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Blend 3 - SketchFlow Lagging and Crashing RRS feed

  • Question

  • I've been using Blend3 and Sketchflow for a couple weeks now, and been using Silverlight for a while.  I really like SketchFlow and have finally started using it for a real project prototype.  I am, however, having some serious problems with it.  The project that I'm prototyping has hundreds of screens,  I've only entered 40 and I'm experiencing some huge issues with Blend3 + Sketchflow.

    I have a general login to main landing page (some user maint screens) and then 3 sub-menu screens (roughly 9-15 screens each sub).  I have a navigation component that contains my main nav (13 total sub-navs) and then sub-components that hide/show offering the sub-nav navigation (9-50 sub-screens).  I've only implemented about 40 screens currently, three sub-navs and SketchFlowMap is slowing to a crawl and I think causing blue screen crashes. 

    When I load the app in Blend I can use the standard Silverlight controls (Tabs, Cursor Select, Menus) just fine, there's no lag.  However when I try to do anything in the SketchFlow Map, I have a delay of about 30-90 stry econds before most commands (clicks, drags...etc) take effect.  I can Click-Drag Navigation Arrows w/o delay (most of the time), but if I try to Click-Drag a screen to change it's position I get the lag.  If I try to change the postion of the view by moving the scroll bar, I get the lag.  Granted, I'm using this on a 2GHz Dual Core with 2 Gig (only running Blend + Outlook and Firefox after fresh reboot) and a mobile NVS 140 video card (most current Dell drivers).  I wouldn't expect it to lag this much or give me blue screen crashes (Null Paging Memory error).  I really like SketchFlow and want to use it for this project, but if 40 Screens is the limit, it's not going to work for me.  Any ideas how to remedy this?

    Also of note, I can reproduce this behavior on command, just loading the project.  I work only about 10 minutes away from the main MSFT campus in Redmond and could demonstrate this in person if it would be of help.

    -Steve
    Wednesday, August 19, 2009 3:09 PM

All replies

  • With my experience in Blend, whenever you start adding large amounts of content, it does tend to slow down quite a bit. I have'nt used sketchflow much, but can assume this is all stems from the same problem. Maybe you want to have some of the content loaded in from separate controls or projects. Over a hundred screen is definitely a lot, take any software, like Photoshop for example, and try to add tons and tons of layers, files open etc. It WILL slow down, it just comes with the territory.
    Wednesday, August 19, 2009 3:13 PM
  • I thought the point of SketcFlow was for quick and easy prototyping?  True, if this were production stage, I'd not be shoving 200 pages into one control, to be loaded at one time, but this is a prototype and was going to be used to model, get client feedback and optimize the site navigation.  One would think an ideal candidate for SketchFlow. 

    Wednesday, August 19, 2009 3:24 PM
  • You are correct but you have to remember that the control that are placed into sketchflow are real controls, and that 200 pages is quite excessive as far as my experience with writing software.
    Wednesday, August 19, 2009 3:27 PM
  • Steve,
    In our stress testing, we have not seen what you are seeing.

    Can you take a look at the amount of memory Blend is consuming in the Task Manager?

    Can you share your project with me? bpappas (at) microsoft.com

    Thanks,
    Bob Pappas
    SketchFlow Engineering Manager
    Wednesday, August 19, 2009 3:48 PM
  • It's currently taking up 364mb with the next highest process being FireFox with 138mb.

    -Steve
    Wednesday, August 19, 2009 3:58 PM
  • I have to say that this is my first project that I am using Blend's Sketchflow feature for prototyping  ....and I have already been experiencing A LOT of lagging and A LOT of crashing as well.  Every time I do anything whether it be selecting a control or selecting an item from the Objects/Timeline pane, I have to sit and wait for 2 minutes for every click I make in Blend.  It's not like I don't have the specs on my machine that should more than able to handle Blend.  So, it's been very frustrating so far using Sketchflow especially since I had a tight deadline to make.  I am sure I have wasted at least 10 hours on Blend just due to crashing/lagging/starting over.
    Monday, August 24, 2009 3:34 AM
  • Jenna,
    Wow, that is not the experience you should be having.

    From the Task Manager, can you see how much memory and CPU utilization Blend.exe is using?

    How many SketchFlow screens are you using? How many connections between them?

    If you can share your project, or a sanitized version of your project please email it to me: bpappas (at) microsoft (dot) com.

    Thanks,
    Bob Pappas
    SketchFlow Engineering Manager

    Monday, August 24, 2009 8:34 PM
  • Actually, what I ended up doing was creating a new project in Blend and copied over whatever I could.  This was fine except I did have to rerecord about 10-15 states. Anyway, since I have started the new project, I have not these problems with crashing/lagging anymore.  I'm guessing that my previous project became corrupt somehow or maybe an error on my part?  I'm not really sure why though since my builds were succeeding...  
    Thursday, September 3, 2009 4:18 PM
  • Jenna,
    I'm glad you got it working. However, if there is some way of sending me the original project, we would like to understand the performance problems.

    Also, are you using SketchFlow Animations?

    Thanks,
    Bob
    Friday, September 4, 2009 5:03 PM
  • I've been experiencing similar performance issues as Jenna. Trying to build a SketchFlow prototype. Sometimes I'll select an object from the objects and timelines menu and it won't select. I've also had to restart Blend numerous times to correct the selection problem. I've also had at least 4 Blend 3 crashes that have me very paranoid about constantly saving my project.

    I'm also experiencing odd behavior with SketchFlow Animation. Items that I place in one particular location end up getting animated in some completely whacked out location that is nowhere near the location I placed it. My prototype should be a quick job but this has taken me days to try to get right and I'm considering switching back to Axure to limp my way through finishing this prototype. I needed a tool that would allow for simple animation. I can tell the SketchFlow is that simple animation tool, but it seems quite buggy and unstable at the moment...
    Wednesday, September 16, 2009 12:26 AM
  • Just to register that I am also having problems and today it my first outing

    I have just 5 pages and one component screen current memory useage is 185,428 it was 87,000 at startup, I have just rebooted but before reboot it was over 500,000 so it looks as though there is a leak or it is not disposing of stuff

    I too like it but cannot live with it like this.
    jnc
    Wednesday, September 30, 2009 3:04 PM
  • Hi,
    Please reply to bpappas (at) microsoft (dot) com, I'd like to help solve your performance / memory consumption issues with SketchFlow.

    Thanks!
    Wednesday, September 30, 2009 3:50 PM
  • jnc,
    Unfortunately, with larger sized projects and more complicated XAML or large images, Blend can easilly get into this range of memory usage.

    It's also a typical of a .NET application. .NET has garbage collection, but it hangs on to memory longer than with a traditional application. If the memory is free according to .NET, but .NET hasn't returned it to the OS yet, this typically also isn't a problem since Window's page file swaping to disk works very well. However, if you have a slow disk drive, or very fragmented disk and paging file, this will lead to performance issues.

    -Bob
    Thursday, October 1, 2009 8:52 PM