[notmuch] slowdown with large html heavy threads

Carl Worth cworth at cworth.org
Mon Dec 7 09:53:33 PST 2009

On Sat, 05 Dec 2009 15:10:18 -0800, Alexander Botero-Lowry <alex.boterolowry at gmail.com> wrote:
> Carl mentioned that he saw some nasty performance issues with threads
> that had a lot of HTML messages in them.
> If you are experiencing this problem, would you mind trying some
> alternative mm-text-html-renderer setting:
> http://mh-e.sourceforge.net/manual/html/HTML.html
> Also, if you have elinks, I recommend my custom renderer:
> (require 'mm-view)
> (add-to-list 'mm-text-html-renderer-alist 
>   '(elinks mm-inline-render-with-stdin nil "elinks" "-force-html" "-dump"))
> (setq mm-text-html-renderer 'elinks)

Hi Alex,

I'm sorry, but the delays got in my way so much this morning that I
reverted the patch before even attempting the alternate renderer.

Part of my annoyance may have been due to a distinct bug. There was
definitely one instance where I was seeing a big delay when trying to
display a tiny thread (about 13 messages) none of which were HTML. I
reverted the HTML-rendering patch and saw the delay go away, but I also
put the patch back and didn't see the problem come back.

So that problem might have been form something else. But when I looked
at the patch and saw that it was doing this:

-            (let ((filename (notmuch-show-get-filename)))
-              (with-temp-buffer
-                (insert-file-contents filename nil nil nil t)

for every file, (regardless of it being HTML or not), I was convinced
that there's got to be a better way. Notmuch has already passed the
entire thread through GMime, so we really don't want to do a second pass
of all of the raw message content through an emacs-lisp MIME parser as

Instead, let's find a way to just get the information from GMime to be
cheaply available for emacs to look at (without loading all of the
original files).


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