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Pros And Cons Of Common PHP Performance Tools

Whatever app you build and deal with, having tools that make monitoring easy should be a number-one concern. Every PHP developer is spoiled, in a way, because of the many excellent performance tools available. If you are currently creating a PHP app, take a look at the following tools and see, based on their strengths and weaknesses, if they’ll be a good fit for your purposes.

APM Tools:

Sometimes, an otherwise perfect app will contain just one little flaw that slows everything else. That’s why careful tracking is so crucial. You need to observe how an application performs in many different environments in order to ferret out small design flaws. Common problems include bottlenecks related to API calls and all kinds of database queries. When these processes snag the system, everything has to be put on hold until the bottleneck is cleared. Only then can the app take on fresh chores.

What are the advantages of APM tools? For starters, they offer the deepest kind of profiling available, as well as the broadest. So that you can uncover the most lethargic pieces of your stack, APM tools are able to track code performance, web requests, logs, databases, and servers. Developers also have the key advantage of being able to see things from the user’s perspective. That means you can see what the most popular web requests are, view customer satisfaction parameters and check on the performance of SQL queries. And because APM tools run 24/7, there’s never any doubt about exactly when a performance problem is lurking in the system.

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On the negative side, keep in mind that APM tools tend to be priced on a per-server basis, which means you could end up shelling out more than you want. To be fair, cost over-runs are not generally a problem if you keep a close eye on price structures before opting for a particular tool. Vendors tend to be pretty transparent about pricing.


Tracking For Exceptions:

Typical PHP performance for exception tracking is quite effective. It’s important to realize that a single exception can bring systems to a full stop. For that reason alone, tracking every exception is vital for overall system health. If you are a developer using a log-tracking tool for PHP performance, you’ll be able to see errors as they arise without relying on the webserver log. Plus, you might not even have access to the log, so keeping a sharp eye on your log-tracking tool is essential.

Code Profilers:

Both tracing and standard PHP profiling tools are able to boost performance and uncover weak areas of an application. The standard profilers look at the app and record any stack traces. Tracing versions are a less-weighty way to find problems while you are coding. Most PHP enthusiasts know that standard tools offer a picture of things like memory usage, coding time per line, method call frequency and CPU usage.

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One disadvantage of using profilers is that they do add some overhead to your server. Most developers understand this dilemma but are happy with a bit of extra overhead during development. After the development phase is complete, the overhead problem no longer exists.

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