Sunday 15 February 2009

Thoughts on 8.5 with 2 Months under the belt

[~Off topic~ just noticed this is the 400th blog posting since I started this one. That has to be a milestone and a surprising low one given the levels of gobshitery I aspire too]

Back on topic again ... OK I upgraded my development server and home boxes to V8.5 almost as soon as it was available and I could actually get attached to the Passport Adv download site and to date I have been impressed. Which in itself is odd because I am starting to hear people get quite cross with DDE in particular both on their blogs and twitter. It is odd because I have very little negative news to report.

Well apart that is from a couple of occasions when I got a "Platform Command processor has encountered an error" when trying to open the designer client. The extra details on the error were abbreviated to a parallax of brevity in that they comprised of the single word "error" and it was not even capitalised! Sort of the error equivalent of the Gallic shrug so beloved of my French colleagues.. "it is fubar, c'est la vie ~shrug~"

Must ferkling and swearing later, DDE would not arise from the grim depths of whatever the "error" was. I would get the splash screen, the sign on and then 10 mins of the status bar moving really slowly and then .. the status screen disappeared and .... nothing.

The problem is something to do with something in the /data/workspace dir which shoots from a normal 50-80mb to 770mb during the problem. The more you try to open DDE the bigger the DIR gets and oddly it is not the /log/ dir? On the first occasion I eventually gave up looking for the problem and just renamed and deleted the directory it had reached 1.9Gb! There is obviously something amiss there.

However it has only happened three times(twice on Vista and once on XP) and I have been using it daily. I now have a .bat file that renames the /workspace/ dir and then deletes it. Hmm I wonder do DOS skills date me?

Those 3 occasions have been my only major problems to date.

The only other thing of note is a problem that I had in V7 and earlier V8 DDE and that is with the JS complier which remains ... hmmmm ... very like a grounded teenager on a Saturday night ... it sulks a lot when there is a problem, doesn't give you any idea of what the problem actually is by saying "Error compiling script" and then hides the cursor to spite you. The only way out is to close the element you are editing without saving and then re-open it.. and then 9 times out of 10 the change you made HAS been saved and there is no problem.

I have yet to see the problems of the load times in DDE, it remains satisfying brisk on local and on servers in VMs, on local LANs and even on remote access over a VPN is fine, well within workable limits but then I have over the years taken to doing a full re-compile on an NSF when I open it in a different version of the designer than it was designed in. I got caught badly in the V4.5 -> V5 world by not doing this, so I may have inadvertently missed the problem John Roling had here and that John Head describes here in point 3.

All in all I like 8.5 both client and DDE better than I liked 8.0.*. (Which is not to say I disliked 8.0*) every seems smoother, faster and more managable.

I could kiss the person that put CSS as a direct edit in DDE, that alone was worth the wait. The number of times I fecking forgot to refresh CSS files after edits in V7 and V8!

I do not seem to have been affected by the DDE slow loads reported by other colleagues, but then I am not dev'ing on a mac in a windows VM which does seem to be a common thread in the reports of sluggish load times. My Windoze boxes are either XP64 (4gb with IMAGE_FILE_LARGE_ADDRESS_AWARE set) and on VISTA HP64 with 16gb.

I have run up XP SP2 in a VirtualBox VM on Ubuntu with 1gb of ram and a 4gb virtual disk and DDE can be a bit chuggy on the initial load of a new NSF, but the waits are not of the "go away and make a coffee, smoke a cigar and arrange a romantic assignation with Sandra from Quality Control" variety.

All in all, I am happy with 8.5 so far it is a 8.5 outa 10

Now it is getting near supper time and the McDonagh Horde is getting restless and hungry so I had better be off

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