Charles Engelke’s Blog

April 26, 2010

WS-REST 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Charles Engelke @ 10:56 pm

I attended WS-REST 2010 today, the First International Workshop on RESTful Design.  It was a one day affair, co-located with WWW2010, in Raleigh, North Carolina.  I haven’t been to an academic conference in decades, pretty much since I left academia, and it was an interesting experience.  It was somewhat different in tone and focus than the kinds of conferences I usually attend, giving me a different perspective on the material.  It was quite worthwhile.

Craig Fitzgerald and I actually wrote a short paper that the workshop accepted.  I presented it today, on Replacing Legacy Web Services with RESTful Services.  My presentation slides are posted at the conference program page.  The paper itself will be available at the ACM Digital Library, though I can’t find it there yet.  There will be a charge to download it for non-ACM members; since ACM owns the copyright, I can’t post it myself.  However, as I read the copyright terms, it seems that I can provide copies on request.  If you’d like one, post a comment here or e-mail me at restpaper@(this web page’s domain), and after I check with our firm’s legal department to make sure it’s okay, I’ll send you a copy.

April 23, 2010

Browser Performance

Filed under: Uncategorized — Charles Engelke @ 8:13 am

I was talking to a colleague the other day about the performance of web software and I mentioned that there was a big difference in how fast different browsers were. I just dug up some recent benchmarks and figured they’d be of interest.  I’m particularly interested in how extremely high-end JavaScript intensive applications perform in different browsers.

First, IE 6 versus 7 versus 8. There’s not much recent, because benchmarkers are focusing on IE 8. But I did find an article from last year at PC Games Hardware. It shows IE 6 and 7 performing about the same, but IE 8 being nearly twice as fast.

Tom’s Hardware is one of the most careful sites about reviews, and its recent article is excellent. On JavaScript performance, one benchmark shows Google Chrome as 30 times faster than IE 8. Firefox is nearly 5 times faster than IE 8. On others, the Chrome:IE speed ratio was about 6:1, 3:1, and 10:1. The Firefox:IE ratios on those tests was about 3:1, 1:1, and 6:1. On tests involving the DOM we see Chrome:IE of 5:1 and Firefox:IE of 4:1. For CSS the benchmarks show Chrome:IE of 12:1 and Firefox:IE of 2:1.

A (possibly self-serving) set of tests by the Opera browser company shows results mostly consistent with Tom’s Hardware.

A less detailed but very good summary of a bunch of tests is available at Six Revisions. Click on the chart to see it better. The JavaScript speed, DOM selection speed, and CSS rendering speed results probably best reflect how high-end intensive web applications will perform.

April 9, 2010

Apple’s Control-Freakiness

Filed under: Uncategorized — Charles Engelke @ 9:15 am

With the new iPhone SDK 4.0, Apple puts even tighter control on users and developers.  It shouldn’t be a that surprising.  Woody Allen showed us 40 years ago what happens when the idealistic and charismatic revolutionary finally wins:

April 7, 2010

iPad Out-of-Box Experience

Filed under: Uncategorized — Charles Engelke @ 7:07 pm

I just got an iPad for trying things out at work.  I’m excited about it, especially as a web client.  But the out-of-box experience is pretty lousy.  I’m surprised I haven’t seen others talking about this.  It’s been over half an hour, and I’m still not actually using the thing!

First off, I opened the box, unwrapped the iPad, and pressed the Home button.  What happens?  The screen shows a sync cable and says “iTunes”.  Then I looked at the instructions in the box, and find out that before the thing can do anything at all, I have to sync it with iTunes.  Which is ridiculous.  Hasn’t Apple ever heard of the cloud?

So I download iTunes.  All 93.8MB, taking about 15 minutes.  (My home Internet connection is much faster than that; I guess Apple’s bandwidth is swamped.)  Of course, to download it I had to check that I agreed to all the terms and conditions.

Okay, now to install it.  I have to agree to more terms and conditions to do that, but finally it installs.  Even though I downloaded the 64 bit version, the installer says it’s going to install into Program Files (x86), where 32 bit programs go. instead of Program Files.  And though it installed something in the right location for 64 bit programs, it put a lot of stuff in the 32 bit directory.

Finally, iTunes is installed and running.  I’ve got to sign in to my (existing) iTunes account, requiring me to agree to still more terms and conditions.  Now I can finally connect the sync cable.

Hooray!  The iPad wakes up, I can run the web browser (which nicely prompts me to connect to my home network, pretty easily) and I’m off.  So now I’m off to the AppStore on the iPad to get the Kindle and Netflix apps.  But first I’m prompted to download the iBooks application, which I agree to.  It starts downloading, I search for Kindle and get it started, then search for Netflix.

At which point I’m prompted to agree to new terms and conditions for the iTunes store.  I’m now on panel 1 of 58 of those new terms and conditions.

Oh, well.  Eventually I’ll probably be able to use this new gizmo.  I just had to drop a note here about the tremendous failure Apple has here.  This is really ridiculous; nobody but Apple could get away with it.

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