Dorico speed and "spinning ball"

I struggle - as so many times before - a bit with the time Dorico needs to change from ex. Write to Engrave.
I think that Dorico after some hours simply slows down, I could be imagining!
But to try to speed up my workflow on this project - 27 instruments - 28 flows, score = 489 pages - I want to ask your opinion about this:
When I change from Write to Engrave I first get the spinning ball for about 8 sec. AND then I’ll get “the watch” for about 8 sec - I’m on Mac.
Does the change in icons means something?

Presumably you are in galley view in Write mode? Otherwise I would not expect the change in mode to take so long. You might try experimenting with two open project windows, one in Write mode and the other in Engrave mode, and switching between them via Command-~ rather than switching modes in a single window. Other operations might take marginally longer, though.

One of the developers would be able to say for certain the significance of the changes in the cursor, but I believe you get the macOS pinwheel when the main thread is locked by a long operation, and you get the busy pointer when the main thread is not locked, but a long operation is still in progress.

Feature request: Regarding the “watch” or “clock” icon Dorico uses when processing a change - not the “Mac spinning beachball of death”: could an update eventually have a progress bar at the bottom or top of screen? Sometimes I don’t know if I’ll get this processing icon for 3 seconds or 3 minutes.

The Mac Spinning Beachball is part of the OS, and means that the foreground process has stopped responding to events.

I see near instant switching from Write to Engrave in Page View; In Galley View in my biggest projects, I get the beachball for less than a second, with about the same before it’s ready. However, my music is ‘notationally simple’.

The trouble with progress bars is that
a) they can be notoriously inaccurate == “5 seconds… 4 hours… 25 mins… 3 seconds”.
b) When the task is very short, showing a progress bar and polling the task can be as much work as the task itself, thus doubling the computer’s work (or slowing down the job). So when and how do you decide not to show the bar?

Yes the speed is fine when going from Write mode (Page View) to Engrave. Almost instantly.
But it seems that the shift: Page View to Galley View = 16 sec. is the most problematic.
I will try to use the two window set-up suggestion.
Do you think these speed issues will be fixed in the forthcoming updates?

Certainly we are always looking at ways to improve the performance of the application, and we have a lot of plans and ideas for specific things we can do in a variety of areas, but fundamentally switching from galley view to page view in a large layout is very computationally expensive, so it is not realistic to expect that we can make it instantaneous. Performance is certainly a feature, but we also have to prioritise work on expanding the functionality of the software as well as improving its performance, so this is a balancing act.

I know!

I must admit I was a bit frustrated this morning when I tried launching Dorico for the first time after a restart of my work computer (older and spinning hard drive… but I’m at the mercy of a church so no surprise). It quite literally took over 2 minutes for Dorico to initialize to the splash screen. Often it takes 30 seconds or so, but this seemed excessive. I largely blame the computer, but I do hope that initialization times will be improved in V3.

It would be interesting to see the diagnostics from your computer (choose Help > Create Diagnostic Report) so we can see which part of the start-up process is taking all the time.

I have off today but I will try and get that diagnostic file for you tomorrow.

I forgot to post this sooner but this is pretty typical. At least 30 seconds, sometimes a whole minute or two.
Dorico (607 KB)

There is certainly some variance in the start-up time on your computer. Some of it looks to be caused by Dorico taking longer to get through the early part of the initialisation, around the time that it loads the various localisation files (all of the strings etc. for Dorico in different languages), and some of it looks to be caused by whether or not the NuForce µDAC 2 audio interface is found on start-up: if that’s connected, it seems to take longer for the audio engine to initialise. I believe I’m right in saying that you use the USB-eLicenser, and I wonder whether that could be a factor. It might be interesting to try using the Soft-eLicenser with a trial activation code and disconnecting your USB-eLicenser to see if that makes start-up any quicker. It’s possible that the audio engine might even initialise more quickly using the Soft-eLicenser as well.

You’re definitely right about the audio-engine being the slowest bit to initialize. Whenever I stare at the screen that is always the part that pops up after a very long pause. As for the NuForce, interestingly it is plugged directly into my Mac mini. Lastly, regarding the usb licenser, you are also correct that that has caused problems. Especially 1 or 2 builds ago when the advice was to leave the elicenser control center open. If I didn’t have it open I couldn’t get Dorico to open at all. The most recent build seemed to allay this problem but it didn’t occur to me that some of the underlying issues might also be slowing the process down.

As usual, thank you for looking into this (and with lightning speed I might add).

I’ve had a look though a number of those log files and every one I saw had a load time of between 1 minute and around 1’10. If this is a machine with a hard drive then that’s not unexpected - Dorico does need a lot of resources at startup, and the audio engine has to ensure that it’s databases are up to date when it starts

Paul, I’m afraid that must be the cause of the problem then. I’m at the mercy of a church, so, (I’m sure this will be no surprise to you whatsoever) I’m running a 5+yo minimally specced (apart from ram) Mac mini with a slow 5400 RPM drive. Sigh. Maybe I’ll see if we can update the machine to an SSD. Startup times on my machine at home seem to be much better.

SSD prices have come down so much that you can revitalise an old machine and make it usable again for the price of a couple of hours of your time (which would pay for itself in productivity very quickly). I put one in an old laptop of my parents and boot time went from several minutes to 10 seconds. Currently a 240gb SSD retails for under £30.