Tips to Improve an Existing ASP.NET  Application

Microsoft recently announced ASP.NET Core 1.0 with many changes and enhancements. The completely revamped version of ASP.NET is open source and cross-platform. Also, it comes with a unified programming model called MVC 6 that includes ASP.NET Web Pages, Web API, and MVC. However, ASP.NET Core 1.0 will still support side-by-side app versioning.

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The support will allow developers to run both new and old versions of code using Core CLR. So the programmers still have option to deploy the existing ASP.NET applications without any hassle. But the businesses must explore ways to boost the performance of existing ASP.NET applications to maintain their popularity and profitability over a longer period of time.

Simple Ways to Improve the Performance of Existing ASP.NET Applications

Focus on Both Output and Data Caching

The developers can easily improve existing ASP.NET applications through both data caching and output caching. They can use output caching for the views and web page that are requested by users frequently, and do not have any dynamic updates. Also, they can implement output caching on MVC view simply by adding the [OutputCache] attribute to a specific controller action or to the entire controller class.

On the other hand, data caching can be used by programmers to reduce the database interaction or disk I/O operations by caching the regularly accessed data to the in-memory cache. Output caching will make the data available to users when the data source is not available temporarily, along with reducing the repeated queries to the database.

Remove All Methods from Global.asax

Many developers prefer using the application level methods provided by global.asax. But some of these methods in global.asax are fired once when the first request is made, while others are fired on each user request. Also, some of these methods are empty and have no code. But the empty methods are also executed despite having no code.

Each time a request is sent, the ASP.NET application checks if there are methods in global.asax, and executes them sequentially. Hence, the developers must remove all empty methods from global.asax. Also, they must explore ways to incorporate the application level methods in page lifecycle to improve the performance of the ASP.NET application drastically.

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Process Each Page Asynchronously

When the ASP.NET application is hosted on IIS, the web server processes the requests sent from the application through CLR thread pool. Also, IIS processes user requests sequentially. Hence, the performance of the application is impacted when a large number of user requests are received by the web server. Also, the web server needs additional time to process certain user requests that requires database operations or fetching specific files.

But the programmers can easily eliminate the performance bottleneck by making the page asynchronous. When the page is asynchronous, the web server can handle the time-consuming requests asynchronously and efficiently. The developers can even consider rewriting asynchronous code using asynchronous methods, and async and await keywords.

Avoid Using SqlDataSource

It is a common practice among developers to use SqlDataSource as the data source for various data controls like GridView. They further allow the control to sort the data and add the paging on its own. When a developer enables the paging option, the control fetches all records from the database, and displays or sorts the records on its own. But the developers can always use the IQueryable queries to fetch only the required records from the database. In addition to fetching the required data, IQueryable queries further sort the records at database level. Thus, the IQueryable queries make the paging, sorting and displaying of information more efficient.

Externalize and Minify the JavaScript and CSS Files

The developers can easily boost the performance of existing ASP.NET applications by focusing on frontend resources like JavaScript and CSS files. Often the view loses caching benefits when the JavaScript and CSS are embedded into it. Hence, the programmers must keep the JavaScript and CSS files separate, and add these external files to the view as links. At the same time, they also need to minify these files, and bundle them into a single large file. The single file will reduce the number of HTTP requests and the data transferred over the pipeline.

Upgrade to the Latest Version of .NET Framework

The current version of .NET framework is fully compatible with its predecessors. But .NET framework 4.6 comes with several new features to make the ASP.NET applications function faster. The users can further upgrade to the most recent version of the framework to avail new features like ASP.NET App Suspension, an improved multi-core JIT compiler, and a new Garbage Collector. The ASP.Net developers can easily migrate to the latest version of .NET framework without making any changes to the code base.

On the whole, the programmers can improve the performance of existing ASP.NET applications in a number of ways. But they can still consider switching to ASP.NET Core 1.0 in future to make the existing ASP.NET applications more popular by extending them to three distinct platforms, i.e., Windows, Linux and Mac OS X.


Alexia Pamelov