Posts tagged performance

Blazing fast automatic timetable generation

Chrome for the best timetabling software experience

All modern browsers are perfectly suitable for everyday use, but when it comes to web apps and especially intensive calculations like automatic timetable generation, they give drastically different results.

Our statistics show that Chrome is by far the most popular browser among Prime Timetable users and therefore we did some extra optimizations for this browser in order to achieve maximum performance. The results are astonishing:

Desktop application performance on the web

It turns out that by using Chrome, the performance of automatic generator is 2-100 times faster than in any other modern browser, fully reaching desktop application performance on the web! If you don't already use Chrome for your timetabling work, we recommend that you give it a try.

The generator will work considerably faster in Chrome than in our plugin app, a couple of times faster than in Firefox and sometimes even 100+ times faster than in Internet Explorer 11.

Use Chrome and enjoy timetabling to the max

When it comes to performance, we have a clear winner: Chrome. The second best is Firefox and then comes Safari. If you are using Internet Explorer, we highly recommend that you avoid using it for any kind of complex school scheduling (although we do have high hopes for Microsoft's new browser called Edge). Please note that all browsers are still supported, even the 14-year-old Internet Explorer 6 via the plugin app. However, if you want the best performance, use Chrome and reward yourself with blazingly fast automatic generation!

Online school software at full speed

Online services like Facebook, Gmail and others deliver only a small amount of data initially (e.g. only the first 20 statuses or 50 emails…). The general idea is to get the smallest data set possible and to work correctly even on slow Internet connections.

One of the challenges we at Prime Timetable face while creating the world’s first online school timetable software is that all school data should be loaded before the timetable is drawn on the initial screen. That means that all entered subjects, rooms, teachers, classes and their groups and lessons, including various constraints, need to be loaded first. In large schools/colleges with 500 and more subjects/teachers that can take a while.

We have taken this challenge seriously and made lots of optimizations for loading, saving and importing timetables:

  • All data sent over the wire is compressed, making it 5-20x smaller than before.
  • Once a timetable is loaded, it is stored on your computer, so the next time it is opened directly from your computer (of course, in the background we check if there are changes on the server and load them too).
  • When saving, all timetable changes are instantly saved on your computer first, so that you can immediately continue your timetabling work, while changes are transferred to our server in the background.

We believe that speed of Prime Timetable online service will pleasently surprise you. Don’t worry about technical details (yes, we use server cache and pre-fetch techniques too) because you will never even notice them, unless you are curios and read our blog :) . For all of you out there who have special needs, we offer offline timetabling, while the rest of you can enjoy online timetabling at full speed.

Prime Timetable at full speed

Better timetable view performances

Recently we got some pretty large schools/colleges using Prime Timetable with number of subjects/teachers as high as 500 (!) and even more. That makes up to 20000+ timetable cards to display in the school timetable, so we have decided to devote some time to timetable view performances. Here are some results that are especially visible in bigger timetables:

  • Displaying timetable view is now 10-20x faster than it was before.
  • No need to wait for timetable to finish drawing. You can use application while timetable is being drawn.
  • Timetable is continually displayed so you get immediate response.
  • Prime Timetable will automatically adjust according to your computer’s performances, e.g. faster computers will display the animation of cards moving, fading, etc., while slower computers won’t have such smooth experience.
  • Using zoom in and zoom out is instant, without timetable view refreshing.

Screenshot with cards flying into timetable

Overall, we are pleased with the new timetable view performances and hope you will like them too. Just don’t tell us that your school has 10000 teachers :) .