Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Liz McMillan, Ed Witkovic, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Stackify Blog

Related Topics: Microservices Expo, Mobile IoT

Microservices Expo: Article

Five Overlooked Factors of Mobile Application Performance

Why addressing them can help you triumph in the mobile arms race

Too often, little consideration is given to performance testing in the context of mobile application testing. We are reaching a tipping point in how consumers are accessing the Internet, with more than 50% of users expected to access the Web via a mobile device by the end of 2013. With this increase in mobile usage comes the need (really, a requirement) for organizations to meet an increased expectation in application performance.

As users demand the same experience whether they are accessing Web-based content from their smart phones, tablets, or laptop computers, the performance of your mobile application has never been more crucial to the performance of your bottom line. Not only are user expectations creating a need for better performing apps, your competitors are rushing to mobilize their apps, creating a sort of "mobile arms race" in which the loser risks market share, customers, and revenue. To effectively compete and meet user expectations, you need to ensure that performance testing is central to all aspects of your app development process.

Here are five overlooked factors in mobile application performance that, if addressed, will help your company triumph in, rather than be crushed by, the mobile arms race.

#1 Time to start addressing performance issues
When it comes to performance testing your mobile application, good things do not come to those who wait. The longer you wait, the more expensive it will be to fix any issues you uncover. It can be up to 100x more expensive to find and fix problems with your app after deploying to production than it is to address performance throughout the development process. But when in your design process should you start testing for and taking performance into consideration?  This is something you should be doing from the word "go". Build performance service level objectives (SLOs) into your development objectives so that QA and functional testing teams have performance goals. Once your SLOs have been established, testing, analyzing, optimizing, and validating those objectives early and often will save you from headaches and lost revenue associated with post-deployment performance nightmares.

#2 Instability of networks
You cannot control the network but you can control how your application will perform in the network. When testing app performance, many companies do so in isolation, under pristine network conditions. As anyone who has traveled, had a call dropped, service interrupted, or tried to connect to the network at a tech conference knows, network conditions change throughout the day and from location to location. Without taking this variability into account when testing your app, you will not have a clear sense of your app's performance in the real world. By planning for the variability of the network throughout the development life cycle and incorporating real-world network conditions into the testing environment, you will have a much better chance of deploying an app that performs up to your SLOs regardless of where or when it is used.

#3 Discovery
Know thy device. Know thy network. Know thy user. These discovery mantras will keep you focused on key areas of application performance. How will your app run on iPhone vs. Android, iPad vs. Kindle Fire, Verizon vs. AT&T, 4G vs. 3G, New York vs. LA, London vs. Tokyo? Each device, network, and location has its own set of limitations that you will have to account for as a developer. To get your app to meet SLOs, including varying geographic or user-specific SLOs, you have to test for each and every variable. With network, software, and device upgrades being introduced seemingly on infinite loop, it is necessary to continue this in-depth testing throughout the lifecycle of your app.

#4 Designing for performance
What makes a great sports car is twofold. First, it has to look fantastic. Second, and more importantly, it has to perform. Without world-class technology under the hood, it is not a machine, but art. The same principle applies to an app. It could have the most intuitive user interface design with an outstanding look, feel, and style, but all of that means nothing unless it performs. How do you do this? Consider performance as you design or code. Some critical considerations include being aware of cache space, reducing app turns by combining Java Script files, and placing a premium in your development process on optimizing data sent to and from the app. Make this an ongoing process even after app deployment because as new content is added, the structure and size of your site or app will necessarily change. Also, optimize your content. Different devices will display your app at different sizes and image qualities. Reduce the size of page graphics if needed. Remind your marketing department that even though the company logo does look better with more pixels, your customers are more interested in how fast the image loads, not how big it is. Balancing performance with design is a delicate issue but keep in mind that without this balance, a beautiful app that doesn't load fast enough is like a Ferrari with a Yugo engine. People will try it once but never use it again.

#5 Efficient Delivery Strategies
Not all content for your app has to be sent from your hosting location. By utilizing a Content Delivery Network (CDN), you can easily distribute dynamic content closer to your end users. This will decrease load time, reduce latency, and give users a better interactive experience with your site. For example, if your data is located on servers in San Francisco, users in London will experience greater latency than users in Chicago. By considering early on in the development process what content can be placed on a CDN and having already discovered locations of your end users, you will be able to provide users in remote locations with a faster time to first byte along with overall faster transaction times and increased performance. You also need to consider third party content that will be displayed on your site. Since you have less control over that content and its load times, be sure to, whenever possible, design your application so that it is less dependent upon such third party content.

What Does This All Mean?
Given that most companies are developing and deploying mobile apps not for fun, but to help their business grow, there is significant risk in overlooking these factors. In the mobile arms race, app performance is the new deciding factor in determining which companies profit and which lose customers. By addressing these five factors from the very first stages of mobile application development, you will place your company at an advantage over the competition. Not only will addressing them provide tangible benefits like saving time and money on fixing issues, it will also keep your company's reputation, public image, and customer loyalty in tact, important non-tangibles in a Twitter-driven world. So, plan for performance early, test for it often, and you will have a much greater chance of being victorious in the new mobile arms race.

More Stories By Mark Tomlinson

Mark Tomlinson is the Senior Director, Application Performance Engineering at Shunra Software (www.shunra.com), a Philadelphia-based company that helps firms worldwide ensure application performance and end user experience. He has 20 years of experience of real-world scenario testing of very large and complex systems. He is regarded as an expert and leader in software testing automation with specific emphasis on performance.

@MicroservicesExpo Stories
"Opsani helps the enterprise adopt containers, help them move their infrastructure into this modern world of DevOps, accelerate the delivery of new features into production, and really get them going on the container path," explained Ross Schibler, CEO of Opsani, and Peter Nickolov, CTO of Opsani, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The purpose of this article is draw attention to key SaaS services that are commonly overlooked during contact signing that are essential to ensuring they meet the expectations and requirements of the organization and provide guidance and recommendations for process and controls necessary for achieving quality SaaS contractual agreements.
What's the role of an IT self-service portal when you get to continuous delivery and Infrastructure as Code? This general session showed how to create the continuous delivery culture and eight accelerators for leading the change. Don Demcsak is a DevOps and Cloud Native Modernization Principal for Dell EMC based out of New Jersey. He is a former, long time, Microsoft Most Valuable Professional, specializing in building and architecting Application Delivery Pipelines for hybrid legacy, and cloud ...
The “Digital Era” is forcing us to engage with new methods to build, operate and maintain applications. This transformation also implies an evolution to more and more intelligent applications to better engage with the customers, while creating significant market differentiators. In both cases, the cloud has become a key enabler to embrace this digital revolution. So, moving to the cloud is no longer the question; the new questions are HOW and WHEN. To make this equation even more complex, most ...
CloudEXPO New York 2018, colocated with DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location.
Docker is sweeping across startups and enterprises alike, changing the way we build and ship applications. It's the most prominent and widely known software container platform, and it's particularly useful for eliminating common challenges when collaborating on code (like the "it works on my machine" phenomenon that most devs know all too well). With Docker, you can run and manage apps side-by-side - in isolated containers - resulting in better compute density. It's something that many developer...
In his keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Sheng Liang, co-founder and CEO of Rancher Labs, discussed the technological advances and new business opportunities created by the rapid adoption of containers. With the success of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and various open source technologies used to build private clouds, cloud computing has become an essential component of IT strategy. However, users continue to face challenges in implementing clouds, as older technologies evolve and newer ones like Docker c...
"We're developing a software that is based on the cloud environment and we are providing those services to corporations and the general public," explained Seungmin Kim, CEO/CTO of SM Systems Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
All organizations that did not originate this moment have a pre-existing culture as well as legacy technology and processes that can be more or less amenable to DevOps implementation. That organizational culture is influenced by the personalities and management styles of Executive Management, the wider culture in which the organization is situated, and the personalities of key team members at all levels of the organization. This culture and entrenched interests usually throw a wrench in the work...
We all know that end users experience the internet primarily with mobile devices. From an app development perspective, we know that successfully responding to the needs of mobile customers depends on rapid DevOps – failing fast, in short, until the right solution evolves in your customers' relationship to your business. Whether you’re decomposing an SOA monolith, or developing a new application cloud natively, it’s not a question of using microservices - not doing so will be a path to eventual ...
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Red Hat's Chief Archi...
Containers and Kubernetes allow for code portability across on-premise VMs, bare metal, or multiple cloud provider environments. Yet, despite this portability promise, developers may include configuration and application definitions that constrain or even eliminate application portability. In this session we'll describe best practices for "configuration as code" in a Kubernetes environment. We will demonstrate how a properly constructed containerized app can be deployed to both Amazon and Azure ...
In his keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Sheng Liang, co-founder and CEO of Rancher Labs, discussed the technological advances and new business opportunities created by the rapid adoption of containers. With the success of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and various open source technologies used to build private clouds, cloud computing has become an essential component of IT strategy. However, users continue to face challenges in implementing clouds, as older technologies evolve and newer ones like Docker c...
We all know that end users experience the internet primarily with mobile devices. From an app development perspective, we know that successfully responding to the needs of mobile customers depends on rapid DevOps – failing fast, in short, until the right solution evolves in your customers' relationship to your business. Whether you’re decomposing an SOA monolith, or developing a new application cloud natively, it’s not a question of using microservices - not doing so will be a path to eventual ...
We all know that end users experience the Internet primarily with mobile devices. From an app development perspective, we know that successfully responding to the needs of mobile customers depends on rapid DevOps – failing fast, in short, until the right solution evolves in your customers' relationship to your business. Whether you’re decomposing an SOA monolith, or developing a new application cloud natively, it’s not a question of using microservices – not doing so will be a path to eventual b...
Agile has finally jumped the technology shark, expanding outside the software world. Enterprises are now increasingly adopting Agile practices across their organizations in order to successfully navigate the disruptive waters that threaten to drown them. In our quest for establishing change as a core competency in our organizations, this business-centric notion of Agile is an essential component of Agile Digital Transformation. In the years since the publication of the Agile Manifesto, the conn...
The next XaaS is CICDaaS. Why? Because CICD saves developers a huge amount of time. CD is an especially great option for projects that require multiple and frequent contributions to be integrated. But… securing CICD best practices is an emerging, essential, yet little understood practice for DevOps teams and their Cloud Service Providers. The only way to get CICD to work in a highly secure environment takes collaboration, patience and persistence. Building CICD in the cloud requires rigorous ar...
The past few years have brought a sea change in the way applications are architected, developed, and consumed—increasing both the complexity of testing and the business impact of software failures. How can software testing professionals keep pace with modern application delivery, given the trends that impact both architectures (cloud, microservices, and APIs) and processes (DevOps, agile, and continuous delivery)? This is where continuous testing comes in. D
JetBlue Airways uses virtual environments to reduce software development costs, centralize performance testing, and create a climate for continuous integration and real-time monitoring of mobile applications. The next BriefingsDirect Voice of the Customer performance engineering case study discussion examines how JetBlue Airways in New York uses virtual environments to reduce software development costs, centralize performance testing, and create a climate for continuous integration and real-tim...
High-velocity engineering teams are applying not only continuous delivery processes, but also lessons in experimentation from established leaders like Amazon, Netflix, and Facebook. These companies have made experimentation a foundation for their release processes, allowing them to try out major feature releases and redesigns within smaller groups before making them broadly available. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Brian Lucas, Senior Staff Engineer at Optimizely, discussed how by using ne...