Performance Problems on Tinderbox 7.5.4


(Kay Krämer) #1

Hi. I experience a poor performance with TB 7.5.4. The document is not very big and has no agents. But when I move the map around, it runs not smoothly and the processor load goes up to about 70-80%. It’s a bit like a movie running at 10 fps. With the document ATbRef the load is about 180%. Is this normal behaviour? My Hardware is a MBP with retina display from 2014, 8GB RAM.

When I scroll the outline up and down, the processor load is equally as high…

Kind regards, Kay


(Mark Anderson) #2

If using aTbRef, I normally turn off automatic agent updates once all 100+ agents have updated or the fans stay on. I’d also note that aTbRef is essentially written in Outline view and intended to be read (as a TBX) in the same view. Maps like the container holding the list of system attributes have 300+ notes and lots of links - that a lot of drawing calculating.

Using the pre-made map in my v7 starter doc, don’t see an issue. If I watch closely the dragged notes’ title fuzzes slightly whilst being dragged.

To what version are you comparing v7.5.4?


(Kay Krämer) #3

Hi Mark.

At first, a big thanks to you for your fast answer as well as for all the work you spend here for TB and the forum!

I compare TB 7.5.4 to nothing, because I am rather new to TB. But it feels not fluidly at all. So it happens to me, that I click somewhere and some action is happening after this, because the program is lagging. So it is more a subjective feeling than a comparison to some former versions. As I said, only few notes and no agent. I just took your document to see, how the mac is performing with a bigger document. It’s not much fun…
The next thing, what I am going to try is restarting my computer and starting only TB. We will see, how it performs then.


(Kay Krämer) #4

Ok… as I said, I’ve tried and tinkered a little bit around. It seems, that adornments slow TB down quite a bit. I made a test file with some notes, links and adornments. What had the biggest impact due to performance, were the adornments. Without them, the processor load was about 75% (scrolling in all directions), with them, it was a bit above 90%. But the subjective difference was MUCH more than what the numbers suggest in the first moment…


(Mark Anderson) #5

As you say there is a degree of subjectivity here making comparisons hard. I’d suggest you make a short movie of what you see commenting on the effect you are experiencing and send it (or send a link to it) to support. That way they can at least see what you are seeing.

As regards maps, I find the biggest factor is the number of ‘things’ on it notes/containers/agents/adornments plus the amount of (visible) links that connect them. It also goes without saying that the more visual effects you turn on (fills, patterns, badges, flags, container plots, adornment grids, displayed content in notes, etc…) the more work each screen re-draw has to do.

Bottom line, I don’t believe there is a generic performance issue in v7.5.4 that affects all users. So, its a matter of tracking down your problem. Such things are hard for the forum to do, thus the advice to contact support. :grinning:


(Kay Krämer) #6

I think, I won’t contact the support, because I have got a little bit of a feeling right now, what works and what doesn’t. Perhaps my expectations were a little bit wrong, when I read something like:“TB holds easily thousands of notes…” . But NOT in one Map and especially NOT with a lot of other stuff like adornments, badges and so on. So either I use a map more for brainstorming and making it not so nice, or I make it nice and deal with the higher processor load.

Thanks again for your help :+1:


(Mark Anderson) #7

Indeed, I find maps become unwieldy when large. It’s hard to say a what number of notes that might be as it depends on the host Mac’s spec, screen size/res as well as the complexity of the maps content.

By contrast, I work with a number of TBXs with 5k-10k notes (and one with almost 50k notes). I generally use Outline to work the data and use other views on parts of the outline to avoid overloading the view. A tip in that regard is to set the scope in a new outline tab - e.g. by hoisting a container - before switching the tab to another view.

When working with 000s of notes, rather than 0s or 00s, then it pays to start thinking about the impact of rules and agents and making more use of edicts, stamps, and AgentPriority. The Tinderbox Inspector’s Agents & Rules tab is a friend in this sort of context.

Now back to the 1000+ item Attribute Browser view Iink in which I’m currently working…


(Paul Walters) #8

As a long-time user of all versions, I can suggest that the issues that you listed resulting in bad performance is not normal for Tinderbox. Not normal at all. Adornments should not cause slowdowns. Something else is going on.

One should always contact support, especially if you have definitely experienced abnormal performance. You paid a substantial chunk of change so get your money’s worth. Contact support@eastgate.com. The forum (any forum) is never the place to resolve computer performance issues. All forums can do is report “me too” or “not me too”, which isn’t helpful to anyone :smile:


(Mark Anderson) #9

Plus, it’s worth adding that Eastgate will be reading/replying to support issues before looking at these forums. It’s worth repeating, because some assume otherwise, that whilst hosted by Eastgate —who do turn up here from time to time, this forum isn’t Tinderbox’s ‘tech support’ but a (hopefully supportive user-to-user forum. Disclaimer: as well as a long-term user, I am also the forum’s volunteer admin/moderator (I don’t work for/get paid by Eastgate). So, if anyone suggest’s contacting support, the intent is genuine and not people being unhelpful.


(Kay Krämer) #10

I will re-think it :thinking:


(James Fallows) #11

This is my experience too, fwiw.


(eastgate) #12

I think that CPU load figures from Activity Monitor are not necessarily a good guide to performance.

First, remember that “100%” represents approximately 100% use of one core of your machine — and almost all of you have four or eight of those. One design aspiration of Tinderbox is to use the power your machine has, not to leave it lying around idle.

You’re right, though, is suspecting that maps with hundreds of notes will suffer some performance penalty when repositioning notes. One of the big changes in Tinderbox 7.5, in fact, was a significant performance boost when dragging items in complex maps. Still, there’s a lot going on when you move items.

I don’t think badges are likely to cause any observable performance issue at all.

I can imagine three ways that adornments might cause performance issues. If your Mac were very old, I suppose that the GPU might not be up to compositing lots of adornments. I don’t think any Mac that could run Tinderbox today would have that problem. Second, there might be some unforeseen issue in the map guides that’s causing trouble; the guides treat adornments specially, and you may be doing something that others haven’t tried. Third, I suppose that smart adornments could create more computational load, though I don’t really see the mechanism.

Finally, one guiding design principle for Tinderbox does contradict contemporary practice. We place a higher priority on getting complex work done than on surface aesthetics and experience; if we need to choose between frame rate and doing some useful computation, we’ll do the computation. When it’s a question between looking good and doing work, we’ll do the work. Still, when things get too ugly or too slow, we’re amenable to picking things up now and then.


(Kay Krämer) #13

Ok, here are some little videos, so you can judge for yourself. I am not sure, but I think, it’s lagging. Or I am too fussy. From the TB1 to TB3 I am always taking away a bit. TB 4 is a fresh tbx with only 3 cards with nothing more in it. I move the map around, drag a card around and shrink and magnify a bit. Here are the links:

TB1
TB2
TB3
TB4

I think, especially the TB3 is interesting, as there are no adornments, links etc and only 52 notes left. Nevertheless it’s lagging. Btw, the videos were taken at 60 FPS.


(James Fallows) #14

I know people’s tastes and expectations differ.

But speaking honestly, these don’t look very draggy to me. Except for 4, they’re somewhat complicated maps, and you’re making big, sudden moves with them. I, personally, wouldn’t find what you show here an issue. As I say, people’s tastes differ. (Thanks for showing what the performance is like.)


(Kay Krämer) #15

That’s why I posted these videos… to get a feedback of other TB users, if this is rather normal or not.


(Jeremy Wagstaff) #16

I have been having similar problems. No huge load on agents, and the same file worked fine in earlier versions. I have downgraded to 7.3.1 and no longer have the problem.


(Mark Anderson) #17

Please contact support with copy of (or link to if large) a TBX showing the problem.


(Kay Krämer) #18

Does anyone have an older version of TB for testing?


(Paul Walters) #19

If you need a copy of Tinderbox, any version, you need to contact Eastgate directly. No user here has the rights to distribute software owned by Eastgate. This is a how-to forum – tech support is best handled directly with support@eastgate.com. Good luck.


(Michael P. Manti) #20

He may have been looking for someone willing and able to test his document with an older version of Tinderbox. I would not assume that he was looking to be provided with an older version by someone else.