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A Rant Against Splash Screens

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the useless-colorful-rectangles dept.

Software 477

An anonymous reader writes "This controversial post by Adobe's Kas Thomas asks if splash screens are just a sign of program bloat and callous disregard for users. It suggests that big programs should launch instantly (or appear to), perhaps by running against an instance in the cloud while the local instance finishes loading. Users of cell phones and tablets are accustomed to apps being instantly available. This is the new standard for performance, the author argues. Nothing short of it will do, any more."

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Adobe complaining about bloat? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39101837)

Adobe complaining about bloat?

Re:Adobe complaining about bloat? (5, Insightful)

homey of my owney (975234) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101873)

More specifically, doesn't every Abode program have a splash screen and don't they take a loooong time to load?

Re:Adobe complaining about bloat? (5, Insightful)

localman57 (1340533) | more than 2 years ago | (#39102015)

Yeah. But obviously, having some stuff running "In the Cloud" is the answer. Crap. It reminds me of 1999 all over again, with the word "Cloud" replacing the word "Internet" in all sort of stupid places:

1999: Five years ago, this would have been totally unworkable. But now we can use The Internet !
2001: Why the fuck did we think that was gonna work?


2012: Five years ago, this would have been totally unworkable. But now we can use The Cloud !
2014: ...

Re:Adobe complaining about bloat? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39102201)

I agree it should load instantly. But instead of the cloud, let's put a hamster on a wheel. When the user opens the app, a piece of food lowers in front of the hamster and it starts running, powering a light bulb that triggers a photocell, the electric power from which triggers the program that was autostarted when the computer booted to come to the foreground. If the computer reboots N times without hte program being used, it stopes being preloaded.

Re:Adobe complaining about bloat? (3, Interesting)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | more than 2 years ago | (#39102091)

More specifically, doesn't every Abode program have a splash screen and don't they take a loooong time to load?

Photoshop CS5 does both! I've got a very beefy system, and I still sit at the Photoshop splash screen (after a fresh reboot) for 11 seconds waiting for it to load. Not that it really bothers me, but your point is valid.

Re:Adobe complaining about bloat? (1)

nashv (1479253) | more than 2 years ago | (#39102297)

Yes, and the author of TFA acknowledges that as much by showing the Photoshop splash screen as a badge of shame.

Re:Adobe complaining about bloat? (5, Insightful)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#39102117)

Forget that, what crazy-ass world does this guy live in where your Internet connection is faster than local disk access!?!?

Re:Adobe complaining about bloat? (1, Troll)

Surt (22457) | more than 2 years ago | (#39102133)

Local disks, even SSDs top out at 6Gbit/sec at the interface. But your internet access might be 100Gbit if you live in the right place.

Re:Adobe complaining about bloat? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39102227)

At your ISPs data centre?

Re:Adobe complaining about bloat? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39102323)

Where it will cache to your hard drive and then be loaded?

Adobe against bloat (5, Funny)

Noughmad (1044096) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101839)

Kettle, meet blackhole.

Re:Adobe against bloat (4, Funny)

Kenja (541830) | more than 2 years ago | (#39102049)

Worse then that, Adobe against splash screens. Welcome to Photoshop, please stare at this logo while we load plugins and filters you wont be using.

Re:Adobe against bloat (1)

jaymz666 (34050) | more than 2 years ago | (#39102205)

Didn't adobe invent splash screens for the web when Flash entered the landscape, too?

I'm an iPad user (4, Insightful)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101841)

And most of the apps I use on it have splash screens...

Re:I'm an iPad user (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39101975)

and your point is? That you have an iFad? Congrats, you millions of other sheep do as well.

Re:I'm an iPad user (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39102157)

It's impossible for an iPad owner to be quiet abuot it. They *have* to mention it to as many people as possible.

Re:I'm an iPad user (0, Offtopic)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 2 years ago | (#39102219)

Much like the gays with their sexuality.

Hey, wait a minute...

Re:I'm an iPad user (5, Interesting)

Necroman (61604) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101983)

initial load time of most apps takes a while in the iPhone / iPad world. If its a good programmer, they will be loading content during that splashscreen. For the apps that look like they load right away, it may be a lie. A lot of devs will take a screenshot of the app when it was closed last, then when it opens again it shows that screenshot until the app fully loads.

Re:I'm an iPad user (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#39102089)

That's like saying there's nothing wrong with drum brakes because your Cadillac Cimarron has them.

Re:I'm an iPad user (2)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 2 years ago | (#39102189)

No, it's like saying drum brakes are shit because that other car over there as much better brakes, and then discovering that that other car also has drum brakes...

In other words, picking a bad example does not help your case.

Re:I'm an iPad user (5, Insightful)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 2 years ago | (#39102141)

Remember when most minor websites had splash screens? Usually flash animation. Was particularly true for gaming clans and other small sites. Splash screens are so 2002.....

I don't mind a splash while it loads drivers, etc. for a few seconds, like Photoshop does, but a splash that stays there until you click to start using the program, well that is just excessive. I already bought the damn program, you don't need to keep advertising it to me, and I already KNOW what the name of the program is, I just started it....

Re:I'm an iPad user (1)

bobcat7677 (561727) | more than 2 years ago | (#39102319)

Mod parent insightful please. This statement sums up the whole discussion.

Re:I'm an iPad user (4, Insightful)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | more than 2 years ago | (#39102177)

Splash screens are a nearly-mandatory part of any iOS app. The thing is, you're supposed to supply a bitmap of the unchanging parts of the screen to display while the actual app is loading. I'm annoyed every time I open iBooks or Mint. It makes no sense, it's just absolutely useless. Since it's a static picture it adds no more information than a splash screen would, so it's not even like it gives you something to process while you're waiting for the app to become responsive--the only purpose is to fool people into thinking it's fast, but they'll only be fooled until they're familiar enough with the initial static image that they've already planned their next move. The first time they try to "buffer" that next move, they'll realize just how worthless the image is.

Show me something worthwhile, like a progress bar, so I can estimate how long I have to wait. Or, better yet, don't load every damn thing when you start up. Load up the UI, whose libraries are typically loaded into the OS already, and then spawn a low-priority thread to do all that other loading in the background.

It's really stupid that we're locked into splash screens now. Because lazy-loading wasn't added at the very beginning of a project, when it would be easy, it's now practically impossible to switch over to it due to all the subtle timing issues that are essentially hard-coded into the apps. If lazy-loading had been the default, and it wasn't fast enough at any point, the background cache method would be easy to implement. Oh well, just makes it easier for my own projects to stand out.

Whining (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39101843)

Not winning.

Huh? (4, Informative)

Carewolf (581105) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101847)

Don't you mean perhaps run against a local instance until the so-called cloud loads?

Notes? (4, Insightful)

courteaudotbiz (1191083) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101877)

Are you saying that Lotus Notes MIGHT BE "bloatware"?

Re:Notes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39101971)

Lotus Notes isn't bloatware. It is system-crippling malware at best.

Re:Notes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39101977)

When I last used it half a year ago it was more like malware.

Re:Notes? (5, Funny)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 2 years ago | (#39102013)

Nonsense. Lotus Notes is one of the best operating systems out there. As soon as it gets a decent email client and calendaring solution it'll take the market by storm. Just wait.

Re:Notes? (5, Funny)

localman57 (1340533) | more than 2 years ago | (#39102041)

So it's like the Playbook then?

I have always been annoyed by splash screens (3, Insightful)

zombie_monkey (1036404) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101881)

It's not a new trend. They have always been annoying.

Re:I have always been annoyed by splash screens (5, Insightful)

Noughmad (1044096) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101981)

They are good for really long processes (OS or window-system startup, game loading), because they give confirmation that something is really happening. However, they have to have progress bars or at least something (I like KDE's system with icons) by which you can tell how far it is.

However, I have noticed a recent trend towards splash screens with an endless loop and no connection to what's actualy happening. Window 7 has such a screen, so does Ubuntu. This is something I'm very annoyed by, because I always think it's complete before it actually is.

Re:I have always been annoyed by splash screens (1)

PGGreens (1699764) | more than 2 years ago | (#39102169)

Maybe I'm misunderstanding you, but I can't remember a version of Windows that had a splash screen that was more than a looping animation.

Re:I have always been annoyed by splash screens (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39102281)

Windows 2000 (and possibly also Windows NT 3 / NT 4).

It actually had a quite informative two-stage startup sequence: First a text-based progress bar (loading of kernel + drivers IIRC), then it switched into 600x600 at 256 colors (IIRC) and showed a graphical splash screen with a pixel-based progress bar (starting of system services I guess). After that, it switched into the desktop screen resolution and started the GUI.

1995 Called (0)

jimmerz28 (1928616) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101909)

And it would like it's "news" article back.

Re:1995 Called (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39102167)

Yeah. It was in the same issue that said we are going to run out of IP addresses in 2 years.

I have a similar complaint about web pages (5, Insightful)

4444444 (444444) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101915)

It really bugs me when a webpage take forever to load because it's waiting on ad servers to dish up a new ad
Why can't they write there pages to load the ads last so you can read the page while the ads load?

Re:I have a similar complaint about web pages (4, Informative)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101987)

Google does this now. So does Google Analytics. So does Project Wonderful, another ad service.

You have to update the script code on the page though, and in some cases, specify you want asynchronous loading.

Re:I have a similar complaint about web pages (1)

RobbieThe1st (1977364) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101989)

Yes. A thousand times YES!
We may start needing a Greasemonkey extension that does just that - strips out the ad-code, then places it back in inside an iframe container. The rest of the page will load without waiting for the ads, but the ads will still load.

Re:I have a similar complaint about web pages (2)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101999)

Because their advertisers pay more if you have to read ads while the content loads?

What are these 'ads' you speak of? (3, Informative)

Giant Electronic Bra (1229876) | more than 2 years ago | (#39102085)

lol, you guys still allow ANYTHING 3rd party to load on a page, at all? Forget it. NoScript, block everything, selectively enable stuff that I want to see. Once you get used to the idea that many sites will need a temporary permission or two its great and only a relatively small subset of ads get through.

Re:I have a similar complaint about web pages (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 2 years ago | (#39102329)

You should really do that on your side, in the browser. It works much better than hoping every website out there will adopt this for you.

The Added Infrastructure (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101917)

Well, I'm dumbfounded. What is this man's capacity over at Adobe? One the one hand hats off to him for having the balls to come out with such a post and to end it with:

You can e-mail the CEO of Adobe at snarayen@adobe.com (to tell him to keep me or fire me).

But on the other hand, I wonder if he was aware of the network problems some of his proposed solutions represent. Surely, he must realize that "Run my gestures against an image in the cloud" amounts to increased network traffic. Don't even get me started on the privacy of those "gestures." Let's say you open up Photoshop to edit some 12 megapixel family pictures immediately. Are they transferred to the cloud in the process? And transferred back? Who has the network to do that faster than just loading to main memory with CPU cache? This increases what Adobe must now host as far as server farms and will, probably, raise the price of Photoshop in doing so. And, you know, it's already too expensive for me. Furthermore his post rails against "bloatware" but it's not like hosting this out on the cloud is going to make the application any less bloated. On the contrary, it can only make software more intricate, bloated, buggy, susceptible to attack, expensive, etc. Furthermore are there any users out there that are stationed on top of an internet backbone on Google's campus that could even take advantage of this additional functionality? Perhaps decades into the future this will be reality but until the infrastructure catches up to your consumers, this is a logistical headache.

As a developer, this all sounds very much like a two year old prattling off "and then I want a hover board, and then I want a flying car, and then ..." ad infinitum while we're still concentrating on minimizing highway deaths. He's probably sitting there with the latest iPhone asking why everything doesn't run like this but I have coworkers that are complaining about the latest iOS 5 updates to their older iPhones and all the problems associated with it. Good luck with pushing that "instant on" standard to all hardware out there man, I really will be amazed if you pull it off.

Re:The Added Infrastructure (2)

Skapare (16644) | more than 2 years ago | (#39102217)

What actually is happening between when the splash screen comes up, and when the user can start to use the application? Since there is no user input, yet, it would have to be basically the same thing happening each time it starts. So why not just save the memory image of all that the first time, and just map it in every time after that? Of course that means thinking about your programming environment in a different way, and very likely doing some major modifications of that, so that things like building all kinds of data structures to hold all kinds of discrete info like icon images, can be just mapped in from prior builds rather than reading hundreds of individual files each time the program starts. See, the problem here is that people are still thinking in terms of starting up a program in a nearly empty virtual memory space. Instead, have all this information preconstructed in a blob. If the blob is missing, or marked invalid, then do rebuild it. But if it is OK, then just map it into memory and move on. This blob will, of course, need to be built in a way that allows it to work no matter what virtual memory address it is loaded at. Unfortunately, a lot of programmers these days don't even know what a memory address is, and think virtual memory is some means to eliminate needing to know that.

Welcome to the real world, Kas. (5, Insightful)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101919)

Four things:
1) Launching an app from the cloud isn't going to be faster. Hell, many of those apps already use a modal web dialog that essentially acts as a splash screen while all the Javascript bloat sent down to the client gets its defecations together.

2) Angry Birds has some of the worst launch time that I've ever seen - and it's a top tablet and phone app.

3) Adobe, you want disregard for users? Try your stupid EULA clickthrough every time a new version of your PDF reader comes out.

4) Try a usability test in an app without a splash screen some time. What you get is poor end users clicking (launching) the app multiple times because it looks like "nothing's happening". The splash screen is an "ack" at the usability level - "yep, we're launching the app!" As long as it's not modal and the wait isn't long (e.g., the user can go finish surfing on his browser during the 10-15 seconds the apps loads) then there's usually no problem.

Re:Welcome to the real world, Kas. (1)

hjf (703092) | more than 2 years ago | (#39102061)

OTOH, download TrendNet's own app for their network cameras and let me know how you like their splash screen.

Re:Welcome to the real world, Kas. (1)

Flipao (903929) | more than 2 years ago | (#39102137)

About 4) You could simply load the main window and menus and give the user input while the rest of the application continues to load in the background. Apps don't need to load instantly as long as the user gets the perception that they are.

Re:Welcome to the real world, Kas. (2)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#39102149)

3) Adobe, you want disregard for users? Try your stupid EULA clickthrough every time a new version of your PDF reader comes out.

It's worse than that. I often use machines at TechShop which run off a frozen deployed image of all the software. The first use of Adobe Reader each day on each machine produces that message. Then Firefox complains that it wants to update itself. Then that Java runtime starter complains. Windows 7 itself at least comprehends that it's running from a frozen image and doesn't try to update itself.

Re:Welcome to the real world, Kas. (1)

danbert8 (1024253) | more than 2 years ago | (#39102263)

3) forget the EULA... For the love of god, why the hell do I get a new icon on my desktop every time I update Adobe Reader. Forget that no one launches Adobe Reader from the icon, but lord almighty, if you don't bother asking me during the original install and I delete your damn icon, why would you put it back again during an update?

Bloat (1)

Bobberly (1677220) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101923)

First off, mentioning Adobe and Bloat in the same sentence is just asking for mockery. Second, the whole point of the splash screen was to allow "instant feedback" to the the user that something was happening since they completely ignore the hourglass cursor. Given that most applications are designed independent of CPU cores and IO throughput, wouldn't you be adding bloat just to give the false appearance that the application is fully loaded and functional when it isn't? I guess we could design background loading, but isn't that an assumption that we'd have multiple cores to handle the UI and background tasks?

garbage article (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39101925)

if you want to talk about garbage and useless splash screen articles, this is one.

Depends on the program. (2)

Kenja (541830) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101933)

Lots of games for example require setup time between levels to avoid chewing up excess drive and memory space. Likewise with productivity apps that need to load add-ons, lib's and the like. Angry Birds on the other hand just downloads new adds, so the splash screen could go away without effecting performance.

Cloud - local (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39101939)

Perhaps the author could provide us with a link to a demonstration of this amazing cloud -> local instance version remapping technology?

Why? (2)

djdanlib (732853) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101941)

Perhaps it's just because "cloud" is the still-trendy buzzword. Hand-wavy talk of offloading into the "cloud" that solves all performance and scaling issues goes a long way with execs. You can pay someone else to deal with your poor architecture... excuse me, "provision appropriate capacity in the cloud" as they say... and push the real issues into obscurity.

Perhaps it's because app vendors can then use the user's Internet connection as a scapegoat for poor application performance. Yeah. Must be your cable, man. You know how it gets sometimes.

But whatever it is, it's a strange idea and VERY ironic that Adobe is pushing it.

What happens when the local app is done loading, 15 seconds later? Does it freeze up while the user is typing, while it transfers the data, and then hitch like crazy for a few seconds? Sounds like a terrible experience.

How is this much different from showing a screenshot of the program until it's able to be interactive locally?

Memory bloat (1)

vossman77 (300689) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101943)

I think I would prefer office to boot with a splash screen rather than suck up memory when I am not using it.

I especially hate it, when I choose restart and the OS has open all these stupid programs. When I rarely hit restart, I was a fresh system.

Instant Gratification (5, Insightful)

Roger Wilcox (776904) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101945)

The author of this article is an asshole who doesn't understand how computers work. To paraphrase him: "I want it, and I want it now. Period. PERIOD." Sometimes even with computer technology as advanced as it is, applications need time to load. A splash screen says "Don't worry Mr. Computer User, this program has successfully launched and is now loading." Without the splash, you'd sit and wonder if the program was loading or not... and then probably launch it a second time before it was finished loading, further slowing the process.

Re:Instant Gratification (1)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 2 years ago | (#39102003)

Pretty much, but there are some programs which would be available immediately, but still have a splash screen just for the sake of having one.

Re:Instant Gratification (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39102101)

No, he's right. The current trend where it's expected and normal for a program to take five minutes to launch is bullshit. GVim doesn't need a splash screen, and the fact that Eclipse does is unacceptable. Outlook is an e-mail client and calendar application; we've been doing that since I owned a 286 with a 9600 baud modem that I had to crank by hand to start up. Why the hell does it need a "hold on, I'm getting there, be patient" screen?

Half the problem is hardware, of course: seek times for mechanical hard drives don't follow the same increasing performance curve as CPU speed. But still, you have to ask what the hell is taking so long. Imagine a web browser with a splash screen: it would be the laughingstock of the industry. So why is it tolerable for Photoshop?

Re:Instant Gratification (1)

Arashi256 (1804688) | more than 2 years ago | (#39102181)

I'm fairly sure the first versions of Netscape Navigator (three, perhaps?) had a splash screen back in the late nineties on good old Windows 3.11.

Re:Instant Gratification (2)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 2 years ago | (#39102207)

Without the splash, you'd sit and wonder if the program was loading or not... and then probably launch it a second time before it was finished loading

This is a key feature of the OS X dock -- you can see the icon "bouncing" as the program loads. Unity has a similar feature where the icon's background fades in and out.

Guess what I'm saying is this: it would be nice if the OS could take care of telling the user that a program is loading. That way the user knows what's happening and the software doesn't have to be responsible for alerting the user to its own start up. In particular it removes the need for the always-on-top modal splash screen, which really has no place in a multitasking environment anyway.

what (1)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101949)

perhaps by running against an instance in the cloud while the local instance finishes loading

Why don't we track the killer by his IP address using Visual Basic or whatever while we're at it?

But I agree with the main sentiment; as computers become faster devs use it as an excuse to make apps more bloated and slower thinking users won't notice. But the best apps will always run fast and light.

Interestingly, Google Chrome attempts to at least APPEAR to start fast by loading components in the background while shoving stuff to the screen as fast as it can. The main window pops up before your profile is loaded AFAIK.

Loading . . . (5, Funny)

Art3x (973401) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101953)

Loading . . .

First post!

Ah, nuts

Hardware too (2)

archer, the (887288) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101957)

I'm getting tired of display devices having splash screens. I already know the name brand of my TV and monitor. Just start displaying the signal.

What kind of... (5, Insightful)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101963)

How about - now call me kooky - using some of the massive parallelism that desktops have been shipping with for the last half-decade? Launch background threads to do your resource loading; ensure that your main UI thread is doing as little blocking work as possible? You know, all the "tricks" that have been around for ages, but fell into disuse until mobile platforms became mainstream?

What kind of diseased mind thinks that the answer to a slow-loading client-side app is to connect it to a cloud instance, thus introducing external dependencies and unpredictable network latency?

when all our desktop applications (1)

Lawrence_Bird (67278) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101967)

are the same size as our phone "apps" (a handful of MB) then that might mean something. Until then splash screens are just a way to indicate, yes, your program really is starting and yes you did click the right icon. A number of programs offer the option to disable splash screens, maybe making that a "requirement" would make everyone happy.

Splash screens aren't the problem (4, Interesting)

gstrickler (920733) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101973)

Splash screens were originally designed to let you know the program was launching, so you weren't sitting there wondering "is it opening or not". Now, some splash screens are unnecessarily intrusive, particularly those that require you to click (or press enter) before they disappear and allow you to use the software.

The real problem is lack of responsiveness. The author points to that in his proposed alternatives, but he's misplaced the blame. For interactive processes, response time is more important than speed. 0.1 seconds is essentially instantaneous for most tasks, that is, the user won't notice that little delay. Games are an exception to that. 0.25 seconds starts to become noticeable, but it it's only occasionally that long, user's will barely notice. 0.5 seconds or longeer is noticeable in almost all instances. Any process that takes over 0.25 seconds should display some form of busy indicator or a progress indicator.

Re:Splash screens aren't the problem (1)

bkmoore (1910118) | more than 2 years ago | (#39102069)

Splash screens were originally designed to let you know the program was launching...

Splash screens had their time and place back in the floppy-disc era. Now days they seem kind of quaint.

Re:Splash screens aren't the problem (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#39102131)

Splash screens had their time and place back in the floppy-disc era. Now days they seem kind of quaint.

They don't seem quaint when they take up a quarter of the screen and force themselves to the top so I can't continue to use other apps while I wait for the bloated monster to start up.

splash screens suck (1)

hjf (703092) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101979)

I have a TrendNET camera and an android phone. The stupid app shows a silly splash screen for 3 seconds and then shows you a list of available cameras, which you have to click, then click the MENU button, and finally, VIEW.

It's awful. The worst part is the splash screen that does absolutely nothing.

HAHAHA! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39101985)

Adobe, the company who's code is 100% for virus/trojan-like with startup hiding, and the kings of bloat behind M$ says this?

I think I strained a couple of muscles laughing!

wow.. this goes in the who cares bucket (1)

cod3r_ (2031620) | more than 2 years ago | (#39101995)

Seriously.. For someone who doesn't have the 5 extra seconds it takes to load a program on their PC they sure have plenty of time to write/complain about it.. Also my iphone doesn't load up programs all that fast, and certainly none of them are nearly as robust as the ones I have on my computer.

Inconsistent Premise (5, Insightful)

fiordhraoi (1097731) | more than 2 years ago | (#39102025)

The author complains about various things. He may have a point with some of them, but some are just ridiculous. For example, he mentions how it takes X amount of time to boot up his laptop, but his phone starts "instantly." I am 100% sure that his phone does not start up instantly from a reboot. Rather, his phone is simply on the vast majority of the time. The more complex the application, the longer it takes to prepare to run. I know numerous applications on both IOS and Android that deliver a splash screen while they load up. Many of these are games or similarly graphic intensive applications (comparative to other more "utility" focused apps). Or if they do not have a splash screen, they deliver no useful function while the data is loading. Ever started up google maps or something similar, and seen your position sitting there on a completely blank field for five or ten seconds? While I agree that perhaps splash screens/load times should be more streamlined as a whole, this "zero load time" environment that he purports to enjoy with phones and tablets simply does not exist.

It seems the green ideology has striked Adobe... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39102037)

So is this newspeak to sell SAAS ?

No thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39102039)

Is this an attempt to justify more user tracking and user reliance on Adobe? No thanks.

Finally... (1)

humphrm (18130) | more than 2 years ago | (#39102043)

Man I've been steaming about the new splash screen on Quicken. It used to be switchable, now with 2011 it's not. And it sits there for minutes, locked on top and not letting you do anything else. I use Quicken for one reason and one reason only, to be able to pay bills directly and electronically through my register, and to be able to download transactions and reconcile accounts. Other programs offer the former or the latter, but I haven't found any that does both. Once some other software (and I don't really care which platform) offers this, I'm ready to dump the Intuit anti-customer attitude once and for all.

Re:Finally... (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#39102307)

I use Quicken for one reason and one reason only, to be able to pay bills directly and electronically through my register, and to be able to download transactions and reconcile accounts.

Well, for a sufficiently large definition of "one"... Anyway, I had the same problem, Quicken was my last remaining windoze app and I was sick of living on the upgrade treadmill where they disabled features like download unless you bought a new almost identical version every two years. I probably would still be a customer, every 4 or 5 years, if they didn't try to squeeze their fingers around my neck so tightly... Solutions:

1) I pay bills directly out of my bank's online billpay now. Buh bye quicken...

2) I don't reconcile accounts anymore. Buh bye quicken. With all access being online for all my accounts, the quaint postal idea of reconciling a monthly statement doesn't make much sense anymore. I don't have a monthly financial cycle anymore... My bank sends me an email receipt for each check/savings/CC/billpay transaction. I keep up with it in real time. Don't really see the point of a monthly reconciliation. This might have something to do with how I used to write something in excess of ten paper checks per month in the 90s and now I write exactly one per month to the mortgage payment, plus the occasional sort-isolated oddity.

I tried the mint thing to do budgeting, but its kind of like facebook, an addictive waste of time that provided no useful result in my life. So, buh bye mint. Then mint got bought by Quicken so I figured they'd destroy it, but its apparently still going well, although much spammier than it used to be. I heard if your bank doesn't spam you with transactions, you can configure mint to do it somehow, something to do with setting your monthly budget to one cent in all categories or something to trick it into sending alerts.

Photoshop has REAL issues (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39102055)

Get Serious.
If that's all you dislike about Photoshop, you're lucky!
Besides, it's a simple hack to kill the splash screen.

Adobe and Autodesk (1)

MM-tng (585125) | more than 2 years ago | (#39102067)

My eyes popped out of my head. I'm sorry but these two companies have consistently had a target of 2min load times on all the computers I had the last 10 years. Fuck you for being shit programmers. I'm sorry but there is no other way to say this. Jesus.

The cures are worse (4, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#39102077)

Attempts to fix this problem usually seem to take the form of some abysmal hack to keep the program in memory when not in use. There's one of those memory hogs for OpenOffice, Microsoft Office, Photoshop, and Java. (Java's "jqs.exe" is particularly wasteful of resources. It tries to keep the whole Java environment in memory, deliberately causing page faults, even when there's been no use of Java in hours or weeks.) This is one of the reasons it seems to take gigabytes of memory to do anything today.

Nobody thinks much about linkers any more. That's part of the problem. What's needed is something that organizes the executable file so that the stuff you need to get going loads first, using one big read operation. Linkers which once did that were once common, but are now rare.

Then there's the DLL/shared object problem. Many programs need only a small part of some shared library, but requesting it either brings in the whole thing, or it gets loaded one page fault at a time.

Much of the problem is just bloat. Adobe's PDF reader (which is now unnecessary, since there are good alternatives) takes far too long to load for what it does. Most people don't need the text to speech system, or "WebBuy" (electronic commerce in PDF, a feature used by nobody), yet each adds a noticeable delay to startup.

Hooking something up to the "cloud" makes it worse. Then you get to wait for the server.

Sounds like he should love how Windows does it... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39102079)

because when you boot Windows, the operating system will, without fail, show you a fake desktop that appears functional but nothing works. Then the whole system bogs down, grinding and struggling, as it tries to load the operating system and whatever program you told it to start. Slowly, slowly, it claws to life, like a deathless zombie scrabbling against a coffin lid, and the program I wanted appears. Only it's slow as molasses too, because the operating system is STILL loading. This continues for up to a good solid minute or two on a hard-disk powered system.

If the program is complex enough that it simply can't load in a snap, I WANT A SPLASH SCREEN. Don't fucking lie to me as if I'm an impatient moron. Tell me that you're getting ready to run. Let me know that you are actually doing something in the background---put some updating text under that splash. And when that splash screen disappears, let everything now be snappy and fully operative.

Sorry.. (1)

wbr1 (2538558) | more than 2 years ago | (#39102081)

Large apps may take time to load. Smartphones/tablets don't have huge apps like premier/photoshop.

I would rather have my entire program available after a short splash, then be waiting on parts for a possibly non-existent cloud sync if I have a dead connection. I rely on my programs to work, consistently, with all features, at all times.

I don't mind (3, Interesting)

Freddybear (1805256) | more than 2 years ago | (#39102107)

I don't mind a splash screen on a game if it's really waiting for the program to load resources, and it goes away when the game is ready to play. I realize that games can have a lot of resources to load up before they can begin play.
I do mind when there is a whole series of splash screens for each and every little sub-library, and they all insist on playing their little animation for me every time I load up. Especially when it's obvious that the screen is just waiting on a timer or the escape key. Even if I can dismiss them with the escape key, it's still irritating.

On a business application, there is absolutely no excuse for a splash screen. I don't care if it takes several seconds to load up, but I don't want to ready your ad.

Tile replaces splash (1)

michaelmalak (91262) | more than 2 years ago | (#39102125)

In the world of Windows Metro, the app tile [businessinsider.com] replaces the splash screen.

Some splash screens are good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39102127)

I would prefer to have a splash screen with a progress bar than to sit and wait with no notification at all that my app is loading components into memory while I wait.

Re:Some splash screens are good (2)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#39102321)

...unless it's as poorly done as usual, where updating that CSI-inspired, gimmicky progress bar consumes more processing time than actually loading the app...

Be nice guys (2)

BitHive (578094) | more than 2 years ago | (#39102135)

This is the kind of embarrassing sophomoric musing that most people would be ashamed to read let alone write. Let's cut this guy some slack, in 5 or 10 years he's going to feel really stupid.

Latency rears its head again (1)

Twinbee (767046) | more than 2 years ago | (#39102143)

I don't use a splash screen, but my own project - OpalCalc [skytopia.com] - takes about 700ms to open (used to be over a second), and while this sounds minuscule and hardly anyone complains, it does feel 'awkward' to open compared to say notepad, or the standard Windows calculator when you want to do a quick calc. (Getting the load time under 300ms soon though I hope).

Somewhat related, a while back, I wrote an article about latency in desktop apps (as well as the OS's GUI generally). Here are some quick stats for Ubuntu 10.10 versus Windows 7:
http://www.skytopia.com/project/articles/lag/latency.html#desktop [skytopia.com]

Haiku [haiku-os.org] is very good in this regard.

I see where he's coming from (2)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#39102153)

Its often quicker to download a PDF than to wait for Adobe Reader to load.

A call for longer splash screens (1)

mastakuno (912062) | more than 2 years ago | (#39102155)

A graphic designers "photoshop is opening" can become the equivalent of a developer's "my code is compiling" excuse to not work.

Spalshscreens and RDP (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39102175)

Now that so much Windows administration is done via RDP, my absolute favorite are the transparent fade-in splash screens. They add so much the user experience, like head-bashing frustrations

Should not "appear to" launch instantly ... (1)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 2 years ago | (#39102179)

It suggests that big programs should launch instantly (or appear to)

No, it should not "appear to" launch instantly. Putting up a full screen graphic that looks like your loaded app is just a gimmick cell phone manufacturers prefer to give the *illusion* of performance. There is no harm in showing a splash screen rather than the fake user interface. The splash screen serves your interests, the fake user interface serves the cell phone manufacturer's interests. Serving your interests rather than the manufacturer's does not harm the user, **unless** you do something like introduce a delay to force the user to see your splash.

Of course it is sometimes practical to do both, combine the fake user interface and splash info. In a calculator app [perpenso.com] (RPN Scientific Stats Business Hex) that I have I am able to do both in a way. The screenshot that I use was converted to gray scale and dimmed to suggest the buttons are not enabled. My splash is just a product name and copyright notice and I put that in the numeric display. The user experience is an instant but disabled user interface with a copyright notice, the notice is replaced with numerics as soon as the interface is enabled.

Also, you should not depend on the user seeing a spash every time the app launches. On iOS apps go into the background rather than quit. When "re-launched' the app merely moves to the foreground and is in fact instantly useable. Forcing a spash screen at this time would fall into the "harmful to the user" category.

Splash screens have a purpose (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39102225)

Splash screens have a purpose.

I once worked on a really poorly designed app that used huge 3rd party libraries that all had to be loaded at program startup. Startup was so slow, that end-users would often try to start the app multiple times, which made the startup even slower. Starting the app under ideal circumstances took 45+ seconds before anything was displayed. This was on a FAST machine for the time.

Our fix?
We created a tiny app that showed a splash screen ASAP after startup for 45 seconds, while the full app was spawned. This stopped users from relaunching the app and let them know their first clicks had worked.

Eventually, we dumped the huge 3rd party library for MFC (which made us single platform), and the launch time dropped to 10 seconds.

Re:Splash screens have a purpose (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#39102293)

I don't mind that, as long as you let me put your splash screen in the background. You think your customer might have been a tad bit irate if you forced them to stare at your wonderful splash screen for 45 seconds, even though he already knows after using it for the n-th time that he has to wait 45 seconds and could do something productive in the meantime while waiting for your product to load?

It's amazing how many companies still consider themselves the be-all, end-all of computing, even in the times of multitasking. Nobody gives half a shit about your splash screen, open a window, say "loading..." and let me minimize it for $deity's sake!

Always-on-top (5, Insightful)

Scutter (18425) | more than 2 years ago | (#39102231)

I don't mind splash screens, but I HATE HATE HATE splash screens that insist on always-on-top. Let me launch the app and then go back to what I was doing while it loads. When you force always-on-top, you're basically saying "Stop everything you're doing and look at me for 30 seconds!"

I don't know about you... (1)

lazycam (1007621) | more than 2 years ago | (#39102247)

But I have been using computers since I was a child. I learned very early on that some programs loaded quickly, which other programs took longer to load. Again, simple programs load more quickly than more complex programs (even on an i7 rig). So, what is the issue again?

Re:I don't know about you... (1)

Skapare (16644) | more than 2 years ago | (#39102295)

The issue is why it is that loading programs take much longer than it takes for a simple program to just read as much data from a file that is essential for the big program to get to a point where it can present the user experience. I think what the author of the blog really means is that the program should just do the minimum needed to get the real starting screen up first, make user input functional, and then load the rest in the background, starting with the subscreens program sections the user typically uses first.

I like them (2)

yanom (2512780) | more than 2 years ago | (#39102255)

I've always found splash screens to be a sign of polish and workmanship on the part of the dev. Just sayin'.

By 2015 everyone will have SSD (1)

Spy Handler (822350) | more than 2 years ago | (#39102265)

and nobody will care about splash screens anymore

Piracy & Privacy (1)

ossuary (1532467) | more than 2 years ago | (#39102279)

Long ago Adobe's applications went from having an actual "splash screen" to a "loading screen" that we have to sit and watch. To hear this guy talk about it, this sounds like more of Adobe wanting to lock users into their Adobe subscription model than actually worrying about start times. Anything that would connect to "instance in the cloud" would have even more ties into logging how the user access their programs and give Adobe even more control.

How about a splash screen? (2)

mspohr (589790) | more than 2 years ago | (#39102303)

"It suggests that big programs should launch instantly (or appear to), perhaps by..."
Oh, I don't know... perhaps you could just splash something on the screen so the user would know that the program is starting and won't wonder WTF is happening after they tell the program to run.

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