The Omniscience of Performance Monitoring (Application Performance Monitoring is the new Unit Testing by Nathan D Acuff)

4 Sherpas took an adventure to Toronto for the Full Stack Toronto Conference 2015, these are some of the ?things they learned...




“Big Brother is watching” is a term that has been thrown around often. Usually the context of its use revolves around government spying and policing the masses. In the case of IT, the sole purpose is metrics – Who is doing what, when, and what are they up too?

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Monitoring implemented into your Application Layer can offer an insight into several areas:

Performance specs – how long your processes run for. Monitoring the length of individual processes or groups of processes allows you to see where your time is spent. Are the pauses in render or display time taken up in data transfer? Is it caused by calculations?

User… usage? – What are your users doing? What are they trying to do? When are they doing it, what times, and what are they experiencing in response time?

Outdated methods – Has your site progressed and updated recently but you are not fully sure that you want to delete a certain process yet? Alerting someone that a deprecated method is still being called makes for a pretty quick response time. Figure out why the method is being called in order to either redirect your users, or perhaps bring that feature back.

Monitoring does a couple things in your favour:

First, it puts you in charge of who catches issues initially. When a client catches problems, there is usually hell to pay. If a client reports a problem, it is probably loud and heated. If you go to your client with the strength and confidence of “there is a problem that we are working on,” your client will respect your position that you are in control of the situation.

Secondly, it removes the ownership of knowledge of a project. When all projects are being monitored in the same fashion, all project issues are equally accessible. When anyone can access issues, everyone can help address the issues – even if the sole developer is away on vacation.

So while monitoring is good for performance and is good for the future of UX, it is also good for sales. Having a dashboard for your account team to visually see what is working for certain clients, can aid in the sell to another providing proof of UX that can be presented to the client.

On the technical side, monitor everything. Not necessarily always, but at least until you are confident that something works – and works well, and when that happens, turn it off on that process (or not.) As well, if it can be measured, it is worth measuring; knowing what works and doesn’t work will tell you whether to invest time into similar features for future projects.

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