Sunday, March 06, 2005

The performance question

Recently there has been a lively discussion amongst my work collegues at Readify about performance, sparked by a blog article by Rico Mariani. There have been some very interesting points made, but it has prompted me to think about performance. The random thoughts I want to share here, (I am a little too insecure to post my extremely humble (and slightly off topic) opinion to my collegues at Readify), is that dispite all the promises of the computer industry backed up by Moore's Law, in every "serious" project I have been involved in, performance has been a big issue.
At first I put it down to the fact that I was working with Palm OS, and Pocket PC devices and obviuously on memory constrained devices you have to be very careful, but in my current gig, we're writing a PC applicatoin and there are serious concerns about the performance of the system under regular use.
I think that the converse to Moore's Law is that the more powerful we build computers the more ways we find of using that extra power to the point that we are not really much further ahead than we were when computers were slower.
Example, in my previous job, we developed a Pocket PC application which essentially was just a re-write of a Palm OS application we wrote 3 years prior. The PPC app requires a Pocket PC 2002 with 32 Meg of RAM and a 200 MHz processor, and still runs quite slow, where as the Palm Os application was targeted at a Palm OS 3.1 device with 2 Meg of memory and an 8 Mhz processor... and it ran quite fast.

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