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Improve Performance of Web Applications
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We all know how frustrating it is to see the progress spinning wheel going on and on while navigating through a web app. It’s due to these performance issues that users lose interest in a web application, which can hinder the success of the app. Improving performance is an important task for any app developer, and there are many commercial tools available that can be useful. In this article I will share my experience and opinions on two commercially available tools; ANTS Performance Profiler and New Relic.

ANTS Profiler

ANTS Profiler can be used on any .Net application, either web based or in Windows to identify slow processes. We have found that it is useful both at the development stage, and the QA stage. Using the tool involves starting up the ANTS Profiler, and navigating through the app to view the pages with slow performance. Once the profiling is complete, we can dive deeper into the processes that the profiler identifies as slow.

To give you an idea, here are some examples of performance issues we were able to identify and address:

  1. The first step we took when analyzing a slow app using the ANTS tool, was to check the database calls. The profiling showed that certain stored procedures were taking a lot of time. The problem was addressed by rearranging joins used in the stored procedures, and selecting only those columns necessary for the output. This significantly improved the rendering time for the page.
  2. The profiling also showed that in a single page, there were multiple stored procedure calls which were increasing the database hits and slowing down the app. To overcome this problem, we combined multiple stored procedures into one, which improved the page performance.
  3. It was further identified that whilst rendering the page, multiple JavaScript and CSS files were getting loaded, making rendering very slow. The ANTS Profiling helped identify the slowest web requests. This allowed us to use the bundling concept to group files together in order to reduce the number of web requests, thereby improving the speed of rendering.

New Relic

New Relic is another commercial tool which can be used to analyze performance once an app has already been launched. It provides real-time data of user experience with the application in the production environment, which is extremely useful to optimise the process of improving application performance.

To give you an idea of how New Relic can be used, below are some insights we gained from New Relic when trying to improve a customized web application.

New Relic

  1. The data showed us that as the number of users increases, the rendering time for the page increases as well. It was able to give us a lot of insight into how CPU and memory is used by the application.
  2. The data also showed us which pages are most viewed, allowing us to focus on improving the performance of these pages. It also showed us on which pages errors were most frequently encountered, as well as the time taken for web requests and database calls on these pages. These were then fine-tuned to significantly minimize the frequency of errors.
  3. The tool gives us analytic information about the most frequently used browsers and devices used to access the web application. This information helped us focus the application implementation in order to improve the user friendliness on those browsers and devices.

Improving the app performance in terms of speed and user friendliness will improve the user experience and thereby significantly increase web traffic. Although working on application performance can be a pain, ignoring it is not advisable for any developer. The use of these tools can be very helpful at different stages: ANTS Profiler is most useful at the development environment and for QA, whereas New Relic is most useful in the production environment to analyse the user data.

MetaSys has extensive expertise in improving application performance, including the use of the different tools, some of which have been described in this article. Feel free to contact us for help with improving your application performance. For more info https://www.metasyssoftware.com/dot-net

 

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