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Blank page "flash" between page loads. Or how to keep displaying page elements between page loads.

Posted on 2007-03-21
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Last Modified: 2013-11-19
Please look at this page and navigate through any couple of pages: http://www.buysellboats.com.au

Can you notice the "flashes" between each page load?

If not, please look at this page: http://www.boats.com and click on "Boats For Sale" and "Sell a Boat"

Now, can you notice how the menu stays between the page loads and that no "flash" of blank page is shown? I've seen that the next page is not shown until some of the content has been downloaded and the rest is rendererd progressively. The flash appears when you click on "Boat Loans", though.

I know plenty of other sites where this "flash" does not happen, ASP, HTML, PHP.

I've compared the HTML structure, image caching, download sizes, everything and can't find how to do it. I mimicked every difference I was aware of with no result. And I'm lost. I don't even know if this is a server issue, an ASP issue or what. For those who know ASP.NET I even turned off the OutputBuffer.

The question is: How can I make my page work like the one in the second example, retaining at least the header an menu which is consistent between some of the pages?

Thank you very much
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Question by:raindog_mx
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13 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:KarinLoos
ID: 18768089
Investigate using asp.net AJAX . Look on www.aps.net on the tab AJAX , This is the technology that is used to provide partial postbacks wchich resolves the "flash" issues. AJAX RC1.0 has officially been release in january of this year and is now supported by microsoft.
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by:KarinLoos
ID: 18768092
oops typo  www.asp.net
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by:rdivilbiss
ID: 18768132
The com site is smaller and is using gzip content-encoding to speed the page load.

Date: Wed, 21 Mar 2007 23:14:14 GMT
Server: Apache
Vary: *
P3P: policyref="/w3c/p3p.xml", CP="CAO DSP COR CURa ADMa DEVa TAIa PSDa CONi OUR BUS IND ONL UNI PUR FIN COM NAV INT STA PRE LOC"
Cache-Control: private
Set-Cookie: boats_session_info=ccn:US; domain=.boats.com; path=/; expires=Thu, 20-Mar-2008 23:14:14 GMT
NAV_ELEMENT=none; domain=.boats.com; path=/; expires=Thu, 20-Mar-2008 23:14:14 GMT
NAV_ELEMENT=none; domain=www.boats.com; path=/; expires=Thu, 01-Dec-1994 16:00:00 GMT
Keep-Alive: timeout=25, max=100
Connection: Keep-Alive
Content-Type: text/html
Content-Encoding: gzip
Content-Length: 11717

200 OK

The AU site shows a comparable content length of only 13,015, but it is 465 kb uncompressed.

Date: Wed, 21 Mar 2007 23:13:54 GMT
Server: Microsoft-IIS/6.0
X-Powered-By: ASP.NET
X-AspNet-Version: 2.0.50727
Cache-Control: private
Content-Type: text/html; charset=utf-8
Content-Length: 13015

200 OK

Your boat pictures are huge, even when you are showing a thumbnail image.

I'd seriously look at reducing the size of images or at least using JPEG compression of at least 20%.

I'm on a pretty fat pipe, but even at that I see the difference.

Use GZIP when you can and reduce the images.

I really don't see how AJAX will help since its for XML/TEXT... if you want to remotely retrieve images, you can just use JavaScript.

http://www.expertsrt.com/articles/Rod/imageAjaxNot.php

Regards,
Rod
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Author Comment

by:raindog_mx
ID: 18768318
Thanks. We are already using AJAX but for small bits of the site. Anyway, the reference site (boats.com) is not using AJAX between page loads. It is very very bad news for search engines too.

I've noticed the GZIP difference and tested it by copying the site to html and tenabled GZIP compression. This also proves that the "flash" is not due to the server processing the page before sending it, I assumed.

Well I tried removing all of the images and the "flash" blank page still shows. I'm even testing locally.

Do you think it has something to do with IIS settings on how it delivers the page content?
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Expert Comment

by:rdivilbiss
ID: 18768382
>>GZIP difference.... good to know that's not an issue.

>>Well I tried removing all of the images and the "flash" blank page still shows. I'm even testing locally.

Really? That is very surprising.

>>Do you think it has something to do with IIS settings on how it delivers the page content?

I have classic ASP and PHP spitting out lightning fast on IIS so I would think its more likely .NET but I'm not sure what to do next, sorry.  While I admire the .NET framework's concept, speed issue caused me to move from ASP to PHP, and I'll be the first one to admit there were probably things about .NET optimization I didn't understand, but I didn't need the baggage.

Sorry,
Rod
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Author Comment

by:raindog_mx
ID: 18768598
Thank you very much Rod,
 I hope to find a solution soon. I'll keep trying your suggestions, though.

Antonio
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Expert Comment

by:rdivilbiss
ID: 18768796
Hey, there are a lot of very expert .NET people here.  I'm just acknowledging my lack of expertise in .NET.

I'm no MS basher, .NET just wasn't for me.  I'll see if I can rustle up some .NET or IIS help.

Rod
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Accepted Solution

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raterus earned 250 total points
ID: 18770725
Whatever it is, it's a javascript related issue.  I disabled javascript and the flashes went away, the pages loaded much faster!
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Assisted Solution

by:slightwv (䄆 Netminder)
slightwv (䄆 Netminder) earned 250 total points
ID: 18773070
I reproduced what raterus mentioned.  Digging a little deaper, check out the onload event for the body tag.  I'm not sure what all it's doing in that function but it is probably the cause of the entire page refresh.

Also, that page has one HUGE ViewState.  That can't help performance.
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Author Comment

by:raindog_mx
ID: 18773968
Thank you both,

You're right about the ViewState I'll se what is happening and test without it.  What the JavaScript does is equalize the height of the columns but the problem was there before I added it. I'll try removing it anyway.
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Expert Comment

by:slightwv (䄆 Netminder)
ID: 18774612
I was just guessing about the onload javascript.  It seemed the likely place to start.  If it isn't there, then it seems to be in the Javascript elsewhere.
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by:cj_1969
ID: 19911933
No comment has been added to this question in more than 21 days, so it is now classified as abandoned.
 
I will leave the following recommendation for this question in the Cleanup Zone:
Split - raterus {18770725} & slightwv {18773070}
 
Any objections should be posted here in the next 4 days. After that time, the question will be closed.
 
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