Optimising your code: When to begin

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Performance measurement and optimisation can begin when the code is correct and essentially complete. Until then effort is better spent in reaching these two goals. It is an excellent idea to work iteratively: producing first a complete but a limited system, testing, validating and benchmarking it, and using the experience to build a better system. This allows performance to be addressed early in a healthy matter. Premature and uninformed optimisation rarely yields the desired gains and frequently reduces performance, for the high price of distorting the programme design unnecessarily and other losses in maintainability.

For the optimisation effort to yield measurable improvements on representative tasks, one must know whether and where effort is needed. A well-informed optimisation depends on sufficiently realistic, detailed and accurate measurements, developers are notoriously bad at guessing where optimisation is necessary. The optimisation effort should be proportional to its value, substantial development in particular is likely to change the performance characteristics so early efforts should be duly limited.

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Reviewer/Editor and Date Comments
LassiTuura - 18 Apr 2007 created page

Responsible: VincenzoInnocente
Last reviewed by: YourName - date

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Topic revision: r4 - 2007-09-25 - JennyWilliams
 
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