Screenshot-sharing performance comparison

13 November 2015   10 comments   Web development, MacOSX

One tool that I use many times per day, at work, is to take a screenshot on my mac and then that gets uploaded to the clouds and a permalink to that picture gets put in my clipboard so I can quickly and easily share it.

First I was using CloudApp, which was awesome. I can't remember how much I paid but they started being very unreliable. Sometimes the upload just failed. Sometimes viewing the image failed. It was mostly working but unreliable enough that I just couldn't cope.

So I switched to Dropbox and they have been very reliable. I can't remember how much I pay them but the primary use for paying them is that they back up a folder on the hard drive and make it easy to share other files in a nice way.

But when I take a screenshot, and share that link, that page, that shows the screenshot, is horribly slow. It's just supposed to show an image! It's not supposed to load so slowly that it makes my browser tremble. Shame on you Dropbox!

So lastly, people have been saying great things about Jumpshare. It's free!! Their "plus upgrade", for $9.99/month gives you more options, more storage (1TB), possible password protection, custom branding, custom domain and analytics. That's nice but I'm not desperate so I might upgrade later.

Samples

But let's look at the difference in how these three perform in showing an image:

  1. Dropbox sample

  2. CloudApp sample

  3. Jumpshare sample

By the way, I'm sorry about the motif in the pictures but I encourage you to open each of these and notice that they all look different. I don't know if that's because those sites (CloudApp and Jumpshare) apply some CSS filters a la Instagram but they look different. Here's the original. That might be topic enough for a whole new blog post. But that's for another time.

Webpagetest.org

First let's load these on Webpagetest.org:

  1. Dropbox

  2. CloudApp

  3. Jumpshare

Last but not least; a visual comparison of all three on Firefox, DSL from San Jose, CA, USA. Here's the video comparison.

Devtools

Here using the pure browser Firefox Devtools to measure the network requests needed:

  1. Dropbox
    Dropbox

  2. CloudApp
    CloudApp

  3. Jumpshare
    Jumpshare

Things to note about these:

In numbers

Metric Dropbox CloudApp Jumpshare
Length of URL 85 17 44
HTTPS Yes No Yes
Fully loaded (time) 21.216s 12.420s 13.839s
Fully loaded (bytes) 2,747 KB 1,772 KB 1,910 KB
Fully loaded (requests) 198 90 44
Speed Index 13065 8707 8685
Upgrade price (per month) $9.99 $8.25 $9.99

The winner?

As you can see, CloudApp loads marginally faster than Jumpshare (and Dropbox trails long long after). Also, CloudApp wins more rows in the "In numbers" section above. But lack of HTTPS I kinda sad.

But remember, the reason I ditched CloudApp was because it was unreliable to the point of serious frustration. They might win todays performance comparsion but I dare not go back. This new contender, Jumpshare, looks and feels great. The OSX app worked wonderfully and was really easy peasy to set up. Now I have a cute little kanguru in the OSX toolbar.

So, I think I'll stick with Jumpshare.com for now. I can't tell how much storage they give you for free but...

My money

So you get more features and more storage if you pay $X per month? What I really would pay for is a much faster web page. I know it would be possible. The image you view is 1,074.4KB and all you actually only need is a little bit of HTML around it and maybe some really basic CSS. It should be possible entirely without any JavaScripts. That, I would happily pay for.

UPDATE

On closer inspection, it seems Jumpshare's CSS is NOT 636.18KB. The requests analyzer in the Firefox Devtools most likely have a bug.

Comments

Charl P. Botha
Super interesting, thanks for doing this comparison!

It's a shame that the dropbox screenshot-sharing page has to be so bloated.
Charl P. Botha
(BTW, I've submitted this post to https://news.ycombinator.com/newest -- let's see how it goes.)
Peter Bengtsson
Thanks. I think it's too late though :)
Chris
Little confused. Are you saying it takes you 21 seconds to load that page on Dropbox on your computer and 12 seconds to load CloudApp on your machine? If so, that is definetly an issue particular to your machine. All three pages loaded instantly on my machine.

Also CloudApp does not use Flash. I don't have Flash installed and page loads instantly. Also you mention the css speed for Dropbox and Jumpshare, but then when you get to CloudApp you just say its better but for some reason don't list the css file size.

All in all, the issue appears to be with your internet connection, so upgrading to the premium version will not help. To note, I've used all three but use CloudApp most of the time for screensharing. Haven't ever ran into any reliability issues so that could also be an issue with your internet timing out otherwise you should reach out to CloudApp as that is not normal behaviour. Dropbox is also equally reliable but the process is slower not because of load times but because its not built to be a screen shot sharing program like CloudApp is.
Peter Bengtsson
The load times on webpagetest.org depends on the internet connection setting you choose. I chose DSL 1.5Mbps. Why it loads Flash might depend on JavaScript.
Chris
It sounds like you found the issue then, which is they you set the test to 1.5Mbps which is only a small step above Dial-Up. Hard to imagine any modern website loading in a reasonable time at that speed other than of course Google's homepage. The average speed in the US is 11.5, but imagine people using Dropbox/CloudApp (a more technical demographic) would be far above that 11.5 average. Even a full Starbucks free wifi averages at least 30mbps. The lowest I've seen was 4mbps which was when I was on wifi in a cafe in Bangkok, Thailand. Comcast the largest ISP in the US for instance lowest current bundled internet package starts at 25MBps (but believe they may still have their base starter 10mbps internet only package still in some markets).
Adrian Salgado
I used Dropbox too, but found imgur cli sharing service and is great, plus, it only loads your image. You should try it if you can use a command line ;) http://imgur.com/tools, i
Daniel
Good post. The speed of that Dropbox page has always bugged me. Plus the video streaming is such low quality there's no point using it.

The page load speed of Hangouts is not much better too..

Jumpshare looks good, but I'm already heavily invested in Dropbox. So I would rather keep my screenshots there for future rather than in another new system.

How hard would it be to convert the Dropbox link to something like Imgur CLI?
Anonymous
Dropbox is including in my daily routine work. I need to upload many Excel File at Dropbox on Daily,Weekly and Monthly Bases. When I try to find my previous file with exact name it did not give me exact file but gave some other files too.
I think Before new changes at dropbox this search works correctly .
Anonymous
The Problem with JumpShare is that, We cannot upload the File automatically through any Automated Software. like we are uploading our all files at Dropbox through Pentaho Automatically.

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