It’s not an elephant, it’s a Mammoth!

The last couple of days, I have been writing about efficiency in different forms, and usually the lack of it in companies. I could have actually wrote one short posting, mentioning the art and importance of a good project plan, and it would have said it all. But that would not have been so much fun writing.

My last posting was about adding functionalities to productions that are completely unnecessary and only take up space, and memory allocation. Nowadays, somehow, that is not so important anymore. 10-15 years ago, you had to fight to get a site as small as possible, making concessions because a page needed to load up within 30 seconds. And all the images needed to be dithered to fit in the 216 web-safe color palette. Although that is not important anymore, I think it is a good practice to learn to make good use of your resources.

These days most people have 1GB+ memory and broad-band connections, so you have some slack there. But still, it does not give you the freedom just to claim it. I was actually surprised to read in an O’reilly book about ActionScript 3 (Flash’s new programing language) that it is not really important anymore to use your memory carefully. What?!?!?!

I have been working on a production that started out as a good plan, but because new productions were forced into it, it got out of control. The size of the website code alone is now about 350kb, the content file is 150kb, and it hogs up 50Mb of user memory (including browser windows, 71Mb). That is not a big site anymore, it is monstrosity. Not by the site itself, but by what it technically has become. I loathe it, simply because there are these enormous amounts of unused codes and horrible memory management because everything needs to be ready to be used in memory. I tried to explain why, but it doesn’t matter.

And then I look around me, and check how a lot of developers these days indeed do not care anymore. I received a memory game to be included in the site. A simple memory game, but without any ‘garbage cleanup’ (cleaning up your used code in memory so your computer’s memory does not clog up), that was almost 30Mb or memory. WTF?

That is all fine if you test with only your site open on your development machine. But when I am at home and surfing, I usually have about 5-8 sites open, my Outlook 2007, And usually Flash, Flex Builder and Dreamweaver. For a front-end developer, that is not a weird situation. My wife usually follows about 21 pages of Craigslist or eBay simultaneously. Having than this site loading up is something out of a horror movie. But, if you want to point this out, you are always the bringer of bad news, the false prophet, or worrying about things that ‘are not important’.

There were good things about learning to work online in the time from 93-97. You had to learn, and to know your skills. There were simply too many walls to walk into. Now, there hardly is, and it makes people ‘easy’. Nobody seems to worry about things anymore, until the shit hits the fan, and a production breaks down. It is like being overly obese, and the doctors warn you about your physical health, but you still eat a lot because it never went wrong. You never really worried. But it takes only once to go wrong, and than it goes severely wrong. In this example, it would be serious physical injury or maybe even death. With a production, it might collapse your source of income, and losing the trust of clients, maybe even closing your company simply because you did not heed the warning signs.

So I will be doing this on my own I guess, building bypasses, do some liposuction on the codes in the system to make the site healthy again. True, it has to happen under the radar, because it is not what I am paid to do. But like said, I take pride in my work, and these things are – sadly – part of my personal etiquette in working. Sigh.

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