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Performance-Driven Development

By  May 11, 2010

Topics: SQL Server, Data

I was reading a blog yesterday about the evils of SELECT *. The author pointed out that it's almost always a bad idea to use SELECT * for a query, but in the case of SQL Azure (or any cloud database, for that matter) it's especially bad, since you're paying for each transmission that comes down the line. A very good point indeed.

This got me to thinking - shouldn't we treat ALL programming that way? In other words, wouldn't it make sense to pretend that we are paying for every chunk of data - a little less for a bit, a lot more for a BLOB or VARCHAR(MAX), that sort of thing? In effect, we really are paying for that. Which led me to the thought of Performance-Driven Development, or the act of programming with the goal of having the fastest code from the very outset. This isn't an original title, since a quick Bing-search shows me a couple of offerings from Forrester and a professional in Israel who already used that title, but the general idea I'm thinking of is assigning a "cost" to each code round-trip, be it network, storage, trip time and other variables, and then rewarding the developers that come up with the fastest code.

I wonder what kind of throughput and round-trip times you could get if your developers were paid on a scale of how fast the application performed...

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