You can only go as fast as the slowest component
How to turn a turtle into a rabbit
Improving the rendering speed
After trying a few things we decide that instead of trying to make a big table load faster, we will display a smaller table. So I implemented a paging mechanism. So now the user will only see about 20-30 rows (the size is configurable), just what he can handle anyway, more than that is basically noise and information overload.
Since our application is done with ASP.NET, we use this selector instead of the ID selector because the ID's are generated by .NET dynamically which makes them non-predictable (there's a workaround, but we didn't think we'd need it). It turns out that the class selector is slow, very slow.
There are a few important rules to follow when using jQuery (if there's a lot of jQuery). Basically, it comes to this:
ID selector > tag selector > class selector
Improving the browser
In other news, IE sucks at everything
We showed the client the application in Chrome and they were impressed. Since the client is a huge company with many internal policies, making them switch to another browser is not an easy task and the decision will not be taken lightly. At least they have seen the difference and are considering alternatives for the future (the Chrome Frame plug-in is definitely a contender).
In my opinion, Microsoft should just give up and use WebKit. Everyone except the Internet Explorer team at Microsoft will be happier.