Velocity Conference: Boosting Online Performance Takes More Than Speed

Developers must constantly improve the performance of their Websites and Internet apps or face losing customers to competitors, according to speakers at the O'Reilly Velocity Conference.

Online Performance 2

SANTA CLARA, Calif.—Patrick Lightbody, a product manager with software performance management company New Relic, ditched his favorite food truck because of his new Apple Watch. More than just an amusing story though, it served to highlight the changes coming in mobility and user interfaces as well as the ever-growing appeal of real-time response.

Lightbody loved the burritos at the local food truck near his office in San Francisco. But when he saw that his new Apple Watch had a 'Burrito button' app, courtesy of Chipotle, "it blew my mind." Now that he can simply press "Burrito" on his watch screen to order one from the local Chipotle that will be ready for pickup when he gets there, he had to say good-bye to the food truck.

He also used the anecdote to highlight the fact that "every business is becoming a software business" to more effectively reach and serve customers. And while speed is important, he emphasized that making sure the Website or app is a "delightful experience" will determine whether customers will come back.

Noting we now have massive amounts of data on how customers use apps across a range of devices, he encouraged developers to "participate with the analytics" if they want to be successful.

Lightbody was one of the speakers at O'Reilly Media's Velocity conference here May 29 that focused on Web operation performance and building resilient IT systems.

Shane Evans, Hewlett-Packard product manager had a different take, addressing how best to appeal to enterprise users. He urged developers to keep the needs of legacy system users in mind because getting them to switch to the latest sexy-looking Web or mobile app could be a fool's errand. He noted, for example, that the SWIFT messaging system used by banks has been around since the 1970s and efforts to replace it have failed.

In just a few years, Evans said the Internet of things (IoT) is expected to add trillions of dollars to the U.S Gross Domestic Product. But for IoT to be effectively deployed in the enterprise, developers have a lot of work to do in terms of integration with current systems.

"We need to [have] better development tools across legacy systems," he said, adding that virtualization will be a key part of developing, testing and deploying these new devices on legacy systems.

Reaching the Next 2 Billion-Plus Mobile Users

Bruce Lawson, open standards evangelist with mobile Web browser specialist Opera Software, addressed the challenge of getting billions of more users connected to the Internet in developing countries where underpowered mobile phones are generally the only computer they have.

David Needle

David Needle

Based in Silicon Valley, veteran technology reporter David Needle covers mobile, bi g data, and social media among other topics. He was formerly News Editor at Infoworld, Editor of Computer Currents...