The Co-host of .NET Rocks! Opens His Performance Diagnostic Toolbox for us, and for a Good Cause
Richard Campbell, Podcast, Dev Con, & Non-profit Rock Star
Richard Campbell—veteran developer, podcasting guru, Dev Con master (DEVIntersection!) and philanthropist— is like the Dr. House, M.D. of .NET applications. He’s also a super nice guy. Admitting that he doesn’t get to do a lot of “real work” these days, most of his time is spent speaking, teaching and helping a variety of companies troubleshoot their application issues.
“The reason my toolkit is full of instrumentation tooling is that I’m making sure that I’m working on the right thing. The thing that will provide the largest performance improvement in the least amount of time, because this is expensive time. This is time we’re not building features.”
Richard’s Dev Toolbox
Tools should be: Portable, Budget-Conscious, Fit for the Task
1. WebPageTest.org “99% of the problems I deal with are performance diagnostic problems. Why are these offices not communicating well? Why is this website so slow? Once you know what the problem is, the fix is not usually that bad,” he explained. Webpagetest.org is a free website for anybody. “You type a URL— specify where you want that website hit from, anywhere in the world. So it will give me a detailed waterfall analysis of loading that webpage from that location with that browser. Question 1: Is the website up? Is it up for everyone else? Why is the website slow? What does slow mean to you?”
Looking at other free tools, Campbell suggests Glimpse. “Performance analysis tools are often a
challenge for the customer to buy. Playing with free tools helps them get started with that. Glimpse gives me better instrumentation to the web server, web browser interaction of an application.” New Relic and AppDynamics are products that he considers when he has time and money to spend. “These are detailed instrumentation tools, so now I’m actually installing bits into the application to measure each part of the application as it runs.”
3. Preemptive Analytics
One tool that many people don’t know about, Preemptive Analytics comes in the Visual Studio box as
the free version of the product. Pre-Emptive Analytics provides real-time method profiling in production,” Campbell explains. “Each method called gets individually measured, so that you can find methods that are having a huge impact on performance because of how often they are called, and how long they run.”
A Better Toolbox for a Good Cause
“I’ve harnessed my ADD for the forces of good,” Campbell jokes, referring to his new passion project—Humanitarian Toolbox— as the hardest thing he’s ever created.
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