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Author Topic:   Browser render speed
uilleann
Highlie

Posts: 503
From: St Albans, Herts, England
Registered: Apr 2002

posted June 18, 2002 16:03     Click Here to See the Profile for uilleann   Click Here to Email uilleann     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You all probably know that I like to bang on about browsers. Well, as of late, I've been feeling like iCab has been under-performing. Despite the effect that using a 1.4 GHz P4 at work all day has on one's mind with respect to using a 200 MHz 604e Mac at home, I was convinced that my Mac really wasn't as slow as it felt.

Thus, I ran the following pages through my browsers on my Mac after clearing the the cache of each. Note again, speed is 200 MHz, connection is 56k, average speed 5.7 kbytes/sec when sustained. Timed with my wrist watch, so approximate.
 GeekCulture home page:
  iCab - 23 s, IE 5 - 18 s, NS 4.7 - 22 s
 GeekCulture Forums:
  iCab - 6 s, IE 5 - 11 s, NS 4.7 - 13 s
 Ask a Geek
  iCab - 25 s, IE 5 - ? s, NS 4.7 - 11? s
   (IE time not counted as the throbber I was watching got stuck after it was complete and confused me, IIRC. Netscape failed to render most of the the page at all, so I had to reload it, and thus the time is rough (due to caching).)
 Zorro's Q&A pg. 8
  iCab - 58 s, IE 5 - 35 s, NS 4.7 - 40 s
   (NS time is approximate)

The final page is the one to note - Internet Explorer renders that page almost twice as fast, and iCab is really taking far too long over it. In fact, it rendered the layout sooner than that, but the hold-up seemed to be with the graphics and the reshuffle from not knowing the image sizes. I reloaded it, and it seemed to want to check every image to see if had been changed (a series of HTTP HEAD requests). I should really compare this every day for several days, and keep a record of overall speed, plus test other pages for good measure.

Even so, it definitely feels slower than IE to operate. The test was in no way scientific, I make no pretences, but iCab is definitely underperforming against my other browsers. On the other hand, I have to take into account iCab's advanced features (comprehensive filtering of page objects and scripts, download manager supporting HTTP resume, opening of pages in new background windows, page ripper, comprehensive page error reporting in-built, script debugger) vs IE which is too unstable to use regularly (crashes the kernel) and Netscape with poor CSS support and flickery page scrolling.

Tough choice. And this doesn't even take Netscape 6 or Opera into account. Netscape 6 I avoided due to bad press, and the Opera I tried was so pathetic it couldn't open local files, and since I maintain my homepage offline, it was instantly ruled out, and I never bothered to upgrade.

iCab is still the best I've seen for Classic Mac OS, if it could only increase its rendering speed, and support absolute-positioned divs. I know that the latter feature is just a pathetic cop-out for programs like Yahoo! PageBuilder, but there are some serious sites that use them, and it would help to be able to use them effectively.

- Uilleann

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greycat
Alpha Geek

Posts: 331
From:
Registered: Oct 2001

posted July 15, 2002 12:10     Click Here to See the Profile for greycat     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It may not be a speed demon, but have you considered trying regular Mozilla instead of the Mozilla-with-a-bunch-of-bundled-advertisements that is called Netscape? Unfortunately, I don't know how well it performs on various incarnations of MacOS... but surely it must be worth a try.

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uilleann
Highlie

Posts: 503
From: St Albans, Herts, England
Registered: Apr 2002

posted July 15, 2002 14:55     Click Here to See the Profile for uilleann   Click Here to Email uilleann     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Mrm? There are no adverts in Netscape 4.7 which is what I run here, and you'll notice that the times above show it to be pretty speedy actually. I have other issues with its rendering and operation that put me off.

I could download Netscape 6.2 or the Mozilla equivalent (assuming Mozilla is now equivalant to NS 6.2) but not only am I too lazy, but the advanced features in iCab are what make it my preferred choice. If Netscape 6.2 for Windows is anything to go by, it probably still doesn't even have a donwload manager, let alone a filter manager, and everything else only seen in iCab under Mac OS 9.1. Admittedly, IE 5 has a download manager, but it sucks, and I don't know how to force it to resume like I can in iCab (and I can even make iCab cross-server resume - I've found the true location of the HTTP storage data).

There is no such thing as perfection in my opinion - everything has its flaws as well as its benefits, and I've settled for iCab now.

What is really pissing me off now, though, is access of the forums from work. Access of actual topic HTML pages is as fast as ever, but the main Forums page, individual forum pages, images, and display and submission of reply pages, takes something like a minute to get - the browser just sits there and waits for ages before anthing appears, yet nothing appears to be being transferred during that time. Most, most odd - the disparity between topic access time and the times of all other HTTP transactions. Does anyone else have this problem, during daytime in the UK? (1 am to 9:30 am Geek Culture time).

And I still can't get the light bulbs to work in IE or NS 6.2 under Windows - they remain invisible almost 100% of the time (even after clearing my cache and cookies - that does make them appear once or twice, but after that they are gone again), and this may even be the case here under IE 5 in Mac OS.

Only here at home, under iCab, do I ever experience the server and UBB all working properly. But then, iCab's taken to caching pages from the forums indefinitely now (it's supposed to reload after the page is three minutes old), so it helps to erase my cache each day (faster than endless page super-reloads).

- uilleann

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greycat
Alpha Geek

Posts: 331
From:
Registered: Oct 2001

posted July 17, 2002 05:36     Click Here to See the Profile for greycat     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Access of actual topic HTML pages is as fast as ever, but the main Forums page, individual forum pages, images, and display and submission of reply pages, takes something like a minute to get - the browser just sits there and waits for ages before anthing appears, yet nothing appears to be being transferred during that time.

This sounds like a DNS lookup problem. You might talk to your network administrator(s), especially if it happens on other web sites.

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uilleann
Highlie

Posts: 503
From: St Albans, Herts, England
Registered: Apr 2002

posted July 17, 2002 13:23     Click Here to See the Profile for uilleann   Click Here to Email uilleann     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I suspected the same, so I hopped into mIRC and did the DNS look-up manually, which was instantaneous. I then handed the IP back to IE, and it was just as slow as ever. Other sites all seem unaffected by this.

Geek Culture was originally lightning fast during the day, and suddenly that stopped. I can only guess that something has gone wrong with a router somewhere in between south east England and Canada. The odd thing is that all that seems to be affected is connection opening (and not transfer) time, and topic pages' HTML (but not images) remains mysteriously unaffected by the problem.

Very, very odd.

- uilleann

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