Daniel Cawrey

Speed crucial when developing web apps

For Web apps that require a steady supply of data, a content delivery network (CDN) should be an integral component.

Building modern Web apps is a lot like putting a digital puzzle together — there are many pieces to consider. When creating an application that requires a steady supply of data, a content delivery network (CDN) should be an integral component.
Any successful Web app must be prepared to scale for mainstream adoption in case of a sudden burst in popularity. It is important to consider potential reliability and scalability issues, even in the early stages of development. Anything that hits critical mass, whether it’s a messaging app or a new social game, can experience major problems if it gains popularity too quickly without properly planning how to scale.

Hot spots
Even though the Internet allows developers to deploy global software applications, many apps are used in a concentrated geographical area. Often, caching of data can help with the performance of Web apps in geographic hot spots, where server clusters can help to speed up data transmission.
Often, many applications can be affected by slowdowns that only certain users in particular hot spots might experience. This is where a CDN provider can assist. Instead of having to pinpoint locations where server instances might need to be deployed, using network “market makers” can offer assistance and simultaneously make sure that Web apps are caching enough to satisfy users.

Media intensity
There is something to be said about a simple, easy-to-use Web interface when designing a product. But even pulling off bare simplicity on the front end sometimes requires a lot of code and requests. Sometimes the cloud needs help pushing information through a system so users do not experience lag.
If a Web application requires a lot of media-rich streaming, a CDN can make sure that content loads quickly. When content is not served up as quickly as it should be, it is a major irritant to users. Often, the experience is so bad that many potential customers simply never return to that particular site.

Overall speed
Hosting files in the cloud always means that there can be some apprehension about performance once an application starts to scale. Using a CDN may seem like an overreaching step at the beginning of an app’s development, but reliability and performance are incredibly important once the app hits the production stage.
It’s important to prepare for the unexpected. It is risky to assume that the Internet will constantly deliver on speed and reliability; there were numerous events over the last half of 2013 that show how bad of a public relations nightmare an outage can cause. Reducing throughput burdens is a first step toward protection against widespread systemic network problems.
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