9 Performance Tips for .NET Developers

If you have a business application, the last thing you want is for it to be slow-loading and offer clunky interactions. Ultimately, if performance is poor, it’s a fast way to drive your workforce to distraction or, indeed, to drive your customers elsewhere. When it comes to both external and internal applications, the fact of the matter is that satisfaction is very closely linked to speed and performance.

Fortunately, .NET is one of the best platforms for developing high-performance, cutting-edge apps. However, while .NET has the power to deliver, your .NET developers still need to know how to fine-tune performance and ensure your app runs well from the outset. When done right, .NET has the power to deliver above and beyond on any business requirements. So, to help you, here are nine performance tips that can optimise the performance of your .NET app and ensures it delivers on its expectations:

1. Optimise Your Code

It’s vital that you optimise custom code to improve business logic and performance. To do this, you should optimise custom handler code and login and authentication for requests, avoid performing long-running custom executions, work asynchronously and use real-time client-server communication. 

2. Cache Your Pages

Caching data and site assets is a simple but often forgotten way to optimise a .NET application and decrease page-loading time. Cached pages are served as static HTML versions of a page. This reduces time-consuming queries being sent to the database and ensures that a version of your page can be quickly served up to any visitor. This is especially relevant when serving the most recent version of a page requires database information. In addition, if your page has both dynamic and static sections, partial caching can be used to break up your page. Ultimately, page caching can lower server load significantly. 

3. Bundle and Minify Your Code

Bundling and minification are techniques that work to improve page load performance. Bundling joins together multiple files into a single one. Meanwhile, minification applies code optimisations and compression tools to scripts and CSS to create smaller payloads. By using both of these techniques together, you can reduce the number of requests to the server, reduce the size of requested assets and improve load time performance. 

4. Avoid Blocking Calls

.NET apps should be created to process several requests concurrently with asynchronous APIs allowing a small pool of threads to handle thousands of requests simultaneously. Instead of waiting on blocking calls or long-running synchronous tasks to complete, the threads can work on another request. However, blocking calls that could be asynchronous can lead to thread pool starvation and degraded response times. To avoid this, you shouldn’t block asynchronous execution by calling Task.Wait or Task<TResult>.Result. Meanwhile, you should make hot code paths asynchronous to help enhance performance and ensure the app runs smoothly without any errors. 

5. Reduce Large Object Allocation

While .NET includes a garbage collector that manages allocations and releases that aren’t required for the development process and frees up unnecessary memory, the process is costly and can impact app performance. While you don’t have to worry about unwanted data and code, you should consider caching big objects to avoid costly allocations and remove unwanted large objects on hot code paths. 

6. Reconsider Throwing Exceptions

Exceptions have a place in .NET app development, helping to handle errors that might occur and preventing app crashes. However, throwing exceptions creates a significant drain on resources. Catching a particular exception is better than a more generic one. But, ultimately, hiding a problem is never a great long-term solution. Fortunately,  it is often possible to handle common conditions without throwing exceptions and this should always be considered first to avoid unnecessary performance impacts down the line.  

7. Perform Code Reviews

While it’s great to incorporate new features, writing robust, maintainable code is key. A methodical review of .NET code is vital to locate and expedite any concerns or questions early in the coding process and enable a proactive approach to problem-solving. It’s also vital as a final check prior to production implementation to ensure that all standards have been met. By carrying out regular code reviews, you can protect the runtime environment from inefficient code execution, improve the overall quality of code, improve application functionality and maintain control over your code.

8. Assume Performance Problems Are Your Fault

Taking the blame might not always come naturally but it’s the best stance when it comes to solving .NET performance problems. Instead of blaming system code, third-party libraries or the .NET framework itself, first assume that performance problems are your fault. It may be that your application is misusing other people’s code. Double-checking everything you’ve done is the first step and can help you nip performance problems in the bud. 

9. Prepare for Performance Optimisation

Performance optimisation shouldn’t be an add-on to the app development process. In fact, to do it properly, .NET developers should prepare optimisation projects in advance. To set yourself up for success, consider creating a test environment where you can reproduce .NET performance behaviours, measuring performance KPIs before making any changes, making only small changes at a time and measuring everything. By using a profiler tool, you can spot .NET performance bottlenecks and avoid optimising code just based on a hunch, 

The quality of any large-scale application comes down to the .NET development process. By taking these nine tips into consideration during your development project, you can ensure that you enhance the performance of your NET application. What’s more, you should ensure that you’re working with the newest version of .NET. Each version comes with a new set of features and functions. More than that, Microsoft ensures that each version of .NET delivers better performance than its predecessor. With .NET, it’s easier than ever for developers to create a high-performing app that can take your business to the next level. 

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