Performance and Stability Issues in App Development

Performance and Stability Issues in App Development

What do you think is most likely causing performance and stability issues in app development? The Softblues team faced this question when working on a web application for advanced people management. 

Performance and stability issues: Softblues experience

The client’s application was based on React.js for the frontend and Node.js for the backend, as these technologies have proven advantageous for fast web app development. Additionally, the client decided to deploy the application on AWS, a cloud computing platform, and use PostgreSQL as the database.

As the application was actively expanding its user base and grew beyond 1000 business accounts, our client encountered issues with performance and stability. The app was loading slowly and generating a lot of bugs, making it difficult to provide a high-quality user experience. It affected the team’s velocity, as they spent more time fixing bugs and addressing performance issues and less time developing new features.

App development issues: core reasons

After four months, the client realized the performance and stability problems were impeding the overall quality of their application. At the start of our cooperation, we conducted a detailed analysis of the root causes of the issues. The investigation revealed that there were several factors contributing to the problems:

  • Inefficient database queries: Inefficient database queries can lead to slow loading times and increased server load, potentially causing server crashes and reduced application availability.
  • Poorly designed database schema: A poorly designed database schema can lead to slow query response times, causing overall performance issues.
  • Insufficient caching: The lack of caching in the application can lead to an increased load on the database, reducing application availability.
  • Inefficient code: Inefficient code can cause slow response times and reduced application performance, potentially leading to decreased user satisfaction.
  • Over-reliance on synchronous code: Over-reliance on synchronous code can lead to slower application performance, causing increased support requests.
  • Inadequate server infrastructure: Inadequate or improperly configured server infrastructure can reduce application performance and stability issues, causing server crashes.
  • Third-party service dependencies: The reliance on third-party services or APIs can result in performance and stability issues if those services experience downtime or fail to respond promptly, potentially causing reduced application availability.
  • Inadequate testing: Insufficient application testing can result in undetected performance and stability issues, potentially causing decreased user satisfaction and increased support requests.
  • Lack of monitoring and analytics: The lack of proper tracking and analytics can make identifying and diagnosing performance and stability issues challenging, potentially causing increased support requests.
  • Complex business logic: Complex business logic can be challenging to maintain and optimize, leading to performance and stability issues over time, causing decreased user satisfaction.

Optimal solutions for app development

To successfully approach the project’s problems, the Softblues team decided to bring in an experienced Tech Lead and use their assessment of the application. Our Tech Lead started by analyzing the application code, architecture, and infrastructure, to identify the critical performance and stability issues that had the most significant impact on users. Based on the analysis, the specialist, along with the team, developed a strategy to address these issues, which involved the following steps:

Databases operations

  • Database query optimization. We identified and optimized inefficient database queries by adding proper indexing and rewriting queries for better performance. It involved reviewing the database schema and identifying slow or poorly optimized queries. The Tech Lead added the necessary indexes and optimized the queries to reduce their response time. The improvements resulted in faster load times for the application.
  • Database schema refactoring. We refactored the poorly designed database schema by normalizing the data and simplifying the table relationships. The Tech Lead reviewed the schema to facilitate the table relationships and improve the overall database structure. These actions resulted in faster query response times, reducing overall application latency.

Code operations

  • Caching. We implemented caching mechanisms to reduce the load on the database and improve application performance. It involved caching at various levels in the application, including client-side and server-side. The Tech Lead configured the caching to ensure it was adequately invalidated when updating the database.
  • Code optimization. We rewrote inefficient code, reducing response times and improving overall application performance. It included analyzing the application code and identifying areas where it could be optimized.
  • Asynchronous code. We replaced synchronous code with asynchronous to improve application performance. It involved analyzing the application code and identifying areas where synchronous code was unnecessary. It helped significantly reduce the application’s latency.

Server & testing

  • Server infrastructure optimization. We upgraded server infrastructure and optimized server configurations to handle the increasing load from the user base. The Tech Lead then upgraded the server hardware and optimized the configurations to address the growing load.
  • Third-party service redundancy. We implemented backup or redundant services and reduced the application’s reliance on third-party services. The Tech Lead applied backup for critical third-party dependencies, reducing the application’s reliance on these services. The improvements increased application stability and reduced downtime.
  • Testing process improvement. We integrated a robust testing process to identify and diagnose performance and stability issues, including load testing, stress testing, and other techniques. Thus, the Tech Lead used the results of these tests to diagnose performance and stability issues and address them appropriately.

App development analytics

  • Monitoring and analytics. We implemented monitoring tools that track key performance metrics and provide insights into application usage and performance. The improvements in monitoring and analytics resulted in better app visibility and faster response times.
  • Simplified business logic. We broke down complex business logic into smaller, more manageable components, optimized code, and implemented monitoring tools to identify bottlenecks and other issues. The application’s business logic improvements resulted in increased overall application performance.

Through these steps, the Tech Lead was able to help the team significantly improve the performance and stability of the application, resulting in a better user experience for customers.