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Like this article? We recommend Mistake 8: Fast Isn't Always Better

Mistake 8: Fast Isn't Always Better

Many people associate performance with speed. A fast application performs well. However, this isn't always the case. Performance also includes reliability and security, which is where George, a developer, comes into the story.

Users constantly complained that they couldn't get their work done using the custom application that George's company used. Management took that complaint to mean that the application wasn't fast enough. However, George noted that he often couldn't see some tasks take place; the application was already quite fast. He kept saying that speed wasn't the problem, but management didn't listen.

It turns out that the application performed the tasks incorrectly—but quickly. To get the speed that (management thought) the users wanted, the developers removed some safety and security checks from the application. Essentially, the application gave up reliability and security in favor of raw speed. At some point, a virus got onto the company network—and you can guess how that story ended. That was all it took for the application to fail the company and its users one last time. The corrupted database and downed application took a long time to repair. George found a job somewhere else.

The moral of this story is that fast doesn't necessarily mean better. Speed is only one component of application performance, and you need to balance it with reliable operation and data security. Doing the task incorrectly simply means that the user has to accomplish it again, which doesn't help anyone. Worse still, a data breach can put your face on the front page of a newspaper in the worst possible way. Always pay attention to how the application does something, as well as how fast.

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