Thursday, March 8, 2012

Slow as hell

Let's take a look back at first versions of Quicken Home Inventory. The oldest one I used has .IDB format for storing the database. Apparently, there was a version with some ID2 format before. I searched the net for IDB format only to find various other file types with this extension. This format seems so obscure, maybe it was developed withing Intuit itself.

It looks like this old database format is storage only and does not have indexes in the database and most probably in the memory. It works fine for a couple of items, but slows down progressively as you add more. Once you have 500+ items, QHIM crawls to a halt - it takes almost 30 seconds to show details for a single inventory item. Even on today's hardware it is slow as hell.

Ok, I hoped Intuit would fix this. One of the subsequent versions of QHIM featured a new database file format, named QHI. As much as I was able to found out, it was developed by some German company. Beside the format being different, speed remains the same. It's slow and quite unusable as soon as you enter all your data in.

But, database is not the only problem. The graphic user interface is also very slow. I don't understand why is Intuit insisting on custom non-standard UI. Using non-standard UI means two things:

1. it works slower because all controls need to be rendered by the custom non-optimized code.

2. it does not obey any of Microsoft Windows UI standards. If you set different color scheme in Windows or font DPI, QHIM simply ignores that. This is usability killer for many users.