Technology Tales

Adventures & experiences in contemporary technology

An inappropriate use of JavaScript

3rd July 2007

I have seen a web application that displays thousands of records in a scrollable table (please bear with me, there is a very good reason for this). from the appearance of the table, it would be reasonable to assume that the table is generated by the server and output directly to the screen but this isn’t the case. What actually happens is that the server more or less outputs JavaScript code that is then executed. This takes the form of large arrays that are slotted into the DOM as the contents of the required table by a JavaScript function. With the large amounts of data involved, this means that the browser fully loads the client CPU while the JavaScript processing takes place, something that takes up to a minute to complete. Admittedly, the browser is IE6 but this was all on a PC with a 2.53 GHz Pentium 4 and 512 MB of memory. Getting the server to deliver standards-compliant (X)HTML for what is needed in the first place seems a much, much better approach to me.

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