Mastering Front End Performance: The Beginning.

Are you worried about the performance of the website you’re building? You should be. I am convinced that good looks and content are only half the game of building great things for the web. If a website is unresponsive to user input or takes forever to show up, the UX is ruined.  

 

Why There Is a Problem with Front End Performance.

One reason is that with the spread of broadband internet, we’ve become slackers about taking care of page weight. Because, heck, if the internet is fast enough to download movies, it can sure download some website. One thing less to worry about.

But the diversity of devices that started to enter the web in the past years has not only created a need for responsive GUI designs that serve all screen sizes. Devices with less processing power than modern full-sized computers and potentially very slow internet connections are back in the picture as well.

Additionally, expectations and complexity of websites web applications have increased. More and more desktop applications are ported into the browser. Animation, validation, data binding, user tracking, feature detection, graceful degradation are all terms of art that describe some kind of intelligence that lies – at least partly – in the front end nowadays. It seems paradox that devices with the potentially lowest internet connection have the highest resolution screens and therefore need to be delivered the largest images. And there is virtually no website with a mid-sized set of functionalities anymore that doesn’t incorporate libraries and frameworks which have been designed to simplify front end development. Put some web fonts on top of it all and there you have it.

These are all potential reasons why web projects can turn out reacting way too slow to be the smooth user experience they were intended to be.  
     
 

What You Can Do to Reach the Speed You Need.

To tell you the truth, with the need of learning to master build tools, TDD, Angular, and staying up to date with what’s new in the JavaScript world, I never got around focusing on and testing performance too much. It’s definitely something that I feel is missing in my skill set. I want to change this and I am taking you on the journey with me. I am planning a series of blog posts around the topic.

Each article will investigate potential performance killers and ways to measure and dodge them.

Here is what I have in mind so far:

  • Tools to measure front end performance.
  • Measuring your website performance with Chrome Developer Tools.
  • Using jsperf to speed up your code.
  • 5 JavaScript performance killers and how to dodge them.
  • Non-time-consuming ways to slim down page weight.
  • Dealing with responsive images and slow internet speed.
  • More topics that come up during research.

So what can you do? Follow along if you like. If you want to, you can sign up below to learn about new insights and discoveries right when I publish them. Until my first posts are ready, check out this incredibly intersting and detailed article by Jonathan Sue about how he has measured and increased front end performance of his website.

Drop me a line in the comments if you feel like there is something missing on the list that you’d like to know more about. I will definitely consider looking into it.


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