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malevolent design weblog

This blog is now defunct, but you can find more stuff over at my personal site

Dumpy Digg, Flabby Flickr

The whole ‘Web 2.0’ thing seems to have made JavaScript cool again, but some sites are getting a bit toolkit happy.

Take Digg, for example, which loads something like 17 JavaScript files totalling almost 200KB. Now that’d be fine for a complex, highly-interactive application, but someone simply reading the home page will notice few signs of anything fancy. Some things on the left expand if clicked on, and there are scripted Bury Story dropdowns. If you’re logged in you can Digg a story without leaving the page. That’s about it, everything else seems to load another page.

Flickr’s home page doesn’t use any script files, but photo pages load 21 separate bits of JavaScript, which is just crazy. Again, there isn’t a vast amount of interactivity going on, and even on a very fast connection both sites are noticeably slowed by their script gluttony.

Don’t get me wrong, toolkits such as Prototype and the Yahoo! User Interface Library are incredibly useful, and optimisation always has to be cautiously weighed up against developer efficiency, but using dozens of files to add a few simple touches to a site is overkill. At the very least you need to optimise key pages and combine/prune script files to speed things up and cut your bandwidth bill.


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