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Generalizing The Apdex Standard

Illustration: Apdex Logo

Today the Apdex specification is entirely focused on application response time. Its first paragraph defines Apdex as “a method for calculating and reporting a metric of transactional application response time in the form of an index with a value of 0 to 1.”

But in reality, the Apdex method is much more widely applicable, and a more appropriate description is already spelled out in the first paragraph of the Wikipedia article on Apdex:

(Apdex) defines a standard method for reporting and comparing the performance of software applications in computing. Its purpose is to convert measurements into insights about user satisfaction, by specifying a uniform way to analyze and report on the degree to which measured performance meets user expectations.

-- Wikipedia article on Apdex, June 8, 2010

Over the years, the idea of generalizing the Apdex standard to apply in other domains has been discussed periodically within the Apdex community, but no progress has been made over the last 18 months. To revive those discussions, I’m writing a series of posts on the Apdex Exchange blog. Here’s my rough outline for exploring this subject matter:

  1. Core Apdex qualities and/or features that apply across measurement and reporting domains
  2. Features that can (and should) be generalized, and why
  3. Ideas for implementing configuration options
  4. Ensuring compatibility with existing standards, methods, and metrics
  5. Targets, zones, scores, and thresholds

Each of these topics will probably require more than one post; I’m still working on #1. The first three posts in the series are:

Contribute Your Ideas

If you’ve ever used Apdex, or thought about how it could be used, please do consider contributing your own thoughts in the comments on the Apdex Exchange blog. I will definitely reply, and also do my best to take any public input into account. The resulting conclusions will be much more authoritative, and closer to becoming a usable and useful standard, if they reflect the consensus view of the people who want to apply Apdex.

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