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.NET Performance Testing and Optimization - The Complete Guide [Paperback]

Paul Glavich , Chris Farrell
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: 19.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

29 Mar 2010
There is a huge amount of information available on the how's and why's of performance testing .NET applications, but it is often fairly subjective, narrow in scope, or doesn't quite cover everything you were hoping to learn. The Complete Guide to Performance Testing and Optimizing .NET Applications (by Paul Glavich and Chris Farrell) covers everything from why you should test, through the steps of setting up your test environment, all the way to how to actually run and record tests, and what you should be looking for. Once you're up and running, Paul and Chris cover the fine details of tips and techniques to make the most of your performance testing, and some good ways to get fast results. With all this detail, you will have everything you need to make the most of your .NET code.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 422 pages
  • Publisher: Red gate books (29 Mar 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906434409
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906434403
  • Product Dimensions: 2.1 x 23 x 15.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,087,832 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

About the Author

Paul Glavich is an ASP.NET MVP with over 15 years of industry experience ranging from PICK, C, C++, Delphi and Visual Basic 3/4/5/6 to his current speciality in .NET with C#, COM+ and ASP.NET. Paul has been developing in .NET technologies since .NET was first in Beta, and was technical architect for one of the world's first internet banking solutions using .NET technology. Paul has authored books on Beginning AJAX in ASP.NET and Microsoft ASP.NET AJAX, and is currently focusing on Microsoft ASP.NET AJAX and Windows Communication Foundation technologies, has presented at the Sydney .NET user group (www.sdnug.org) and TechEd, and is also a board member of ASPInsiders (www.aspinsiders.com). In the event of particularly unruly hecklers, Paul also holds a 4th degree black belt in Budo-Jitsu. Chris Farrell has over eighteen years of development experience, and has spent the last seven as a .NET consultant and Trainer. For the last three years his focus has shifted to application performance assurance and the use of tools to identify performance problems in complex .NET applications. Working with many of the world's largest corporations, he has helped development teams find and fix performance, stability and scalability problems with an emphasis on training. After working at Compuware as a consultant for two years in 2009, Chris joined the independent consultancy CodeAssure UK (www.codeassure.co.uk) as their lead performance consultant. When not analyzing underperforming web sites, Chris loves to spend time with his wife and young son swimming, bike riding and playing tennis. His dream is to encourage his son to play tennis to a standard good enough to reach a Wimbledon final although a semi would be fine.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars .NET Performance Testing and Optimization 29 May 2010
Format:Paperback
If software systems designers were asked should we be concerned about such things as Performance testing and optimization we would all answer yes without hesitation. However, if ask how to achieve these things many would struggle to find answers. This volume aims to demystify this important area by examining the major topics of Performance testing, Load Testing, Stress Testing and Profiling. The aim of this book is to help you manage the execution of tests and the collation of the data derived from these tests while trying to achieve the best ratio between value to the business and effort expended - a noble goal.

All Developers do constant battle with piecing together many components to try to form a system that appears as a coherent whole. However, this battle hides important areas related to performance and the associated testing necessities related to this amalgamation components and the end performance of the beast. Just stop to condiser the components you use to build a site - web server, hosting software, Html, ASP.NET, CSS, Ajax - the list continues to grow. In this text the authors are attempting to assembly a knowledge base of expertise and best practices in an organised and useful manner.

The authors know a thing or two about testing and have a very approachable way of communicating this. They clearly layout their stall incorporating current best practices. Although the book is well researched and written don't expect to become a expert within a short period of time. The goal, of balancing results (in achieving performance efficiencies) with the cost of achieving those results takes some time to master and will be complicated during different projects by differing pressures, both technical and political!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
This great book on performance testing and optimization, really covers this topic well both from and overall perspective as in depth hands on stuff.
It covers new and emerging technique areas like VS2010, AppFabric and Cloud computing which in my opinion is a big PLUS.
I also like the coverage over different tools and functionality in the OS and Visual Studio to help you in your quest for well performing applications.
The book is packed with information and gives guidelines and the authors' great experience in this field really show.
This is a book to have handy and I have it on my desk for easy access.
You will not regret buying this book
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent handbook for .net professionals 13 May 2010
By Xuegang Huang - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book is just like its name, a complete guide to .net performance testing. It covers very broad scenarios related to .net development of various types of applications. I would think of this book as a handbook for beginner or intermediate levels of developers. When one needs deep insight to certain performance problems, the book can point out a direction and ONLY a direction.

One needs to know a bit more or be a little experienced with typical software development process and roles in order to understand the book at a better level. I like the test metrics part since it mentions the metrics together with the typical values of these metrics under various situations. The performance tuning and load balancing tips in chapters 11-13 are quite useful. But the chapters about application profiling and performance profiling look more like a brief introduction to various tools available. In addition, the timing of the content is important. One needs to look forward to an upgraded version when Windows 7 and Visual Studio 2010 is used massively.

All in all I think this is a good handbook and it covers a very important and realistic topic. It is interesting to say that I still find useful tips from the book after working in a large software development organization for years. :)
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book on performance testing and optimization!!! 5 May 2010
By Michael Garrido - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This great book on performance testing and optimization, really covers this topic well both from and overall perspective as in depth hands on stuff.
It covers new and emerging technique areas like AppFabric and Cloud computing which in my opinion is a big PLUS.
I also like the coverage over different tools and functionality in the OS and Visual Studio to help you in your quest for well performing applications.
The book is packed with information and gives guidelines and the authors' great experience in this field really show.
This is a book to have handy and I have it on my desk for easy access.
I definitly recommend buyin this book!
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book on .NET Performance Testing and Optimization 24 Jun 2010
By I. Spaanjaars - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
About the Book
The book is divided in 13 chapters dealing with the following topics:

Chapter 1, with the What and the Why section sets the stage by introducing concepts and terminology such as the different forms of testing, profiling and explains why it's important to quantify and measure code performance.

The second chapter deals with performance targets and helps you understand important things to measure and optimize, such as the (average) response times and the "time to first byte". It also talks about the load on your application you want to target such as the number of concurrent users, peak usage and growth of the application.

Chapter 3 deals with what information you need to collect to make good judgment calls about performance. It discusses the importance of a base line test for comparison, talks about the things you can measure such as CPU and memory usage, response times, requests per second (for web applications) and more. It also helps your recognize patterns in memory usage for normal applications and those with memory leaks. The chapter closes off with a description of many of the performance counters found in Windows that can be monitored with Performance Monitor.

Chapter 4 - Implementing Your Test Rig guides you through setting up your systems and network for performance tests and profiling. It deals with general network issues and shows you how to install and configure Visual Studio Team Test (or higher) and how to distribute and configure the workstation, the controllers and the agents. A useful chapter if you're new to this, although I find it lacking some detail here and there. And although Chapter 3 already introduced you to the many counters that can be tracked with Performance Monitor, this chapter introduces that tool as if it hasn't been mentioned before.

Chapter 5 gets a bit more practical and shows you how to record and replay web tests using Visual Studio. These tests can be part of performance tests. Again, a bit more detail would have been nice. You can figure out most of the stuff shown in this walk through yourself, but often it's the details behind the tests that are more important. More pointers to what to watch for, what to measure and what to ignore would have been welcome. I did like the tip about using Fiddler to record (some) of your tests. This can be especially handy with remote clients that have performance problems but don't have access to Visual Studio.

In the next chapter, Chapter 6 - Application Profiling - you get introduced to a number of tools for performance and memory profiling: Red Gate's own ANTS Memory and Performance profilers, Microfocus DevPartner Studio Professional 9.1 and Visual Studio 2008. Although you might expect that a lot of time is spent discussing Red Gate's tools, I found the balance between the three tools to be quite fair. A very useful section in this chapter is "What to look for" near the end of the chapter as it shows you a number of key indicators for problems and a resolution.

Despite the usefulness of that section, I was hoping to see a more in-depth explanation of these tools. The guidance is pretty basic, showing you how to profile your application but a much more detailed explanation of the results and how to interpret them would have been great. The problem with topics like this is probably to come up with good examples. They are either a bit contrived or too simple, or require a lot of code and setup to demonstrate. This in turn makes it difficult to show how to really use these tools, and you pretty much have to wait until you have a real problem in your own application. This is not something specific to this book but something I've seen in other books about performance as well.

Chapter 7 deals with performance profiling and shows you ways to measure performance of an application. You see what profilers can measure and how to interpret the results. This time, four tools are discussed: ANTS Performance Profiler, DevPartner Studio Professional 9.1, Visual Studio and the SQL Server Profiler. This chapter touches on Visual Studio 2010 as well, something that some other chapters are lacking. You'll see how to use these tools and interpret their results, looking for potential problems such as methods with high call counts, CPU intensive methods, slow methods and more. Again, a bit more depth would have been nice. For example, one of the new features in VS 2010 is JavaScript profiling; the book mentions it exists, but doesn't show you how to enable it.

Chapter 8 deals with memory profiling. It provides a lot of valuable insight in how garbage collection in .NET works. Since garbage collection is crucial to high performance applications, it's important to understand when and how it occurs, and this chapter digs deep in the internal working, showing you how the three garbage collection generations work and when they execute. You'll see how memory leaks can occur and how to find them using a number of tools, including ANTS, Studio Professional 9.1, Visual Studio and CLRProfiler, a free tool developed by Microsoft. Unfortunately, this tool works against the 2.0 run-time of the .NET framework only.

Chapter 9 discusses the performance testing process and provides tips on how to embed performance optimizations in your overall development strategy.

The next chapter deals with common areas for performance improvements. You learn a few tricks to optimize data access, how to use caching and cache dependencies (for example against SQL Server), discusses the risks of reflection and ORM frameworks, and talks about other potential performance areas such as the network, string manipulation, asynchronous web pages, data binding, caching and more.

Chapter 11 deals with things you need to consider when developing an application that needs to be load balanced and talks about topics such as shared state server, shared configuration options and briefly about Azure as the ultimate load balanced platform.

The chapter on Internet Information Services adds a lot of value in that it shows you some of the inner workings of IIS, crucial knowledge for building and maintaining high performing applications. Even if you're not an administrator responsible for managing IIS servers, this chapter provides a lot of background you can use in developing your ASP.NET applications.

The final chapter is very practical and gives you tips on optimizing HTTP. You'll see tools such as Firebug, YSlow and Fiddler to help you track and solve performance issues with your web applications. You'll also learn a bunch of tricks to help minimize network overhead by compressing and combining JavaScript and CSS files, how to use CSS sprites to minimize the number of requests for images and how to use Content Delivery Networks. If you like this chapter, be sure to check out Ultra-Fast ASP.NET by Richard Kiessig as it digs much deeper in all of these topics.

My opinion
This is a pretty decent book about performance in .NET, with a strong focus on web applications. If you're not a performance expert already, you'll take away a lot from this book. With the tips, tricks and background information you learn from this book you will be able to create high performing applications. My worries about a strong focus on the Red Gate tools was ungrounded; most of the tools get equal attention.

However, I wouldn't be me if I didn't have something to complain about or wish for. First of all, the book could have been edited better. It doesn't always flow naturally and introduces concepts that were already introduced in prior chapters. Also, the discussion of multiple tools in the same chapter causes some chapters to flow a bit illogical. A number of chapters could have a bit more depth, especially the ones dealing with the various tools and how to interpret the results they generate. Figuring out the basic operations of a tool is something you can easily accomplish yourself, but really understanding what the tools are telling you and how to respond to that is very important. If you read this book, be sure to follow the chapters with the tools that are discussed so you can do some more exploring yourself.

The book's strong focus on optimizing web applications does not reflect in the title or in the text on the back cover. Although a lot of the techniques you learn from this book are applicable in Web and other .NET applications, a lot of the optimizations such as those presented in Chapter 13, are for web applications only. Being a web developer myself, this was no problem for me, but it's something to be aware of.

Finally, the book itself could be improved a bit. Within seconds after opening it, the pages for the TOC fell out. The code font is a bit too large causing unnecessary wrapping and a more consistent theme for screen shots would give the book a more professional appearance. Screen shots from Windows 7 with the transparent Aero theme and drop shadows around Windows borders just doesn't translate well to print. Also, referring to "purple bars" (page 48) in a black and white book confuses matters, something you'll have no trouble with in the eBook version. Finally, the ugly font and capitalization of URLs doesn't make them very easy to retype in a browser.

Final score: 4 out of 5 stars
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars .NET Performance Testing and Optimization 29 May 2010
By Cliff Conway - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
If software systems designers were asked should we be concerned about such things as Performance testing and optimization we would all answer yes without hesitation. However, if ask how to achieve these things many would struggle to find answers. This volume aims to demystify this important area by examining the major topics of Performance testing, Load Testing, Stress Testing and Profiling. The aim of this book is to help you manage the execution of tests and the collation of the data derived from these tests while trying to achieve the best ratio between value to the business and effort expended - a noble goal.

All Developers do constant battle with piecing together many components to try to form a system that appears as a coherent whole. However, this battle hides important areas related to performance and the associated testing necessities related to this amalgamation components and the end performance of the beast. Just stop to condiser the components you use to build a site - web server, hosting software, Html, ASP.NET, CSS, Ajax - the list continues to grow. In this text the authors are attempting to assembly a knowledge base of expertise and best practices in an organised and useful manner.

The authors know a thing or two about testing and have a very approachable way of communicating this. They clearly layout their stall incorporating current best practices. Although the book is well researched and written don't expect to become a expert within a short period of time. The goal, of balancing results (in achieving performance efficiencies) with the cost of achieving those results takes some time to master and will be complicated during different projects by differing pressures, both technical and political! This will be a book that you can use as a blueprint for incorporating best practices in the field of performance/load/stress testing within your projects - just don't expect to apply all the practices all the time. However, at least you will have a clear understanding of what should be done and how to achieve it and therefore you will be in a strong position to make the case to the powers that be who control the budget constraints for a project.

I should particularly mention a couple of chapters that I found extremely useful. The chapter on IIS really educated me. Although I have used IIS for many years I now realise how little I
actually knew about it and how foolishly content I was in accepting the default settings. This chapter describes the inner workings of IIS in a very simple yet precise manner. It further describes the configuration options and importantly their impact on performance. Also worth particular mention is the chapter on HTTP optimization. This deals with the tools that can be used to help you with optimisation (Firebug, Fiddler, YSlow, IE Dev Toolbar). It also covers Javascript considerations, CCS optimization, Ajax considerations and image optimization. The summary and the call to action at the end of this chapter are pure gold and in one page give a simple task list for any one to make (possibly huge) improvements to their web site performance.

In the final analysis this is a very worthwhile collation and distillation of the considerations, techniques and best practices related to fine tuning your web based systems with regards to Performance testing and optimization for .NET.

If you look at your site and wonder why it is so slow this book will definitely help - go get.
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