pdf performance torture test, New York style

It turns out that if the evince or maemo pdf reader teams want a good performance torture test, I can strongly recommend the MTA’s all-in-one NYC Subway map. Completely, unusably slow on the maemo, unfortunately; merely painful on evince. On the plus side, even acrobat takes its time to render it, so it isn’t an easy case, and given a choice between a map that can be rendered quickly and the NYC system, I’ll probably take NYC. Get back to me after a few months, though; by then the persistent NYC smell may have turned me into an MBTA fan again…

9 thoughts on “pdf performance torture test, New York style”

  1. Well, try it in Foxit Reader for Windows XP, it draws it fast.
    A second or so slower than the “map that can be rendered quickly”

    AMD64 3200+
    1GB RAM

  2. Another example that I’ve tried recently and that takes a surprising amount of time to render in Evince is the cheat sheets for Yahoo! UI: http://developer.yahoo.com/yui/#cheatsheets

    I haven’t tried any other viewers and have no real idea why, except possibly that they are made in MS Word.

  3. I’m curious how fast Preview on a Mac can render these. Apple bragged at one point about having the world’s fastest PDF viewer.

    I love it when people find pathological examples like this, because you just know some schmuck is going to tear apart Evince with a profiler and emerge 2 months later with a 100x performance improvement. :-)

  4. On a 1.42 GHz G4 (1 GB RAM) running OS X 10.4.7, the NYC subway map opened and rendered in about 3-and-a-half seconds in Preview. The Essen map comes in a just under 7 seconds.

  5. keep in mind the nyc subway system is one of the largest (probably the largest) in the world. the T system in boston is very small in comparison. hence the load-heavy pdf.

    august is probably the smelliest time in nyc. something that helped me survive was to take buses (they run on same fare as subway) and they are generally less smelly (unless you take them at rush hour) and nicer (they get upgraded and cleaned more frequently than trains). it’s also nice not to have to go underground a subway oven to take the bus and there’s very little chance of homeless camping out and urinating at bus stops. there are also some electric buses that don’t pollute as much.

    on bad side, the bus maps are… well… there’s about a zillion routes out there, and a separate map for each of them. it does take a bit of research and a good sense of geography to figure out where to go, and is definitely a little bit harder than the subway map, but it’s worth a try. and you might be treated to a virtual tour of some of the neighborhoods in manhattan that way.

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