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Issue 11.1 ('PDF')
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Tricking the User

Make your application appear faster

Issue: 11.1 (January/February 2013)
Author: Marc Zeedar
Author Bio: Marc taught himself programming in high school when he bought his first computer but had no money for software. He's had fun learning ever since.
Article Description: No description available.
Article Length (in bytes): 17,954
Starting Page Number: 72
Article Number: 11110
Resource File(s):

Download Icon 11110project.zip Updated: 2013-01-04 14:09:01

Related Link(s): None

Excerpt of article text...

I've written a few articles about optimization in the past, but in general getting my code super-fast hasn't been my biggest problem. Recently, however, I ran into a project where speed was essential. The app is one where the user looks up data in the app and I wanted the results to be shown almost instantaneously—even a delay of a second felt sluggish.

Worse, like most programmers, my development machine is a fast computer: a one-second delay there was an eon on a slower machine.

I spent days coming up with various algorithms to speed up my data searches. I developed several approaches that were indeed very fast. The main method I came up with involved building dictionary-based tables of the data so I could retrieve what the user wanted very quickly. However, this produced a different drawback: long initialization times that meant the app took forever to launch.

Building the tables took several seconds during launch and that made the program feel slow and unresponsive. I tried to optimize the table-building, but there really was little I could do to make it faster. I finally concluded that there was nothing more I could do: either I would have a slow launching app with fast searches or an app that launched fast but had sluggish searches. Was there no other solution?

Tricking the User

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