Modern Software Experience




Louis Kessler just announced version of Behold. He starts his announcement by noting that he is running out of version numbers, and that a number like is getting a bit ridiculous. I agree wholeheartedly.

All Behold versions so far are labelled Alpha, although a product that is available for public download is a Beta version, even if it is Alpha quality code.

speed claims

Since the previous release, Louis Kessler has been blogging a lot about how much faster the new Unicode-based version is.

In his 2008 Nov 20 post Follow the Yellow Brick Road, he claimed that Behold now reads a 95k INDI GEDCOM of some 25 MB in slightly more than a second and a 48 MB file in slightly more than 2 seconds.

I just emailed Louis and he confirmed that the load time is just part of the total import time, but even if the total import time is three times as much, these are still pretty darn respectable import speeds.

In his 2008 Nov 22 Reaching the Limit post he detailed how he changed the import routine to use less memory when importing large GEDCOM files and that Behold now managed to read Kurin Beeston's Good, Engle, Hanks Family GEDCOM (317 MB) in just 11 seconds.
In his 2008 Nov 24 Success! post he additionally claimed that the 317 MB GEDCOM took up only 900 MB of RAM after import, and his 2008 Nov 27 What the Hash post tells how he reduced the time to count the 1,4M tags in the 95k INDI GEDCOM from two seconds to less than half a second.

In short, the performance of the Unicode version is much better.



I had been eager to see those impressive improvements for myself, so as soon as saw the announcement for the latest Behold release, I eagerly browsed to the download page, installed the latest version and started the clock.

previous version

On my new quad-core Windows Vista system, the previous version (2008-10-07) takes 1m44s (104s) to import the 100k INDI GEDCOM. Once the file has been imported, Behold is using 1.065 MB of RAM. That’s close to 29 times the size of the GEDCOM file, and GEDCOM isn’t an efficient storage format to begin with.
It is also more than a gigabyte, and enough to make Windows show a dialog box to warn that the system is low on memory and that I should close Behold.

Behold: Computer is Low on Memory

latest versions

The freshly downloaded version takes 1m45s (105s) to import the 100k INDI GEDCOM and uses 1.064 MB of RAM. Hm, that is practically identical. The two versions do not look different either.

same old code

After all his blogging about speed improvements, I hoped to download a new version. However, if I had bothered to read the entire announcement of the latest version, I would have known that The new version just released is exactly the same as the old. It was still a Delphi 4 compiled version. It does not have any of the Delphi 2009 niceties in it yet..
Kessler only issued another Behold release because the trial of the previous version is about to expire.

The latest release is still the same old code as the previous release.