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article: 2020+ web performance

jimmont profile image Jim Montgomery ・1 min read

Interesting and at times hilarious article on web performance.

We rendered a million web pages to find out what makes the web slow

» Yes, good old jQuery is at the top. JQuery was first released in 2006, which is 14 years ago in human years, but much longer in JavaScript years. Measured in Angular versions, it is probably hundreds of versions ago. 2006 was a different time. The most used browser was called Internet Explorer 6, the largest social network was MySpace, and rounded corners in web pages were such a revolution that people called it web 2.0. JQuery’s primary use case was cross-browser compatibility, which is a different beast in 2020 than it was in 2006. Still, 14 years later, a full half of the web pages in our sample loaded jQuery.
Funnily enough, 2.2% of the websites threw an error because JQuery was not loaded.
Judging by this top 10, our browsers are mostly running analytics, ads, and code to be compatible with old browsers. Somehow 8% of web sites define a setImmediate/clearImmediate polyfill for a feature that isn’t on track to be implemented by any browser. «

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Jim Montgomery Author

For those interested the article shows a propensity for web properties becoming largely a legacy of obsolete solutions. This has been a growing trend since the advent of React and jQuery where these libraries, and others like them, largely duplicate native features. For example why JSX still exists is entirely beyond me, when templates and tagged templates are available--making this technology irrelevant. When awareness of other technologies like shadow DOM starts to enter the picture and we see those in this field of work solving problems in React (et al) like scoping CSS that generally don't exist anymore it seems quite a gap between 2013 and 2021. The article is interesting because it shows how dramatic this gap becomes over time, and I'm looking at it from the perspective of new articles being published today where people invest time and effort as though it's still 2013. From my perspective this is pretty weird.