Web performance optimization's dark side

16 March 2016   0 comments   Web development

See this comment on Yoav Weiss's article on Preload: What Is It Good For?.

Xe (He or she) is being a bit of a jack ass and not respecting the fact that latency is still a big problem and the simple fact that a LOT of people still have slow Internet speeds. Even in the USA (which for the record generally sucks at broadband compared to many other western countries).

But the point being made here is that obsessing over saving milliseconds here and there drains the fun in web development.

I remember back in the days I used to love the web. Development was fun, entertaining, and provided many levels of enjoyment. To some extent it still is today. But it’s getting so obsessive that maybe it’s not me the one who needs counseling.

And...

That’s how it feels with all these obsessive new techniques and tricks. Just to get that page loaded by an extra 6 milliseconds faster.

Can't think of a good defense to these comments. It's not going to stop me from trying to shave milliseconds here and there. Having a fast web app doesn't just make it faster. It makes it "better". When something feels fast, it feels like higher quality. And I think users of fast web apps have a more positive attitude towards features/bugs.

But xe is right. It does zap some of the fun of web development. It used to be about adding content and features. Now it's about this constant "dieting". We wouldn't have this problem if the sites didn't weight 2-3Mb of PNGs, 100Kb CSS and massive font files.

I too feel the blues sometimes especially since a lot of performance improvements are so hard to notice with a human pair of eyes. The point is. Uh. The point is.... Hmm.

The point is; the more advanced we make the web the harder it's going to be to keep up and every time a speed-freak blogs about some millisecond shavings, the beginner developers are going to think "Oh shit! I have to learn that too?!" But then again, pushing the envelope is just so much fun!

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