No Longer Just a Hardware Problem

In the olden days we were obsessed with performance because it was a necessity – if you had a 64K memory limit it made sense to sweat over such things as the number of CPU cycles a given instruction used up. Performance is just as important now as it was then, but memory is abundant and hardware is cheap so what’s the problem?

The problem is that you can’t manage something you can’t measure, and the kinds of measurements that we developers have at our disposal are sometimes not all that helpful or relevant. We can profile our code and our database queries and look for performance hogs that way, but if our profiling doesn’t include the things end users will be doing it can be of little use in the end. It might be something as simple as a new Flash animation that clogs the pipe and makes performance come to a crawl. How will the developer know that with their 1GB connection and lightning fast client machine?

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