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nFS peformance on client computers

Posted: Mon Oct 05, 2009 12:15 am
by stclairm
I've noticed a serious performance issue develops over time when accessing nFS from a client computer. It appears to me that performance continually degrades as use continues. I normally use Firefox and find that if I use nFS for a couple of hours in one day, it becomes so sluggish as to be almost unusable. My PC is a fairly fast dual processor laptop with 2 GB of memory running on Windows XP. I see the same phenomenon on other PCs as well, though. The only fix I've found is to reboot the computer, upon which performance returns immediately to normal and begins it's slow path to degraded performance again.

I'm not talking about taking longer to respond over the Internet after hitting enter. Slower responsiveness to mouse or keyboard strokes on nFS controls is the most bothersome.

Has anyone else noticed this? Could it be something new introduced in the August release? (I didn't notice it before that) Has anyone got any suggestions about how to reduce or eliminate this symptom and otherwise improve performance on the client side?

Posted: Mon Oct 05, 2009 11:01 am
by russellhltn
The only fix is a reboot? Closing all instances of the browser doesn't do it?

I've forgotten what the underlying technology is, if it's Flash or Java. Ether way, I'd suggest making sure you have current versions of both. They seem to issue updates almost as often as Microsoft (and for the same reasons). It would be very easy to fall behind.

Posted: Mon Oct 05, 2009 12:01 pm
by stclairm
I'm pretty sure they are using Flash. Closing all instances of the browser doesn't seem to fix the problem. I keep up to date on both Java and Flash. There are several other sites I use that are Flash based and I've not seen the same symptom elsewhere. I guess I'll try switching over to IE for nFS and see if it makes any difference.

Posted: Mon Oct 05, 2009 12:24 pm
by aebrown
The regular new.familysearch.org interface uses Java; it does not use Flash. You can easily tell a Flash application by right clicking (on Windows -- there are equivalents on other OS's) over the application. If the popup menu includes an item like "About Adobe Flash Player 10" then you know it's Flash. Otherwise it is not.

On the other hand, the Family Tree application that is in the Labs area of New FamilySearch does use Flash.

Posted: Mon Oct 05, 2009 12:53 pm
by eblood66
Alan_Brown wrote:The regular new.familysearch.org interface uses Java;


I'm pretty sure it doesn't use Java either. I can't find any reference in the HTML source to any Java objects and when I turn off Java support in my browser new.familysearch.org still works normally.

However, it does make heavy use of Javascript (which is very different than Java). The javascript interpreter is built into each browser and can't be updated separately from the browser (at least, not for any of the major browsers).

It's quite possible though that there is memory leak in the new.familysearch.org Javascript code that causes the browser to use more and more memory. In that case, however, I would expect that restarting the browser would fix the problem. I'm not sure what could cause a problem that restarting the browser wouldn't fix.

Posted: Mon Oct 05, 2009 1:03 pm
by aebrown
eblood66 wrote:I'm pretty sure it doesn't use Java either. I can't find any reference in the HTML source to any Java objects and when I turn off Java support in my browser new.familysearch.org still works normally.


Right. I was imprecise. The web application is written in Java, but you're correct in saying that it is just generates regular web pages with HTML and Javascript.

Posted: Mon Oct 05, 2009 2:54 pm
by stclairm
Thanks for that tip. I can now see that the new application under the Temple Ordinances tab does use Flash. In any event, I will keep looking for any clarification on what I see happening. I've switched to using Internet Explorer to see if I see any difference in the problem.

Alan_Brown wrote:The regular new.familysearch.org interface uses Java; it does not use Flash. You can easily tell a Flash application by right clicking (on Windows -- there are equivalents on other OS's) over the application. If the popup menu includes an item like "About Adobe Flash Player 10" then you know it's Flash. Otherwise it is not.

On the other hand, the Family Tree application that is in the Labs area of New FamilySearch does use Flash.

Posted: Mon Oct 05, 2009 3:53 pm
by danpass
stclairm wrote:Thanks for that tip. I can now see that the new application under the Temple Ordinances tab does use Flash. In any event, I will keep looking for any clarification on what I see happening. I've switched to using Internet Explorer to see if I see any difference in the problem.


While you are running nFS, you could concurrently try running the free Sysinternals utilities Process Explorer to get a pretty good idea of where the problem is and Process Monitor if you want to dig deeper.

Posted: Mon Oct 05, 2009 5:59 pm
by stclairm
I've looked at the activity monitor built in to Windows (Windows Task Manager) and the results still don't make sense to me. In fact, at a time the cpu time used is very low, memory is lightly used, and there is no disk activity, it will still take several seconds to respond to a mouse click on a nFS control (such as any of the tabs, side or bottom, the arrows, etc.)

It continues to behave this way (gradually taking longer) until I reboot, at which time everything springs back to normal speed within nFS.

Note that I use this computer constantly throughout the day and nFS is the only application that seems to lead to this symptom. In the past, it wasn't unusually for me to go a week or few without a restart. Now it's daily, and if it's a weekend that i use nFS heavily it might be more than once in a day.

danpass wrote:While you are running nFS, you could concurrently try running the free Sysinternals utilities Process Explorer to get a pretty good idea of where the problem is and Process Monitor if you want to dig deeper.

Posted: Thu Oct 08, 2009 11:56 am
by stclairm
An update on the reported performance issue in nFS that grows over the day:

I've been consistently using IE8 for the past few days instead of my normal Firefox. I have not encountered the problem at all. So it seems to be the combination of nFS and Firefox. I'll just stick with IE8 for the time being.