VersaTrans completely rewrote their flagship application during their latest upgrade. During development they noticed performance issues and decided they needed a good profiling tool, so they turned to AQtime for help.
Redesigning a Flagship Application
"We completely rewrote our company’s flagship application, VersaTrans RP, when we went from version 8 to version 9. We went from using file based database with many data elements in flat files to a client server application designed with Microsoft SQL Server as the back end datastore," said Chris Miller, from VersaTrans.
"While moving from a design geared for flat file storage to client/server, many of the processes that we used to manipulate data had to be rewritten from scratch. Mid-way through the development process, we started noticing some performance issues that would make the new version difficult to use."
Slow Batch Assignments
Chris said that they had performance issues in one particular operation: their batch assignment feature. "To grossly oversimplify what our batch assignment does, it allows the user to take a selection of students and generate all of the transportation requests (which bus stop, which school) and assign each request to a school bus route. Under the hood, a lot of calculations get done on both the client side and on the database side. For a mid sized school district, a batch assignment of 15,000 students was taking about 10 to 12 hours to run on a Pentium 4 box. With the previous version, the equivalent action would take abut an hour to run. The 10 fold increase in execution time made the new version a non-starter. We had to fix this."
VersaTrans Needs a Profiler Tool
"We knew we had to refactor some code; but the question was "Where do we start?". We needed to measure how long the various functions used by the batch assignment took to execute and how often they were called. That's when we knew we needed a profiler tool and we needed a good one," said Chris.
Searching for the Right Tool
Chris said that once they determined that they needed a profiler tool, they checked Borland's newsgroups. "I read a lot of good things about AQtime from SmartBear. I downloaded the trial version and I was blown away with the scope and breadth of the features. This was the profiler tool that we had to get."