I created the Web Almanac. Ask me anything about the state of the web!

Rick Viscomi on November 24, 2019

Hi everyone! I'm doing my first AMA to get people thinking about the state of the web. My day job for the past ~2 years has been web developer rel... [Read Full]
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Are there any plans to add a cookie section? This would be interesting in terms of the upcoming IETF same site proposal, also this section could cover the (nonsensical) cookie banners or stats how many (and what type of) cookies the average page uses. I would be fun to know how many sites do require cookie consent, but do set cookies even before that consent is granted :)

Also are there plans to add more instances especially in terms of geographically distributed in regards of all performance sections?

Out of interest: How many parallel instances do you run now and how long does it take the complete scan process to finish for all pages in the index?


Great questions!

We're still very early in our 2020 planning but a Cookies chapter would make a lot of sense. You're right that there's a lot of interesting data to explore in that space. Detecting cookie banners is an interesting challenge as that depends on an understanding of what the page is trying to convey visually, as opposed to measuring quantitative things.

If you're referring to geographic distribution in the Performance chapter, that data is sourced entirely from the Chrome UX Report, which is collected from real-world user experiences. Otherwise instance location won't have much of an effect on the results. Although it is true that some websites redirect to localized versions depending on ip-geo, but it's a tradeoff.

We're running ~hundreds of WebPageTest instances and scale that up depending on the number of input websites so that we can complete in under 30 days, as the tests are monthly.

Thanks for your questions!


Thanks for your answers Rick and yes, I was referring to geographically distributed instances of the scan processes, not only because of different language/country specific redirects, but mostly due to measuring load performance.

For more context, the HTTP Archive dataset is useful for understanding how websites are built. In that regard, where the client machine is located won't have much of an effect, notwithstanding the redirect exception we discussed. The Chrome UX Report dataset is useful for understanding how websites are experienced. So for experiential metrics like loading performance, the geographic location of the HTTP Archive's test agents won't be relevant because they're accounted for in the other dataset.

Hmmm, not sure I fully understand. Afaik you also use instances running on Google Cloud, requests from these will surely see a way more speedy response for pages (and/or resources/assets) also hosted on the same Google network/cloud so therefore the instance location compared to sites running on complete different networks/continents? Surely this only would be milliseconds for the TTFB stats, but taking external/CDN request and other assets into account these differences might be relevant (even though certainly not the main subject/purpose of the Almanac though).

It's the difference between lab and field data. All loading performance metrics (TTFB, FCP, etc) discussed in the Almanac come from the Chrome UX Report in the field. So the physical location of the HTTP Archive lab instances is irrelevant.

Ah, gotcha! Thanks for the clarification


I am voraciously consuming anything and everything re third-party and first cookies, so please, anything that you can write would I believe be of interest to many, many,many (did I say many?) website developers/owners/marketers. Thanks. Let them know of your articles and yes, they will come.


I was told that jQuery stat a few days ago but they didn't have a reference to back it up! I thought it was a total garbage number! Now it makes so much sense.. It makes me ponder on web "death" and how much I appreciate volatile memory.. Thanks for the fun trivia on the state of the web! 🤗


This is just amazing piece of information.. Thank you for your work on this!!


How often do Google change their search algorithms, if they do at all. Because it's a constant battle for Web Devs to make sure that their websites work with Google and the algorithms they use.


Do you have any information about how many users / visitors have javascript disabled?
Just curious about it 😅


We don't. The Chrome UX Report dataset is currently limited to performance metrics like paint/load/interactivity times.


Those are some incredibly interesting facts, for instance good ol' jQuery still being used on a whopping 85% of web pages ...


Spotted a few issues affecting the data in the Fonts section, collected them here: discuss.httparchive.org/t/chapter-...

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