Slow web apps make me sad

I switched over from Bloglines to Google Reader last week when they announced an updated version of the interface was available. It’s much sleeker, more like Gmail, and Bloglines annoys me daily, so this seemed like an easy choice. But Google Reader is slow on my home computer. I think there’s a bug or two in their AJAX that’s eating up memory, because the whole thing seizes up every couple of hours. I can’t leave the window open while I’m working on other things.

The New York Times had an article today about Friendster and why it lost out on the social networking boom. I think every web company should read this, because the big #1 problem that anyone who had an account there will remember is that as the site grew, it became so slow you couldn’t even log in. It was completely unusable. According to the article, the management was completely oblivious to this at the time, didn’t care, just wanted to know how fast the next feature set could be applied. But features are completely irrelevant if the basic functionality breaks.

So Google: I love being able to read posts one at a time and sort by different sets of tags, but I can’t keep using your service if the scripts running it keep timing out. Bloglines: my unread posts disappear and reappear. WTF? Fix your database issues. The last announcement I saw said “now with more AJAX” and I don’t care. I would rather hit refresh and have to reload the page every single time to see new items, if it means that you index new posts in a reliable manner.

I started working on a feed aggregator last spring and then dropped it after a while, because it seemed like too much work when there are a ton of existing services to pick from now. But none of them seem to work well enough to justify “features” that instead bog the service down. I’d love smart filtering and organization, but instead everyone mucks around with the UI. It’s getting really annoying.

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One response to “Slow web apps make me sad

  1. Aaron B. Hockley

    I knew you seemed familiar or something… this is Aaron, we chatted tonight at the meetup. I linked this post last week when I was doing a roundup of thoughts on the new Google Reader:

    Anyway, hi again.