Flex Performance

Tips and Techniques for Improving Client Application Performance

  • Use dynamically repeating controls for better performance
  1. Increase the duration of your effect with the duration property.
  2. The less there is for Flash Player to redraw during an animation, the
    smoother the effect plays.
  3. Avoid bitmap based backgrounds
  • Achieving Great Performance with Runtime Styles
  1. A common mistake that impacts performance is overusing or unnecessarily using the setStyle() method. In general, you only need the setStyle() method when you want to change styles on existing objects. Do not use it when setting up styles for an object for the first time. Instead, set styles in an <mx:Style> block, as explicit style properties on the MXML tag, through an external CSS style sheet, or as global styles. It is important to initialize your objects with the correct style information, if you do not expect these styles to change while your program executes (whether it is your application, a new view in a navigator container, or a dynamically created component).
  2. Some applications need to call the setStyle() method during the application or object instantiation. If this is the case, call the setStyle() method early in the instantiation phase to avoid unnecessary lookups. Early in the instantiation phase means setting styles from the component or application’s initialize event, instead of the creationComplete or other event. By setting the styles as early as possible during initialization, you avoid unnecessary style notification and lookup.
  • Using Dynamically Repeating Controls for Better Performance
  1. New in Flex 1.5 is the addition of the HorizontalList and TileList controls. You can use these controls for layouts that require dynamically repeating elements. They perform much better than layouts that used Repeaters. In fact, layouts created during the Flex 1.0 timeframe that used a Repeater may often be replaced by a combination of the HorizontalList or TileList controls and cell renderers for better performance.
  • Improving a Repeater Object’s Performance

    There are a few things to think about if you need to improve your Repeater object’s performance. First, if you are using containers as the child of the Repeater object, check whether using a HorizontalList or TileList control would be better. If that is not the case, ensure that the containers used as the children of the Repeater do not have unnecessary container nesting and are as trim as possible. If a single instance of the repeated view takes a noticeable time to instantiate, repeating makes it worse. As mentioned previously in this article, multiple Grid containers in a Repeater object do not perform well because Grid containers themselves are resourceintensive containers to instantiate. An alternative solution is to try a List control with a custom cell renderer or the HorizontalList or
    TileList controls.

    You should also set the recycleChildren property to true to improve a Repeater object’s performance. The recycleChildren property is a boolean value that, when set to true, binds new data items into existing Repeater children, incrementally creates new children if there are more data items, and destroys extra children that are no longer required. When you set this property to false, the Repeater object recreates all the repeated objects when you swap dataProvider properties, sort, and so on, which causes a performance lag.

  • Performance test your own Flex application

Test the performance of your application early and often. It is always best to identify problem areas early and resolve them in an iterative manner, rather then trying to shove performance enhancements into existing, poorly performing code at the end of your application development cycle.

  • Using Runtime Shared Libraries (RSLs)

You can shrink the size of your application’s resulting SWF file by externalizing shared assets into standalone files that you can separately download and cache on the client. Multiple Flex applications can load these shared assets at runtime, but each client need only to download them once. These shared files are called Runtime Shared Libraries. Flex projects that have multiple Flex applications downloaded to the client can leverage RSLs for better performance. More specifically, the time it takes to download a Flex application once the initial RSL has been downloaded is significantly reduced. However, not all applications benefit from RSLs.

  1. Large applications that load multiple smaller applications can be linked to a shared RSL
  2. A family of applications on a server built with a shared RSL
  3. A frequently changing application that has a large set of infrequently changing components

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