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C# Optimization: Tips and Tricks

What is Optimization?

Optimization is a program transformation technique, which tries to improve the code by making it consume less resources (i.e. CPU, Memory) and deliver high speed.

In optimization, high-level general programming constructs are replaced by very efficient low-level programming codes. A code optimizing process must follow the three rules given below:

  • The output code must not, in any way, change the meaning of the program.

  • Optimization should increase the speed of the program and if possible, the program should demand less number of resources.

  • Optimization should itself be fast and should not delay the overall compiling process.


Tips to Optimize your C# Code?

Here are some tips which can be useful to you to help optimize your code and make sure all your applications are lightweight and speedy.


1. Benchmark your code:

When writing new methods, benchmarking your code using the stopwatch class can be really helpful in letting you know how efficient your code is. The stopwatch class can be used to tell you how long it takes for a method or function to be performed, and from there you can evaluate whether or not you’re happy with the speed of your code.

2. Avoid string based conversions:

they’ll slow down your code a lot. If they can be avoided, any conversions that might create extra strings should be off-limits. These conversions (like .ToLower(), for example) are sometimes necessary, but it’s in the best interest of the speed of your app to try to find a way around using them.

3. Check for empty strings using string:

Empty. Often in C#, you’ll see a line of code like this to check if a string is empty:

if (str == “")

While this line of code does work, it’s considered bad practice. Using string. Empty instead of the line of code above will enhance the performance of your code.


4. Use arrays:

Lists are more commonly used in C#, but if you’re trying to store a large amount of data, using an array over a complex collection like a list can seriously enhance the speed of your code.

5. Simplify your code:

Go through your code with a fine-tooth comb and really take a look to see what might be unnecessary. Refactor and remove whatever you can do without. This can really lighten the load for your code.


6. Avoid the Garbage Collector

The C# programming language is built on top of the .NET Framework, which in turn was built on top of garbage collection. This helps keep performance pretty fast, but you can still do better by avoiding variables that require a garbage-collection cycle when they are released (like objects). Avoiding garbage collection helps maintain high levels of performance as well as optimizing memory usage.


7. Use StackAllocators (C# Recycling Allocator)

If your application is doing a lot of memory allocation, you may be able to get better performance by avoiding the cost of freeing and allocating memory yourself. You can achieve that by moving up and down in your heap until you find an unused block, then mark it for reuse. A stack-based allocator does just that. It allocates memory from a region called a stack on top of which new blocks are placed when freed blocks are found.


8. Don’t Reuse Object References

This is a very common mistake among beginning C# programmers: instead of cleaning up an object and releasing its memory when it’s no longer needed, they simply keep using it until there’s no more memory available.


This can be especially dangerous in server applications where many programs are sharing a server; one program’s leaked object reference could bring down all other programs using that server. To avoid creating leaked references, explicitly set your objects to null when you’re done with them — or make sure you only create as many references as necessary.


9. Avoid Memory Mapping (for big files/filesystems)

One pitfall when using C#’s File.ReadAllText() or File.ReadAllLines() methods is that they load all content into memory immediately. This can cause performance bottlenecks if you’re dealing with very large files and/or slow storage subsystems, like hard drives. One way around it is using a memory-mapped file, which creates virtual space in memory that looks just like a file on disk.


10. Avoid Unnecessary Serialization/Deserialization

The .NET Framework provides object serialization and deserialization capabilities out-of-the-box. The same holds true for several core .NET languages such as C#, F#, and Visual Basic .NET. However, under certain circumstances these functions can cause significant performance issues in your application. This is particularly true when a non-trivial amount of data needs to be serialized or deserialized.

If you are using these features on a regular basis it’s important that you understand how they work so that you can select an appropriate strategy for processing your data.


11. JIT away unused methods

The Just-In-Time (JIT) compiler is a process that reads CIL and translates it into native code. When building an application, you don’t want JIT to compile all your classes — particularly if they’re used only once or several times at startup. By compiling only what’s needed when it’s needed, you can make your app start much faster!

There are several ways you can make sure your startup is faster and one way is by using reflection: Remove unused methods from these objects using System.Reflection.Emit


12. Measure in Production Mode instead of Debug Mode

In many programming languages, applications are executed in a special debug mode that allows developers to do things like set breakpoints and print debug messages. This is a great way for developers to test their code while they’re developing it — and during development it’s essential. But after you’re done coding, you should switch back into production mode before your app goes live.




The Tech Platform

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