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Gatling vs k6: What are the differences?

Introduction: Gatling and k6 are both popular open-source load testing tools used for simulating and measuring the performance of web applications. While they share some similarities, there are key differences that set them apart.

  1. Scripting Language: Gatling is primarily written in Scala and uses Gatling DSL (Domain Specific Language) for script creation. This gives users the advantage of leveraging powerful features of Scala. On the other hand, k6 is written in JavaScript, making it familiar to web developers and easier to adopt for those who are already proficient in JavaScript.

  2. Runtime Environment: Gatling operates in a distributed manner by running simulations on multiple machines or nodes, allowing for increased scalability and higher loads. It uses Akka, a toolkit and runtime for building highly concurrent, distributed, and fault-tolerant applications, to achieve this. In contrast, k6 is designed to run on a single machine, making it simpler to set up and configure for load testing.

  3. Protocols Supported: Gatling provides support for a wide range of protocols including HTTP, WebSocket, JMS, AMQP, SMTP, and more. This versatility enables testing various types of applications and systems. On the other hand, k6 primarily focuses on HTTP, making it a good choice for testing web applications and APIs.

  4. Metrics and Reporting: Gatling provides comprehensive reporting capabilities, offering detailed metrics such as response times, throughput, error rates, and more. It generates HTML reports and provides insights through charts and graphs, aiding in analyzing the test results. In contrast, k6 provides real-time metrics during test execution through the command-line interface and supports output to various formats including JSON and InfluxDB for further analysis and integration with other tools.

  5. Community and Support: Gatling has a large and active community, offering excellent support through forums, documentation, and user-contributed resources. It has been around for a longer time, gaining wider adoption and benefiting from continuous development. k6, though relatively newer, also has an active community and provides support through forums, documentation, and Slack channels.

  6. Plugin Ecosystem: Gatling has a rich ecosystem of plugins that provide additional functionality and integrations with other tools. These plugins cover areas such as reporting, integrations with CI/CD pipelines, and support for specific protocols. In comparison, k6 has a smaller plugin ecosystem but still offers some useful integrations, such as the ability to export metrics to popular monitoring systems.

In summary, Gatling and k6 are both powerful load testing tools, but they differ in terms of scripting language, runtime environment, protocols supported, reporting capabilities, community and support, and plugin ecosystem. The choice between the two depends on specific project requirements and the familiarity of the development team with the respective languages and tools.

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Pros of Gatling
Pros of k6
  • 6
    Great detailed reports
  • 5
    Can run in cluster mode
  • 5
  • 3
    Scala based
  • 2
    Load test as code
  • 0
  • 13
    Fits nicely in a CI workflow
  • 11
    Test scripts are written in javascript
  • 11
    It's code-first
  • 11
  • 10
    Easy to use

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Cons of Gatling
Cons of k6
  • 2
    Steep Learning Curve
  • 1
    Hard to test non-supported protocols
  • 0
    Not distributed
  • 3
    Requires bundling and transpiling to use npm packages

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What is Gatling?

Gatling is a highly capable load testing tool. It is designed for ease of use, maintainability and high performance. Out of the box, Gatling comes with excellent support of the HTTP protocol that makes it a tool of choice for load testing any HTTP server. As the core engine is actually protocol agnostic, it is perfectly possible to implement support for other protocols. For example, Gatling currently also ships JMS support.

What is k6?

It is a developer centric open source load testing tool for testing the performance of your backend infrastructure. It’s built with Go and JavaScript to integrate well into your development workflow.

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What companies use Gatling?
What companies use k6?
See which teams inside your own company are using Gatling or k6.
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What tools integrate with Gatling?
What tools integrate with k6?

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