One Large Program vs. Several Small Programs

Question:
We have 4 good size programs, and we are considering consolidated theminto 1 single program. Combined, these 4 programs would have about 60 forms and a total of 500 controls. According the the VB3 specs, it can handle 230 forms, of which 80 can be loaded at once. It also permits about 600 controls. However it mentions that performance may degrade as the numberof controls increases. Are we better off with 4 individual programs or with one consolidated program? How much of a performance hit do we see as we increase the number of controls in a program?

Answer:
The question here is how often is more than one program used simultaneously. If you’re using two or three of the programs at the same time, that’s a good argument for combining them. However, if you only are using one at a time, it doesn’t make sense to combine them. The alternative is to keep them separate, and build a toolbar or launcher application that would make it easier to get to all four programs. As far as the performance loss, it’s hard to say exactly, but there will be a slowdown as it has to load more and more controls and forms. However, this also depends on the number of forms that are loaded (visible) at one time. You could have some huge forms in your app and never run into a memory problem if you manage them correctly and efficiently. The other thing you may have to deal with, depending on your situation, is how big the program is to install. If you’re writing a shrink-wrapped app, you have to think about those issues. If it is an internal app that can be installed from a corporate network, it doesn’t matter as much. However, a larger app inherently takes longer to load than a smaller one.

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