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Beta-countdown: May 21st - Comments

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Beta-countdown: May 21st

Posted 21 May 2006, 1:19 PM

After 3 days of intensive optimisation, I'm able to announce that version 3.0 can match the performance of version 2.6 regardless of the new features we've added. This was measured with caches enabled and validation disabled: the difference in time between these versions was too neglible to be reliably measured.

In addition, we have a number of gains in other situations:

  • When validation (automatic validation of ocPortal's own output against standards such as XHTML, WCAG and CSS) is enabled, it is now about 30% faster, meaning it is now almost unnoticeable if left turned on. We have also made it such that a page will never be validated more than once if it doesn't contain any errors.
  • When caches are disabled, performance is significantly improved, although enabling the caches will double performance even with these improvements.

Because of "Moore's law", the tendancy for computer performance to double every 1.5 years, the fact that we have been able to hold core performance as we add features means that in practical terms, ocPortal will perform better and better over time. This is in stark contrast to the norm, where software gets slower in step with hardware improvement.

As well as optimisation, we've also been doing a lot of testing of ocPortal. Unlike previous testing, which has been entirely focused on beta testing, we are now performing three types of testing together:
  • beta testing, to find and fix bugs in code both old and new
  • usability testing, performed in person with test subjects with no prior ocPortal experience
  • attractiveness testing, to make sure all the prominent screens in ocPortal look fantastic
Each type of testing is being given equal prominence, with the combined aim to make this next version of ocPortal the best yet at meeting the needs of our users.

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