Archive: March 9, 2008

<<< March 8, 2008


March 10, 2008 >>>

pissed off in Peoria

Sunday,  03/09/08  09:39 AM

Yes, you can tell from the title, this is another

<rant optional=totally>

You all know I can't stand .NET’s virtual machine architecture, and you probably think I’m a hopeless dinosaur who just doesn’t get it.  Everyone knows Microsoft is great, everyone knows .NET and Java are the future, etc.  Someday Ole will retire from railing at progress.  (And everyone will be spared Sunday morning rants :)

Let me give you a clean example of what I can't stand about .NET’s CLR: Visual Studio 2005.

In terms of functionality, VS05 is a wonderful and pleasantly evolutionary improvement to VS6, which dates from 2001.  There are all sorts of little niceties sprinkled all over the program which make a developer’s life easier.  And the debugger is better, and edit and continue now works, and so on.  But in terms of performance, VS05 is a horrible dog.  And if you're a developer spending your whole day in the edit – compile – test loop, that performance goes straight to your bottom line.

I have a standard-Aperio-issue laptop, an HP nc8230 with 1.8GHz CPU and 2GB of RAM.  Nobody should need a faster machine than this for development.  And yet on my machine, VS05 is s l o w.  The editor is slow, it can't keep up with my typing.  The interface to P4 (my CMS) is slow.  The make management is slow.  The debugger is horribly slow.  Switching windows is slow!  Looking at compile errors is slow!  Loading project properties is tectonically slow.  Everything just feels glacial.  Even just launching a new solution takes “forever”.

This is especially glaring when I compare VS05 to the P4 client. Probably like you, while developing I switch between these two apps all the time.  P4 loads instantly, responds instantly, and is a pleasure to use.  It makes VS05 look exactly like the dog it is.

Just to piss myself off, I launched VS6 this morning.  It looks dated and there is stuff missing, but man, it was snappy.  As in, you type something, and poof it happens.  I want that back.

So why is VS05 so much slower than VS6?  That’s easy, VS05 is written in C#, while VS6 was written in C++.  It isn’t the C# language than makes VS05 slower – you could claim that C# is nicer than C++ as a language, and get no argument from me – it is the fact that C# compiles to an intermediate bytecode which then has to be interpreted by the CLR at runtime.  A horrible architecture which slows everything down and provides no benefit.

If it wasn’t for the fact that VS6 has been discontinued, I would seriously consider switching back.  As it is, I have to use VS05 all day long, and I hate it.  I thought maybe I would get used to it, but I just hate it more every day.  I keep thinking how wasteful this is, that we all have to suffer just because some idiot inexperienced kids in Redmond copied some idiot inexperienced kids in Santa Clara.  (In Sun’s defense, I will say they were explicitly targeting a “write once, run anywhere” environment including multiple machine architectures, while Microsoft knew they were only running on Intel.)

<bonus type=rant>

Want to know why Vista is so much slower than XP?  Now you know.



Thanks for listening, we now return you to our normally scheduled content...


Sunday,  03/09/08  09:05 PM

Had a nice quiet day today; mostly reading and coding.  And eating (!) - I am still recovering from yesterday's century, evidently I didn't eat or drink enough, because I've been hungry and thirsty all day.

Actually I was able to delight two daughters with new phones, Alexis (14) has a new one to replace her old one, which died, and Megan (10++) has a new one for the first time, as a pre-birthday present.  An important rite of passage, getting your first phone!  Anyway she is one happy kid.

The weather here was great all weekend, how was yours?  (Nice and sunny, with a fairly stiff breeze.)  Anyway I hope you weren't in Ohio, because the weather there was incredibly awful; can you believe 20 inches of snow? 

Wow this is cool: Satellite shows Saturn moon might have rings.  "The international Cassini spacecraft detected what appeared to be a large debris disk around the 950-mile-wide moon Rhea during a flyby in 2005. Scientists proposed that the halo likely contained particles ranging from the size of grains to boulders."  How great is it that we can launch robots into space to learn these things?  What a great time to be alive... 

This is really cool: Electronic medical records in a virtual hospital.  "The Ann Myers Medical Center is a hospital in Second Life, the virtual world where we organize medical exercises and simulations. John Norris is more than interested in medical informatics and the opportunities provided by Second Life in medical education. That’s all you should know before reading the next interview with John Norris about his recent experiments to implement electronic medical records into the virtual hospital."  I've contacted John about including digital pathology into the electronic medical records - now that would be cool. 

Dave Winer pounds the nail through the wood: Hot products make successful startups.  "When I think about the people who had runaway successes that made them fortunes the ones that had great products and were admired by many were the ones that really hit it out of the park. I can't think of anyone who had a great product and failed because they didn't watch every penny."  Absolutely.  This is what was missing in the great debate about hiring people and watching your pennies... 

Piling on in the vein of pissed off in Peoria, the NYTimes reports They criticized Vista.  And they should know.  "One year after the birth of Windows Vista, why do so many Windows XP users still decline to 'upgrade'?  Microsoft says high prices have been the deterrent...  An alternative theory, however, is that Vista's reputation precedes it. XP users have heard too many chilling stories from relatives and friends about Vista upgrades that have gone badly... Can someone tell me again, why is switching XP for Vista an 'upgrade'?"  I can tell you it definitely is not. 

I really wonder what is going to happen here...  Can Microsoft possibly save Vista, with Windows Seven?  Or was XP the last good version of Windows?  One thing's for sure, if Microsoft doesn't bag the .NET CLR, they're toast.  Can you even imagine Office written in .NET?

Mark Pilgrim: Draconian error handling: still the worst idea ever.  As usual with Mark, what he says is interesting, but how he says it is better.  "My therapist says I shouldn't rely so much on external validation."  I love it. 


Return to the archive.