Can your Web application handle lots of traffic? If so, then how much? The best way to figure out how much traffic your application can take is to load-test it. In this talk, Dustin Whittle describes a number of open-source tools that can help you to test the scalability of your Web application, at a number of different levels and in different ways.
Programmers love to use benchmarks to figure out whether a program is running quickly enough. Or to find the bottlenecks in a program. Or, sometimes, just to figure out why users are experiencing slow behavior. But programmers who try to compare programs, or algorithms, or languages, or technologies, are often accused of making mistakes with their benchmarks. In this talk, Aysylu Greenberg looks at benchmarking, and points to ways in which our benchmarks may well be flawed — and how we can try to avoid such problems.
Craigslist is one of the best-known, and most popular, Web sites, allowing people to find household items, find apartments, and jobs (among other things). How does Craiglist’s back end work? How is it able to provide such fast and responsive search results? In this talk, Jeremy Zawodny describes how Craigslist has evolved over time, and how this evolution has allowed them to improve their search responsiveness. If you’re interested in how to scale Web applications, then Craigslist is a great example, and their technology choices are useful to learn about, too.
We all hate to visit slow Web sites — but what does it mean for a site to be slow? Until we define our terms better, it’ll be hard for us to know where to start fixing things. In this talk, Paul Irish does try to define what it means for a site to be “slow” or “fast,” and then suggests some ways in which we can improve users’ perception of slowness.
Working with databases means, almost inevitably, trying to improve the speed of some of your queries. In the case of PostgreSQL, successful query tuning means understanding how the database works — and that includes understanding the query optimizer, the “brains” of PostgreSQL, which decides how to join your tables, what to read from disk, and which indexes to apply (among other things). In this Webinar, Bruce Momjian describes PostgreSQL’s query optimizer in great detail, providing many insights that come in handy when working to improve the speed of your queries.
Python, like many other high-level languages, is often seen as slow. However, this doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to optimize Python programs, or even to make them run quickly. In this talk, David Schachter takes a real-world application and shows how he combined a number of techniques to achieve a much faster execution speed.
Rubyists need to know about the method cache, because it determines the speed of the rest of the system. In this talk, Sheena McCoy and Rachel Myers describe how Ruby caches methods, and thus makes our method calls faster than would otherwise be the case.