A perspective client showed me a Web page from Adobe’s Connect Now. Check this page out before reading further: https://connectnow.acrobat.com/
“Yakov, I want our new application to be like that one. The page comes up really fast and it’s very responsive. Can you create our Flex application for us that will be really, really fast? “
“Yes, I can but it requires planning, and applying special modularization techniques”.
Later on, this client’s Web designer shows a well-done design that has a dashboard as a starting page of that RIA. Several nice-looking charts, some aggregated data from database, some data grids. Looks good.
When I asked her to design another yet light-weight view to serve as a home page of that RIA, she resisted – “I want to have very clean design that shouldn’t have anything that is not relevant for the application.”
“No problem, but in this case your application will come up a lot slower than that Connect Now page. That page, if you remember has almost nothing there”.
“But you said you can do it as fast as Acrobat Connect, aren’t you?”
“Yes, I did, but Acrobat Connect’s main page does not have charts, it doesn’t process thousands of database records, isn’t it?”
But guys at Adobe designed that page in a smart way to make the users happy. It not that important if they’ll have to wait (later) for a couple of seconds when the actual work will have to be done…But it’s L-A-T-E-R. That page is perceived to be fast.
Using a dashboard as a starting view of your application means sending over the wire at least one extra 500Kb+ file: datavisualization.swc . If you are using third party graphic libraries, this belly fat can turn into something closer to one meg or even more.
“But I’ve heard that Flex framework can be cached on the user’s computer”
“True, but this is correct for the users who have already worked with yours or someone else’s Flex application that was deployed with datavisualization library as signed RSL (a SWZ file). But there are always users with virgin computers that won’t have that datavisualization library installed. Remember, you only get one chance to make a first expression!”
That’s why, we recommend designing any Flex application as a portal with a very light main page, that gradually, in the background brings other RSLs while the user enjoys working with the main view.
The other very important thing that some IT developers managers must not forget – it’s the SLA. Yes, it the same old service level agreement. And it must be in writing. For example, “The first view of the RIA should be displayed in under 20 second for a user sitting at the 1Mbps Internet connection.” Now we are talking. If you have it in writing and signed off by the users, no one will blame you for delivering a RIA that “feels kinda slow”.
“Thank you, Yakov. Does your company offer some mentoring or an advanced Flex training classes where our developers can learn all these tricks?”
“Yes, we do. I will be talking about performance and other most important usability features of Flex next week at our two-day Advanced Flex training in Toronto that’ll take place next week. During such events we share lots of tricks and techniques for delivering large but responsive enterprise application. “
I know, this is an outrageous into-the-face infomercial, and hopefully the $100 discount code vzw100 will put a smile back on your face when you’ll enter it at the registration page over here: http://www.eventbrite.com/event/353452185
Can’t make it to Toronto? How about a one day symposium New York City on August 7 http://www.eventbrite.com/event/355645746:
Don’t feel like flying to this great but a little crazy city either?
No problem. We can fly to your city and help you with your Flex project on site.
The choice is yours.