Appzio’s 5-fold speed increase

By Christophe Dujarric, on Jul 29, 2015

Our Twitter followers might have seen this Tweet already:

Such a praise raised our curiosity: we’re always happy when our product actually helps solving issues, but writing a testimonial in blood, seriously?! 🙂

So we had a quick skype call with Timo Railo, Appzio’s CTO. And if we refused to take his blood, we were really happy to read his blog post below:

Appzio’s CTO says

If there has ever been a developer service that has helped us to make our entire team and international client base totally impressed with a single update, that’s Blackfire.io. We are a platform enabling publishers to build native mobile applications without any coding or templates. Our apps offer a content management interface and a backend built on a standard LAMP stack in combination with a Yii framework.

Appzio’s SaaS service has been developed over a few years and is already a fairly complex piece of software. Our admin panel performance was acceptable, but never impressively fast. I used to attribute this setback to our fairly complex data structure, multiple software layers, and our strong priority to make the platform extremely configurable and fast to develop.

Other debugging tools we tested in the past did speed performance to a certain extent by revealing several situations where we hadn’t been using caching properly. So I was keen to see if Blackfire could deliver some additional insight to help us make significant improvements to our user experience. And the service did make a stunning positive difference!

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Blackfire has a visual tree for your application’s call tree, which highlights problematic issues in red. And this part I saw when profiling was VERY much on red: a problem we have had since the very early days of development. It caused a constant source of frustration with our speed, but we had to put up with the discomfort while we didn’t know that there was such a problem in the first place. Blackfire’s service helped us realize the problem we faced was embarrassingly simple, obvious, and easy to resolve once we were expertly guided exactly where to look.

Fixing the issue took a mere 20 minutes and the resulting speed boost was absolutely stunning. Even with Yii’s own development debug slowing the system down, our main admin view loads in under a second which is a gigantic leap forward compared to the super sluggish 3-5 seconds it used to take in the pre-Blackfire days.

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One of the many features I love about Blackfire is the visual way it reprensents information which makes also monitoring other team members’ work much easier. Once you get to know your own application’s call tree, you can recognise similar problems right after commit. Blackfire’s approach results in better code and, even more importantly, better architectural decisions which can be made much more easily compared to any other debug/profiling/analysis tool I have used so far.

Thank you Blackfire.io!

Timo Railo CTO

What Appzio does

Appzio.com provides a SaaS service to help organisations build, publish and monetize mobile apps, without having to write a single line of code. They support both iOS and Android apps. Their backend is programmed in PHP, which is why they’ve been using Blackfire.io

Share your experience! What’s your experience with Blackfire? What do you like and dislike about it? Drop us a mail to let us know.

Did you manage to improve your app’s performance with Blackfire? Tweet #blackfireio @blackfireio!

Happy profiling!

Christophe Dujarric

Christophe is the Product guy at Blackfire/SensioLabs. He has been working in several start-up companies, helping them to make and sell products out of technologies. He’s involved in every step of the product’s lifecycle, from strategy to design and sales, and loves to coach on product management methods.