Friday, September 08, 2006

Fast or slow

You know, as developers we have become lazy. To be fair it's not our fault. It makes sense for us to be lazy. It is econmically responsible for us to be this way. Consider, as developers should we spend time shaving 5% off the overall speed of our applications when we can install the application on a fast machine that will not even register the difference? Does that make sense for our customers? In fact much of my time is spent convincing people it doesn't. Development time costs more that processing power, and memory, and network speeds are so fast these days that why bother?


But then just when you think it will never matter again, circumstances come along that change your view point and you really wish things were more carefully written. For example a customer in the far north has a number of remote sites connected by satellite phone. And dog sleds. I kid you not. So all the "slow" applications that send large data volumes suddenly become problematic. Even worse are web apps. Fat clients might be easier, but remember the dog sleds? Good luck installing them.


Numerous countries that are developing are bypassing the copper/fibre networks and moving directly to wireless and satellite. Heavy network requirements need to be examined in these cases.


So I have been thinking, does AJAX give us a way through? Develop a virtual fat client web app, that makes heavy use of client side caching, and then use AJAX to refresh data at the start and end of a process.


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