Many of us (rather all folks in SharePoint developmentJ) encounter SharePoint Designer(SPD) slowness irrespective of the environment they are working on.
SharePoint designer is a great free tool (SHAREPOINT DESIGNER 2007 IS NOW FREE!) to work with SharePoint Pages. It provides a great amount of features you can use to build/edit SharePoint sites in IT-managed environment. You don’t need to be dependent on deployment team for accessing servers and deployment of web parts. You can use the great unsung hero Data View Web Part and also Silverlight Web Parts (will publish details in next blogs) to do almost anything without any involvement of deploying any component on the servers.
But when you open SharePoint Designer in your computer and start using these features, the painful slowness of this tool makes you frustrated and you wonder on its usability. You start blaming Microsoft for this tool. Well, Microsoft is too big to answer this to anyone. So instead of pondering, you can adhere following practices to make your life easier.
1. Load the page in code view. It takes a little less resources and loads faster. Once code view is loaded completely, then you can switch to design/split view if need be. But then try to stay in code view whenever possible.
2. Open only necessary windows/applications on your computer. Close the mail client (a little harsh) if possible. The idea is to free up more CPU time and memory for SPDESIGN.exe (SharePoint Designer process EXE). Don’t click randomly and confuse SPD with barrage of SOAP requests. Click once and wait for it to respond. It is like browsing internet or watching streamed video over slow network. Free stuff comes with some patience. J
3. Restart SharePoint Designer often. This will avoid ‘out of memory’ issue. Save your work and close all designer windows before you head out for lunch.
4. A RAM higher than 3 GB is preferable. I have computers in the same network. One with 2 GB while other is 4 GB. And, I can feel the difference in SPD performance.
5. Work off SharePoint Designer if possible. Export the page to your hard disk (File menu – Export – File). Open the files saved in your hard disk with SharePoint designer, make updates and then override the page using browser or SharePoint Designer. Although, you may not be able to leverage features of SharePoint Designers, this trick comes quite handy when SharePoint Designer gets hanged every time you try to open the page in SharePoint Designer.
6. When working with large list on DVWP, check the checkbox under ‘Common Task Pane’ which says ‘Show with sample data”. This loads just 5 sample items instead of complete data from data source. Also, make sure you have unchecked ‘Show data values’ at the bottom of Data Sources pane.
7. Make sure you don’t have any closed web parts on the page. Even if you close the web parts on the page, it renders in SharePoint Designer when you load that page and contributes to more delays. Make sure, you go to Web Part maintenance page ([site page url]?contents=1 in the browser) and delete them.
8. The efficient way to work with Data View Web Parts (DVWP) would be one DVWP on one page during development. For example consider the scenario where you are working on DVWP ‘A’ which should finally reside on a page where there are other DVWPs already present. Don’t edit that particular page and work on DVWP ‘A’. Create a new blank web part page and complete developing the DVWP ‘A’ there. Once that is complete, export that web part using browser and import it on the final page. You can then delete DVWP ‘A’ from your development page and use that page for some other DVWP development (instead of creating another page).
9. Turn off ‘Style Application’ or any toolbar which you are currently not using. You can turn it on when you need them. Go to View menu à Toolbars and uncheck any toolbar option which you are not using. Uncheck ‘Quick Tag Selector’ under View menu. I normally even turn off the folder list pane. I keep just the code view pane open when I am working on master page and page layouts. While working with Data View Web Parts, I just keep Code view (or Split view when necessary) and Data Sources panes open.