Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Ancestry Insider

The Ancestry Insider: "Among other performance issues, what really jumped off the page at me was how slow GEDCOM file operations were using the new, 32-bit code versions of Family Tree Maker (FTM). The old FTM 2006/16, the last 16-bit code version of FTM, read a test GEDCOM in 21 minutes. Yes, it was a big file. The new FTM 2008 and 2009 releases, which use the new 32-bit code, took a whoping 342 minutes and 312 minutes, respectively. That's between 5 and 6 hours!

Programmers usually approach file import in straightforword, easy-to-program ways. A GEDCOM file is a text file; open it with Notepad and you can read the contents. It may make little or no sense to you, but you can read it. But I digress. Since it is a text file, the programmers are reading it one line at a time. How can I say so with such confidence? Read my lips: 'that's between 5 and 6 hours!'

Read, then process. Read a little more, then process. Read a little, then process. Easy to program; killer on performance. The same sector of data is redundantly read over-and-over from the disk.

Somebody at Ancjestry.com/The Generations Network needs to tell the developers that that kind of inefficient programming isn't going to hack it with consumers. Windows is a modern operating system with features like memory-mapped files. The test system had 2 GB of RAM, if I recall correctly. They could read the entire file in under 10 minutes"

and so " Run applications in a RAM disk drive - 340 times faster! Virtual Hard Drive Pro reduces the access times of large files." I remember playing with these about 10 years ago - on a Macintosh SE
virtual hard disk in ram - Google Search


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