Idea Activation Performance

With the 4.0 release nearing, I'm growing a bit concerned about one particular aspect of Idea performance. About 60% of the time when Idea is in the background and I bring it to the foreground by either clicking somewhere on its UI or by alt tabbing to it, the application exhibits highly annoying behavior.

Symptom 1) The entire window blinks at least once, sometimes twice. By blinking, I mean it loses and regains focus; almost as if it was displaying an invisible dialog box (like a progress bar) and then closing it. Could it be that the “Updating Modified Files” dialog box that was used in earlier builds wasn't really taken out, but was instead just made invisible? I hope not.

Symptom 2) Idea beeps. This almost always happens when I click on the UI to bring it to the foreground and happens about 50% of the time when I alt-tab to bring it up. If you'd like an example of the beep I'm talking about, do this. Click “File:Open File” from the main menu to open a file chooser dialog box. Now, with that dialog box open, try to click somewhere on the main application window. On Linux, at least, I get an error beep. This further supports the theory from above that an invisible dialog box is being opened when Idea gets brought to the foreground.

Ok, so now you're saying “so what?” The “so what” is that this is a complete flow stopper and goes against all kinds of UI rules. I cannot click on the Idea UI and expect it to respond consistently. Even if it responded in manner I didn't like but at least did so consistently I could learn to live with it. As it is, I never know if a mouse click or a keyboard shortcut is going to return the response that it's supposed to.

I develop web applications which means that I usually don't run my application from inside Idea. I usually run it externally and use the developed app through a browser. This means that I'm going back and forth between Idea and other windows on my desktop a lot. A whole heck of a lot.

Example 1) I have a browser window in the foreground with Idea peeking out from behind. I try to double click an ant task in the idea window. occasionally (and less often with later builds) this works, but more than likely I get a beep and the Idea window blinks a couple of times so I have to wait until I think it's done and try again. If I time it wrong and attempt to click the task again too early it doesn't work and I just get more and more frustrated.

Example 2) I alt tab back to the Idea window from another app and start typing. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn't. When it doesn't, I have to stop my flow and wait for the window to stop blinking and give me focus again while try to figure out what did and didn't make it into the editor window.

To say this is annoying is the understatement of the year

No other app on my desktop behaves in this manner. I can perfectly understand when an app was put in disk swap space and therefore takes a few seconds to load back up. All applications have this problem and that's why I have loaded up my development machine with as much memory as possible, but what's happening here is something different.

By the way, turning off “Synchronize Files on Frame Activation” has no effect. The following Tracker requests and forum threads may be related to the problem:

http://www.intellij.net/forums/thread.jsp?forum=22&thread=60985&message=650532&q=666f637573#650532
http://www.intellij.net/forums/thread.jsp?forum=22&thread=62598&message=656529&q=6265657073#656529
http://www.intellij.net/tracker/idea/viewSCR?publicId=25178
http://www.intellij.net/tracker/idea/viewSCR?publicId=21957
http://www.intellij.net/tracker/idea/viewSCR?publicId=8181

Just to gain some perspective, I loaded up good 'ole 3.04 today and worked on my project there instead of in Aurora, While I desperately missed some of the CVS enhancements, I experienced none of the oddities I bring up here and Idea worked just like any other app on my desktop.

I apologize for the length of this post, but I feel that is a critical issue. The way that this problem keeps me from working in the manner to which I am accustomed has made my eye wander to alternative IDEs for the first time in over 2 1/2 years. I'm not sure I could live without my daily Idea fix, but I may have to find out.

-Matt

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I have similar problems, but more problematic for me is that reactivation seems to, about half the time, take several seconds. During this time, the CPU seems to be fully used, and so my system grids to a halt while IDEA is working. I would love to know if there is a way to turn off or speed up whatever process is happening here.

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On the face of it, it does sound a little petty. However, I actually agree completely with you, and agree especially about the "flow stopper" effect those symptoms that you describe have.

I've seen the exact same behaviour that you're describing, and it is very annoying.

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I get the beeps all the time, but the screen does not repaint.

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Matthew Welch wrote:

Symptom 1) The entire window blinks at least once, sometimes twice.
Symptom 2) Idea beeps. This almost always happens when I click on


Weird. I never get the blinks, and sometimes get the beeps - mostly
when I hit the ctrl-alt-L, ctrl-alt-O (or similar) in quick succession.
What windowmanager are you running? (Just curious - not implying that
it's not very annoying and/or shouldn't be fixed)

CU,
Ediwn

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now I develop some j2me and while I start the ant build, I always show
the emulator and wait to click the reload button (the emulator itselfs
starts in about 30-40 secs, so it's not practical to start it from ant)

and guess what - each time, at the end of the build, IDEA pops up to
brag that the build was successfull! (OTOH it could still be nice if it
popped when the build has failed)

eeerm, perhaps I should file a tracker request...

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dimiter wrote:

now I develop some j2me and while I start the ant build, I always show
the emulator and wait to click the reload button (the emulator itselfs
starts in about 30-40 secs, so it's not practical to start it from ant)

and guess what - each time, at the end of the build, IDEA pops up to
brag that the build was successfull! (OTOH it could still be nice if it
popped when the build has failed)

eeerm, perhaps I should file a tracker request...


This in fact is very annoying. Any process idea is running, even if set
in the background, once it's done it will insist on popping to the
front. Sometimes you can start an ant task which might only take 12
seconds, and while that task goes off, I want to switch to another app
to look at something, by the time I switch IDEA pops right back up to
the front. It's very annoying. Let me do my stuff, and I'll get back
to you.

Point is, idea should NEVER steal focus if it's in the background.

R

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http://www.intellij.net/tracker/viewSCR?threadId=67263

I had filed this a while ago, Alexey is looking into it. Glad to see
I'm not the only one. I'd encourage people to vote for it, but since
he's already on it, I don't know there is much point. However I
encourage everyone to get a thread dump to help him out.

R

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dimiter wrote:

Ok, here is a solution (at least for windows :)

http://www.certificationsuccess.com/index.cfm?pageid=289&siteid=1

You can do the same using TweakUI, and at least there you can undo it ;)

But still, it's obnoxious sometimes

Funny thing is that when debugging and the debugger hits a break point,
when debugging web apps, idea doesn't jump to the front, it just flashes
politely.

The rest of the ide should follow the debugger's model citizen behavior.

R

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Please try it in the build #1117 (when available). It should become much
better.

--
Valentin Kipiatkov
Chief Scientist, Vice President of Product Development
JetBrains, Inc
http://www.jetbrains.com
"Develop with pleasure!"

"Matthew Welch" <no_mail@jetbrains.com> wrote in message
news:14794075.1074708942816.JavaMail.itn@is.intellij.net...

With the 4.0 release nearing, I'm growing a bit concerned about one

particular aspect of Idea performance. About 60% of the time when Idea is
in the background and I bring it to the foreground by either clicking
somewhere on its UI or by alt tabbing to it, the application exhibits highly
annoying behavior.
>

Symptom 1) The entire window blinks at least once, sometimes twice. By

blinking, I mean it loses and regains focus; almost as if it was displaying
an invisible dialog box (like a progress bar) and then closing it. Could it
be that the ?Updating Modified Files? dialog box that was used in earlier
builds wasn't really taken out, but was instead just made invisible? I hope
not.
>

Symptom 2) Idea beeps. This almost always happens when I click on the UI

to bring it to the foreground and happens about 50% of the time when I
alt-tab to bring it up. If you'd like an example of the beep I'm talking
about, do this. Click ?File:Open File? from the main menu to open a file
chooser dialog box. Now, with that dialog box open, try to click somewhere
on the main application window. On Linux, at least, I get an error beep.
This further supports the theory from above that an invisible dialog box is
being opened when Idea gets brought to the foreground.
>

Ok, so now you're saying ?so what?? The ?so what? is that this is a

complete flow stopper and goes against all kinds of UI rules. I cannot click
on the Idea UI and expect it to respond consistently. Even if it responded
in manner I didn't like but at least did so consistently I could learn to
live with it. As it is, I never know if a mouse click or a keyboard shortcut
is going to return the response that it's supposed to.
>

I develop web applications which means that I usually don't run my

application from inside Idea. I usually run it externally and use the
developed app through a browser. This means that I'm going back and forth
between Idea and other windows on my desktop a lot. A whole heck of a lot.
>

Example 1) I have a browser window in the foreground with Idea peeking out

from behind. I try to double click an ant task in the idea window.
occasionally (and less often with later builds) this works, but more than
likely I get a beep and the Idea window blinks a couple of times so I have
to wait until I think it's done and try again. If I time it wrong and
attempt to click the task again too early it doesn't work and I just get
more and more frustrated.
>

Example 2) I alt tab back to the Idea window from another app and start

typing. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn't. When it doesn't, I have
to stop my flow and wait for the window to stop blinking and give me focus
again while try to figure out what did and didn't make it into the editor
window.
>

To say this is annoying is the understatement of the year

>

No other app on my desktop behaves in this manner. I can perfectly

understand when an app was put in disk swap space and therefore takes a few
seconds to load back up. All applications have this problem and that's why I
have loaded up my development machine with as much memory as possible, but
what's happening here is something different.
>

By the way, turning off ?Synchronize Files on Frame Activation? has no

effect. The following Tracker requests and forum threads may be related to
the problem:
>
>
http://www.intellij.net/forums/thread.jsp?forum=22&thread=60985&message=650532&q=666f637573#650532
>
http://www.intellij.net/forums/thread.jsp?forum=22&thread=62598&message=656529&q=6265657073#656529

http://www.intellij.net/tracker/idea/viewSCR?publicId=25178
http://www.intellij.net/tracker/idea/viewSCR?publicId=21957
http://www.intellij.net/tracker/idea/viewSCR?publicId=8181

>

Just to gain some perspective, I loaded up good 'ole 3.04 today and worked

on my project there instead of in Aurora, While I desperately missed some of
the CVS enhancements, I experienced none of the oddities I bring up here and
Idea worked just like any other app on my desktop.
>

I apologize for the length of this post, but I feel that is a critical

issue. The way that this problem keeps me from working in the manner to
which I am accustomed has made my eye wander to alternative IDEs for the
first time in over 2 1/2 years. I'm not sure I could live without my daily
Idea fix, but I may have to find out.
>

-Matt

>
>


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I run Redhat 9 with Gnome. I know there's another layer either under or on top of Gnome (called metacity maybe? I'm no Linux guru) but whatever the case, I'm running the default Redhat 9 loadout. Nothing fancy.

-Matt

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Great! I look forward to it.

-Matt

Please try it in the build #1117 (when available). It
should become much
better.

--
Valentin Kipiatkov
Chief Scientist, Vice President of Product
Development
JetBrains, Inc
http://www.jetbrains.com
"Develop with pleasure!"

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I just downloaded 1117. I'm hesitant to be too optimistic after only a few minutes of experimentation, but I can't seem to recreate the issues I brought up in my initial post. I can't tell you how thrilled I'll be if this remains true.

-Matt


Please try it in the build #1117 (when available). It
should become much
better.

--
Valentin Kipiatkov
Chief Scientist, Vice President of Product
Development
JetBrains, Inc
http://www.jetbrains.com
"Develop with pleasure!"

0

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