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Epitomy Uses Profiler to Optimize Online Auto Catalog

This article demonstrates how ANTS Profiler and ANTS Load, two developer tools from Red Gate Software, can be used to successfully optimize the performance of a .NET application.

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This is a showcase review for our sponsors at CodeProject. These reviews are intended to provide you with information on products and services that we consider useful and of value to developers.

Business Objectives:

Identify problematic code within an online parts catalog for the UK's leading service provider of aftermarket auto parts.

Technical Challenges:

The website is used to sell 1 million parts over the Internet; there was a huge amount of code to debug and optimize.

Solution:

Using Red Gate Software's ANTS Profiler to identify slow and redundant code during development and testing.

Results:

Epitomy was able to save 75 percent of debugging and optimizing time, and possibly hundreds of hours tracking down duplicate code.

Introduction

This article demonstrates how ANTS Profiler and ANTS Load, two developer tools from Red Gate Software, can be used to successfully optimize the performance of a .NET application.

Background

Epitomy, a provider of data management services, thought it had some very cool code to manage pop-ups for an online catalog of auto parts.

That was before the company's software developers ran it through ANTS Profiler, a simple, $295 tool from Red Gate Software that identifies slow code for .NET applications.

"ANTS Profiler showed that our 'very cool' code was slow," says Andrew Vernon, Epitomy's director. "We decided to use a less-elegant alternative that boosted performance."

Epitomy, based in Sheffield, England, is seeking to redefine the way capital goods manufacturers communicate with their sales and service networks. The company worked with Lex Auto Logistics, the UK's leading service provider of after-sales logistics for the automotive industry, to create LEXtec, the first web-based automotive parts catalog. The site has been operating successfully for the past year, and Lex Auto Logistics and Epitomy are working on a new module scheduled to go live this spring.

LEXtec is an ASP.NET application that uses SQL Server to store the data required to display approximately 1 million parts. Beyond its transactional value, the site gives Lex Auto Logistics a major marketing advantage by placing the company at the forefront of parts sales and service technology.

ANTS Aids Performance

ANTS products have played a significant role in helping to improve LEXtec's performance. Epitomy and Lex Auto Logistics used Red Gate's ANTS Load before the launch of LEXtec to simulate an increasing number of simultaneous users accessing the site. ANTS Load identified how the user experience and performance of the servers changed based on different load levels. It enabled Epitomy and Lex Auto Logistics to identify and eliminate bottlenecks in their basic architecture.

"By load-testing LEXtec with ANTS Load we were able to validate this strategically important product," says Keith Dewhurst, IT director for Lex Auto Logistics. "Using .NET as the basis of our technology and load-testing with a .NET-specific tool improved our time to market."

While ANTS Load helped Epitomy and Lex Auto Logistics validate their architecture, ANTS Profiler is helping them dig deeper into the application's code as they work on the new module.

"We believe the 80/20 principle is particularly applicable to ANTS Profiler," says Andrew Vernon, Epitomy's director. "It quickly highlights the top 10 problem areas in terms of speed, and once fixed, they account for 80 percent of the available performance boost from the code."

In addition to identifying slow code, ANTS Profiler helps Epitomy single out simple mistakes that are often difficult to find, such as cutting and pasting errors. In the LEXtec application, for example, a resource-intensive line of code was accidentally duplicated.

"If we had to insert debug lines it would have taken 100 times longer to track down the problem," says Vernon. "Since it was a mistake, it was quickly highlighted by ANTS Profiler."

Optimized Code in a Quarter of the Time

Vernon and the Epitomy software developers say that ANTS Profiler enabled them to debug and optimize the LEXtec application in about one-quarter of the time it would have taken otherwise.

With principal debugging and optimization completed, Epitomy is doing final testing of the new LEXtec module. Epitomy also has a number of other projects for which it plans to use ANTS Profiler.

"ANTS Profiler is an important tool for .NET developers to have during development and testing," says Vernon. "We wouldn't want to do without it."

To see how well ANTS Profiler and ANTS Load will work for your applications, download a fully-functional, free trial from the Red Gate website.

License

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About the Author

Red Gate Software
Red Gate Software Ltd.
United Kingdom United Kingdom
Red Gate Software makes ingeniously simple tools used by over 650,000 Microsoft technology professionals working with .NET (incl. ASP.NET), SQL Server, Azure, and Oracle. More than 100,000 companies use our products, including 93% of the Fortune 100.

Our philosophy is to design highly usable, reliable tools which elegantly solve the problems that developers and database administrators face every day.
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