Link tags: performance

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CSS { In Real Life } | Cool Tools

I knew of most of these front-end development tools (like Utopia, obviously), but some were new to me.

4 design principles I use every day to avoid bad UX and create products that work for everyone – Adam Silver – designer, London, UK

  1. Good design works for everyone
  2. Good design makes things obvious
  3. Good design puts users in control
  4. Good design is lightweight

The Cost Of JavaScript - 2023 - YouTube

A great talk from Addy on just how damaging client-side JavaScript can be to the user experience …and what you can do about it.

The Cost Of JavaScript - 2023

Jack Franklin – Abstractions, complexities and off-ramps – All Day Hey! 2023 - YouTube

This is a terrific talk by Jack on how to deal with the tooling involved in modern front-end development:

  • Maintaining control,
  • Dependency awareness,
  • Lean on browser primitives,
  • Have an exit strategy.
Jack Franklin – Abstractions, complexities and off-ramps – All Day Hey! 2023

Google AMP: how Google tried to fix the web by taking it over - The Verge

AMP succeeded spectacularly. Then it failed. And to anyone looking for a reason not to trust the biggest company on the internet, AMP’s story contains all the evidence you’ll ever need.

This is a really good oral history of how AMP soured Google’s reputation.

Full disclosure: I’m briefly cited:

“When it suited them, it was open-source,” says Jeremy Keith, a web developer and a former member of AMP’s advisory council. “But whenever there were any questions about direction and control… it was Google’s.”

As an aside, this article contains a perfect description of the company cultures of Facebook, Apple, and Google:

“You meet with a Facebook person and you see in their eyes they’re psychotic,” says one media executive who’s dealt with all the major platforms. “The Apple person kind of listens but then does what it wants to do. The Google person honestly thinks what they’re doing is the best thing.”

Spot. On.

Defaulting on Single Page Applications (SPA)—zachleat.com

This isn’t an opinion piece. This is documentation.

You can’t JavaScript your way out of an excess-JavaScript problem.

How slimmed-down websites can cut their carbon emissions - BBC News

Interesting to see an article on web performance on the BBC. Perhaps we should be emphasising green over speed?

Behind the scenes, animation and interaction effects were added using HTML and CSS, two fundamental web languages. That meant there was no need to download large JavaScript files often used to do this on other sites.

On Container Queries, Responsive Images, and JPEG-XL – Cloud Four

Container queries can’t be used in the sizes attribute for responsive images. Here, Jason breaks down why that is (spoiler: it’s the lookahead pre-parser) and segues into a truly long term solution: a “magical” image format.

If you’ve ever thought it felt weird to put media conditions inside the HTML for responsive images, this will resonate.

Why I’m not the biggest fan of Single Page Applications - Manuel Matuzović

I guess the biggest criticism here is that it feels like people who believe in the superiority of single page applications and the entire ecosystem focus more on developer experience (DX) than user experience. That sounds like a dangerous blanket statement, but after all these years, I never had the feeling that the argument “better DX leads to better UX” was ever true. It’s nothing more than a justification for the immense complexity and potentially significantly worse UX. And even if the core argument isn’t DX, other arguments like scalability, maintainability, competitive ability, easier recruiting (“everyone uses React”), and cost effectiveness, in my experience, only sound good, but rarely hold up to their promises.

Learn Images

Mat has written this free course for you all about images on the web. Covering image formats, responsive images, and workflows, this is one to keep on speed dial.

WebPageTest’s Guiding Principles - WebPageTest Blog

  1. Make the right thing easy
  2. Always answer “so what”?
  3. Close the gap between “something is wrong” to “we fixed it”

Modern Health, frameworks, performance, and harm – Eric Bailey

A person seeking help in a time of crisis does not care about TypeScript, tree shaking, hot module replacement, A/B tests, burndown charts, NPS, OKRs, KPIs, or other startup jargon. Developer experience does not count for shit if the person using the thing they built can’t actually get what they need.

We’re all trying to find the guy who did this

Imagine the web is a storefront, React is a hot dog car, and here’s Create React App dressed as a hot dog:

HTML is the cornerstone of the web — so why does creating a “React app” produce an empty HTML file? Why are we not taking advantage of the most basic feature of the web—the ability to see content quickly before all the interactive code loads? Why do we wait to start loading the data until after all the client-side code has finished loading?

Efficiency over performance

I quite like this change of terminology when it comes to making fast websites. After all, performance can sound like a process of addition, whereas efficiency can be a process of subtraction.

The term ‘performance’ brings to mind exotic super-cars suitable only for impractical demonstrations (or ‘performances’). ‘Efficiency’ brings to mind an electric car (or even better, a bicycle), making effective use of limited resources.

Patrick / articles / Is the developer experience on the Web so terrible?

Over the past 10 years or so, we’ve slowly but very surely transitioned to a state where frameworks are the norm, and I think it’s a problem.

I concur.

Use the frameworks and libraries that make sense for you to deliver the best UX possible. But also learn the web platform from the ground up. Take time to understand how web browsers work and render webpages. Learn HTML, CSS, JavaScript. And keep an eye, if you can, on the new things.

Henry From Online | How To Make a Website

Write meaningful HTML that communicates the structure of your document before any style or additional interactivity has loaded. Write CSS carefully, reason your methodology and stick to it, and feel empowered to skip frameworks. When it comes time to write JavaScript, write not too much, make sure you know what it all does, and above all, make sure the website works without it.

The whole article is great, and really charmingly written, with some golden nuggets embedded within, like:

  • You’ll find that spending more time getting HTML right reveals or even anticipates and evades accessibility issues. It’s just easier to write accessible code if it’s got semantic foundations.
  • In my experience, you will almost always spend more time overriding frameworks or compromising your design to fit the opinions of a framework.
  • Always style from the absolute smallest screen your content will be rendered on first, and use @media (min-width) queries to break to layouts that allow for more real estate as it becomes available.
  • If your site doesn’t work without JavaScript, your site doesn’t work.
  • Always progressively enhance your apps, especially when you’re fucking with something as browser-critical as page routing.

The Performance Inequality Gap, 2023 - Infrequently Noted

It is not an exaggeration to say that modern frontend is so enamoured by post-scarcity fairy tales that it is mortgaging the web’s future for another round of night drinking at the JavaScript party.

Strong—and true—words from Alex.

This isn’t working for users or for businesses that hire developers hopped up Facebook’s latest JavaScript hopium. A correction is due.

I concur.

Frontend’s failure to deliver in today’s mostly-mobile, mostly-Android world is shocking, if only for the durability of the myths that sustain the indefensible. We can’t keep doing this.

If you disagree, I encourage you to dive into the data that Alex shares.

Will Serving Real HTML Content Make A Website Faster? Let’s Experiment! - WebPageTest Blog

Spoiler: the answer to the question in the title is a resounding “hell yeah!”

Scott brings receipts.

CSS { In Real Life } | Web Sustainability and the Ethical Dilemma

But is it always the case that faster websites are greener websites? We reluctantly have to consider another facet: if making a website for a car manufacturer faster leads to an increase in the number of cars sold, can we really say that our website is greener?

This is very timely for me, given that Clearleft is currently engaged on a project that’s making me decidedly queasy for this exact reason—the success metrics of the project would be net negative for the world.

How To Improve Largest Contentful Paint for Faster Load Times - Calibre

A no-nonsense checklist of good performance advice from Karolina.