Tricking the User
Make your application appear faster
Issue: 11.1 (November/December 2012)
Author: Marc Zeedar
Article Description: No description available.
Article Length (in bytes): 15,175
Starting Page Number: 72
RBD Number: 11110
11110project.zip Updated: Friday, January 4, 2013 at 2:52 PM
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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?
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