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Continuous Performance: A Best Practice to Ensure Faster Code : Page 3

Continuous performance is a new practice for detecting and fixing performance problems from the early stages of software development. Learn how to implement this process, which drives code that's cleanly factored and easier to read and maintain.


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Tools: The Final Step
Acquiring tools and technologies usually is easier than changing the way we work. Yet while nearly any development team can establish a continuous performance environment without organizational changes or major procedural upheavals, few know where to find tools that can help them set a performance baseline and test against it.

Some open source tools have made initial progress. For example, JUnitPerf is a simple extension of JUnit that lets every programmer time-box a given JUnit test case, or even test it under load. It does require some extra effort to set up and tear down test cases, and its load testing is relatively simplistic. But it's a good start.

Nearly any development team can establish a continuous performance environment without organizational changes or major procedural upheavals.

In addition to open source software, a new generation of commercial tools is emerging. Some companies like Borland are moving their performance suites into the areas of acceptance testing with some level of automation. Most larger companies, though, focus on lucrative development environments and post-production tools. For the most part, continuous performance is the domain of small companies whose software is solely devoted to enabling these strategies.



The Benefits of Continuous Performance
More and more, companies large and small are recognizing the need for ongoing performance testing, and they are working to introduce products to meet that need. Those that are bound to succeed will address all the key aspects of continuous performance implementation, including the ability to monitor and track performance over time. Meanwhile, server-based solutions that allow entire development groups to automate their unit tests will also be crucial for full-fledged solutions.

With the right guidelines and effective tools, continuous performance devotees will benefit from much more than simply saving a couple of weeks of code tuning. Development teams will preserve product schedules, avoid needless debugging after an application has been deployed, deliver better quality code to internal users and external customers, create happier and more productive programming teams, streamline post-development steps including QA and beta programs, and reduce the costs of supporting products.

These benefits should make the easy transition to a continuous performance environment an even easier sell to management. The financial costs are minimal, while the potential benefits can shoot straight to the bottom line.



Cliff Sharples is CEO and President of IronGrid, Inc., a provider of performance testing tools and solutions for Java developers. He has over 17 years of experience with information technology, software, and Web-based application development.
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