Chapter 10. Secrets of High Performance Native Mobile Applications

Israel Nir

Since Steve Souders published his seminal book High Performance Web Sites four years ago, the world has changed considerably. Web sites became faster, browsers significantly improved and users started to expect top performance. During these four years, a new category of client-facing applications was born, which currently receives little attention from the performance community—native mobile applications. These applications have their own set of challenges and opportunities. Luckily, they also have a lot in common with good old web applications. One thing’s for certain, users expect native apps to perform as fast, if not faster, than web sites. With the Christmas rush in full swing, users are bound to be even less tolerant of poorly performing apps, so I figured it’s a good time to see how the top sellers’ mobile apps perform, and at the same time, also make a dent in my holiday gift list.

What are the two factors that most affect app performance? I’m not going to discuss native code tweaks, since this is predominantly platform-dependent and will probably put most of you to sleep. So let’s focus on mobile performance tuning—improving the application’s behavior over the network. The importance of network utilization is even greater considering the kind of network conditions these apps are most likely to encounter, such as high latency and low bandwidth.

In order to analyze a mobile app’s network traffic, you ...

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