Chapter 5. Designing with Speed in Mind

Many developers equate performance with speed. Part of the reason for this confusion is that the media tend to confuse performance and speed. You hear about a high-performance engine for a car and automatically think about the speed that the engine delivers, because that's the area of performance on which the media focus. You can be sure the guys in the pits are thinking more about how reliably the engine can deliver that speed. In short, speed is only one component of performance. When you look at the speed of an application, you're asking how fast the application can perform a task. The application could have high speed and perform the task incorrectly, which would mean that it was getting nowhere fast.

This chapter explores the question of application speed. Speed is important because users quickly become dissatisfied when applications are slow. Speed is also extremely hard to quantify — fast for one person is slow for someone else, usually depending on the skills of the two people. Consequently, developers are always asking the question of how fast is fast enough. This chapter will help you define the parameters for answering that question, but you'll need to provide the specific answer for your application based on organizational requirements and user needs.

Once you get past the question of how fast is fast enough, it's important to consider how to add speed to an application without making it unreliable or insecure. Of course, there are ...

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