Performance tuning tips

Tuning

Today I will share with you a couple of tips on process performance tuning: rewriting your code to be faster.

This, for a change (contrasted with my previous posts on performance tuning), has nothing to do with Oracle or SQL: you can use these tips in any language.

When your code has been identified as having a performance issue, the first task is to go through the code with a fine toothed com from a performance perspective. Is there something that you can immediately notice and change?

After that is done, one should look at caching as one optimizing method. Caching is used in multiple domains, from web-browsing to microprocessor memory and there is no reason why your code should not benefit from it. As an example, an application had some logic to map department IDs: given a source department, it had to determine a target department. However, several different database tables needed to be consulted in a chain mode, some of which allowed ranges (e.g. for input department 1234A to 999B, have the output department as 526C). All this took substantial time, per department input. To solve the problem, we created a cache table: when the process looked up one department, it added that to the cache table (along with the corresponding output department). The next time it encountered the same input department ID, it would just pick up the value from the cache. How long to retain the cache is an important parameter, and your own requirements will need to decide that.

This can also be implemented using a Hash table (or a LoadLookup as some languages call it), rather than using a database table.

The second tip is moving the decision making earlier in the flow. For example, with one of the reports, certain rows were selected for processing in the beginning. Each row was thereafter processed one by one. At that time, part of the logic was to check some row fields and determine that this particular row did not need to be processed. This check was moved upwards, during the time of initial selection. As a result, the overall processing time went down.

Please go apply these two tips in your projects and let me know your feedback.

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