Web Application Development

5 CTOs reveal the top tools to optimize your web app

Google Page Speed, Cloudflare and Lighthouse are some of the tools that leading CTOs use. Scroll down to find the rest

Technological insights, decision making, team management, and business knowledge are some of the traits of a great CTO. One aspect which is often overlooked but is an important part of a CTO’s arsenal is the tools they use on a daily basis.

CTOs work with a number of tools and applications to ensure maximum productivity for both themselves and their team. There is often a plethora of options available for these tools, therefore it’s important to choose the one that adds value to your team, and your needs, best.

So if you’re wondering what tools some prominent CTOs use to build and manage high performing web applications then you’re at the right place.

We reached out to some leading European CTOs managing web applications and platforms about the tools they use every day and the best practices they abide by. Let’s have a look at them.

Virgile Barbieux, CTO, CubicLease

Virgile from CubicLease is a huge fan of Google Page Speed, and here’s why:

Using Google PageSpeed regularly allows us to determine which content takes the most time to reach the user as well as finding unused resources unnecessarily delaying the page. Easy to use and free, it can give in-depth insights on various aspects such as JavaScript efficiency, third party code (for platforms like Wix), or images not properly being displayed on certain devices.


What are Virgile’s best practices?

As much logging as you can, to know how much time users spend on each section of the app, etc.

Christian Bjerre Nielsen, CPO, uQualio®

Christian mentioned the three tools below which help him monitor his web activity at uQualio®.

Leapwork

We use multiple tools to check performance. Leapwork is the automation platform we use for regression testing in our development environment and our staging environment. Leapwork helps us in two ways to keep track of performance:

  • Each step in the test flow is linked to time out. In most cases, we run with the default time out and in a few steps, we have extended to specific time out. The test fails with a time out and then our QA analyst checks if we have a case of decreased performance.
  • Flow execution time – total time to run each set of tests. Our number of test flows are constant so we compare run times to see trends over weeks and months.

Web.dev by Google

Google has the service web.dev which gives insights into how your application loads and performs. A couple of times per month we check the number and compare it with the previous executions to check how we perform. Any regression that is not back on or above the running average are being addressed in the next sprint or two.

AWS

Our databases run on AWS. We have set up alerts if the CPU consumption is above 50% within each measurement. This gives an indication of any long-running, high consumption usage or high activity on the database. We analyze the log to check if a single query or two.

Mikkel Scheike, CTO @Flex Funding

Here’s how Mikkel's tool stack looks like at Flex Funding:

Cloudflare

Cloudflare’s Content Delivery Network helps small and medium enterprise businesses to supercharge and secure their online assets.

Cloudflare adds full DDOS protection, removes the entire need for VPN (which is both a hassle to set up and speed is always horrible), and adds speed and performance enhancement as well as insights.

Lighthouse

Lighthouse is a quick developer tool to check that performance is going out of the window. We often see old code performing really bad through Lighthouse and its the quickest way for our developers to figure out what to rewrite next without having to ask managers. And being build into Chrome makes it easy for anyone to use.


LogRocket

LogRocket helps you understand problems affecting your users so that you can get back to building great software.

What are Mikke’s best practices?

Performance is seen as a business requirement for our roadmap planning just like everything else. The only exception is the business does not intervene unless something specific needs to be upgraded in terms of performance. IT delivers the optimization as in the end, the customers expect us to deliver a fast, fluent, and safe website.

Patryk Ziemkowski, CTO, Flairs.ai

Patryk from Flairs.ai uses the following tools extensively to monitor then app's web activity.

Chrome DevTools

A go to debugging platform that most of the frontend developers use every day. It gives us various tools to enhance our everyday work, whether it's styling the page, debugging Javascript, communicating with remote APIs, testing performance, and many many more.

Google Lighthouse

Now part of Chrome DevTools, is a utility tool that runs your page in multiple different versions (mobile, desktop, etc) and assigns scores to a number of different metrics that impact both how users perceive your app and search engine indexing.



What are Patryk’s best practices?

Run tests and monitor your web app but only optimize when you notice an anomaly. Usually, foreseeing performance issues end up creating more problems and slows your development.

Use preconfigured boilerplates to start your project – they tend to incorporate a lot of typical optimizations that you'd need to do on your own.

Educate yourself – Often in order to even spot a problem, you need enough knowledge. Read blogs, follow release updates for your favorite library.

Peter Saverman, CTO, MaintMaster Systems

Peter from MaintMaster Systems uses Azure Monitor and Application Insights to monitor and manage his web application activities.

Azures Monitor

Azure Monitor maximizes the availability and performance of your applications by delivering a complete solution for collecting, analyzing, and acting on telemetry from your cloud and on-premises environments. It helps you understand how your applications are functioning and proactively recognizes issues that may affect them. (source. Microsoft)

What are Peter’s best practices?

Run narrow and timed tests on your builds on a function and use case level to monitor where your changes to code and functionality might be slowing down your processing.

So as you can see, tools play a key role in a CTO’s daily workflow. They not only play an important role in monitoring web activity for discrepancies but also helps speed up things drastically with automation and simplification of processes. If you’re looking for guidance on how to choose the best tool for your web application or if you have a tool but not sure how to implement it, then let us know and one of our senior developers would walk you through the process.



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