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 Browser Memory Utilization

We have a large body of users who remote desktop into a small terminal services farm to run a web based intranet app.

The application was originally aimed at Internet Explorer (because of its integrated window security for automatic login), and the servers are nearing the edge of comfortability.

So while we look at expanding on the hardware side of things, we also took at look on the software side - specifically the browser (currently supporting IE7).

After doing some tests, we found some surprisingly results. Keep in mind this was by no means an exhaustive analysis, but a quick evaluation to see if any browser has a clear advantage with our intranet apps.

The Results
To our surprise, IE8 actually runs the leanest overall:

Here are some other observations/notes:

  • Chrome and IE8 by default run each frame, pop-up window, and tab as a separate process (you'll see multiple .exe's running in the task manager). Most people don't know this and so it appears that the one Chrome process they look at seems like it's using incredibly low amounts of memory (but if you add it up, it's not as mindblasting).
  • We configured Chrome and IE8 to run as a single process.
  • Any theme, extension, add-on, toolbar, etc... to FireFox significantly increases memory usage. In the tests above, this was a FireFox running barebones.
  • Chrome seems to have a significant advantage on pages that have a lot of JavaScript involved (e.g. the portal when logged in) - and IE8 did the worst.
  • On the flipside with regular HTML pages that used simple JavaScript (e.g. form validation), IE8 did the best. Though Chrome was close on some of those occasions.
  • Was unable to test Safari 3 and 4, they flat out didn't work on the Intranet.

The next thing that would be interesting is to go through a series of planned steps for a period of an hour and see how well they do.

 MS SQL Server 2008 SP1 now in CTP

We've been waiting for awhile on this to come about. The big feature add with this version is they added something called "Slipstream" which makes it easier to take your base SQL 2K8 install and combine it with hotfixes and service packs (you can also uninstall service packs without uninstalling everything).

Download SQL Server 2008 SP1 CTP

 Split Screen View in Eclipse

Most IDEs offer what's known as a "split screen" view. In such a view, while editing a single file, you can horizontally "split" the page in the editor and scroll each section individually. This is useful when you've got a particularly long file to edit, and you need to see some code at the top of the page while editing code at the bottom (or really, editing any part of the page that might depend on another part that would have otherwise scrolled off of the page).

A co-worker is trying to make the change from his current IDE to Eclipse and recently asked whether or not this functionality is there. The answer is yes. Kind of. It's not a "true" split screen view, but here's how to get as close to it as is currently possible within Eclipse.


 Adobe MAX 2008 Formalized wrap up in printable format

One of the things that we do when sending team members on training and conferences is to share what they've learned with the rest of the team.

Taking all the notes we've made from our time at MAX08 we've polished that off into an organized format that's easy to digest.

The following link are the notes that we've shared with the team that we'd like to share with the community.

  • Amcom Tech's Adobe MAX 2008 Notes

  •  Windows Users - Use ClearType

    At Amcom we're huge fans of maximum resolution and minimum font sizes, and apparently I wasn't fully maxing out on this capability.

    I noticed that one of our guys (Charlie) was coding with the Consolas 8pt font, but when I used it, it was blurry.

    Turns out the trick is to enable ClearType - which isn't on by default. If you're a fan of the ultra-small fonts, make sure to enable ClearType and try the Consolas font at 8pt.

     The ever growing mobile use-case and the impact to SDLC

    Few companies/organizations have made much of an effort to cater to the mobile use case, let alone specifically support it.

    Dev teams may have dabbled with it, but the reality is the demand from users (traffic wise) wasn't there, and from an ROI perspective the return didn't justify spending much QA time testing it, let alone developing views optimized for low resolutions.

    The traffic (as a percentage of overall traffic) still isn't there, but we're starting to see end users beginning to experiment more with what they can do with their mobile devices. Obviously iPhone opened up playing field, and as the next gen Palm, BlackBerry, HTC, and Android devices grab market share we're seeing users give them a try with our online web applications.

    Assuming mobile traffic becomes substantial enough to warrant catering to this use case, how does that affect the SDLC?

    From a development perspective, this is where your efforts in MVC are going to pay off as you focus on building different mobile views.

    As for the testing portion of development, and QA itself, obviously these are tremendously impacted. I'd expect to see test automation tools that can simulate different devices, OS's, and browsers. Similarly emulation tools that show you what it would look like on such a device; without it you'd need to buy all the devices you support, and they're coming in over public internet which typically your Dev and QA environments aren't exposed to.

    It's still a ways to go before these become a serious challenge that Dev teams need to deal with, but as it ramps up over the next few years and it'll be interesting to see how teams and tools adapt.

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