I’ve been frustrated a lot lately by the software that I work with. I’m referring to the browser interface to the back-office software I do independent web development for. It’s obvious the company’s developers don’t care about performance, and I end up spending countless hours trying to overcome this attitude, looking for ways to eek out faster page loads. Some other developers just add a “page loading” message, but that’s the lazy method.
There are some performance problems I can’t overcome, so I end up using AJAX to make it seem faster. I’ll load the fast elements right away, then use either XMLHttpRequest or a hidden iframe to load the slower elements, showing “loading” placeholders where the data will eventually go. It’s not a perfect solution – it doesn’t actually reduce load time – but I get far fewer complaints from clients because it appears to reduce load time. And, as they say, perception is everything.