usually happens for Web applications that requires another application, in this example (Winword Viewer) to be launched prior the file to be viewed in the browser.
Therefore, in the two situations, you may want to know when the file is actually downloaded. And for this, I would recommend turing on the Full Extended Log to dig further. Usually for file downloads, the data should be represented in mixed chunk of characters (or what we defined them as binaries) in the Full Extended Log.
However, before you start with digging the logs, I would also recommend you to look at this previous article, "Protocols: Working with Web (HTTP/HTML)" that have recording solutions for Web (HTTP/HTML) protocols. This will at least scope the problem to application related or configuration setup in Vugen.
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