In our previous post, Synthetic, RUM, and a Brief History of APM, we talked about how insight into the behavior of your application is critical to improving it’s performance. After all, “if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it“. But always remember, measurement is just a means to an end, not the objective itself. Synthetic monitoring or RUM gives you data, but converting that data into actionable intelligence on how to improve your website is the next step in the ultimate objective of improving the business metrics of your app. This is where automatic diagnostic and optimization tools come in, and we feel they are a critical part of any web performance optimization strategy.
How Diagnostic and Optimization Tools Help
What problems do diagnostic and optimization tools solve? These tools help solve the problem of having a lot of data about performance, but not knowing what to do next. Specifically, diagnostic and optimizations tools interact with your web application or website to find and bring attention to specific performance problems in the design, content, or layout of your application. In other words, these tools tell you the specific things that are wrong with your site, and what you should do to fix them.
Diagnostic and optimizations tools have 2 major use cases. First, they can help you do initial triage, to understand what specific configuration issues, design and content defects, or infrastructure and application issues exist. This gives you a big task list of things to do to make the site faster. But using diagnostic and optimization tools just once, while helpful, is an immature way to leverage their power.
The second, and more powerful, use case for diagnostic and optimization tools is to use them as part of your development process. After all, you or your QA team don’t do functional testing just once or twice a year. In fact, the most mature development organizations have automated their functional testing to provide continuous coverage and act as a safety net against new bugs slipping into production. At Rigor, we believe you should do the exact same thing to prevent performance problems from slipping into production. By using diagnostic and optimization tools in the development process, you can see exactly what performance issues you have, and work them like your would any other type of bug.
The Future Exists Now, it’s Just Unevenly Distributed
We believe the future of APM is in diagnostic and optimization tools. They enable you to spend less time trying to determine what is wrong and more time actually fixing problems and making your site faster. Luckily, these tools already exist and you can start using them today.
For example, free and open source tools like PageSpeed, YSlow, and to some extent WebPageTest, look for a few dozen common front-end performance issues. Rigor also offers a free report that tests your site for several hundred common front-end performance issues.
These free offerings can really help you address the first use-case for diagnostics and optimization tools. While these tools can be somewhat automated and strung together with manual work or custom code, it can be challenging to use them to fully implement continuous performance auditing in the development process. For mature organizations with commercial budgets looking to get the most out of diagnostic and performance tools, digital monitoring and optimizations platforms like Rigor can be tremendously helpful.
Interested in diagnostic and optimizations tools? Then you will love Rigor’s performance monitoring and optimization platform. Our continuous monitoring provides 24/7 performance visibility of your website’s performance and availability and can identify optimizations for over 420 performance defects that are slowing it down.