The Web Performance area is improving and has some awesome stuff to explore, but at the end of 2020, not all of our sites will be fast. Many tech people talk about 5G and HTTP/3, but there are much more frameworks, tools and languages to explore. As always in web performance, you can not click the "deliver fast website" checkbox. You need to dig into the topics and before you start measure!
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In this article, you read about Web Performance trends and hot topics in 2020 and probably 2021. To anticipate that, 5G and HTTP/3 won't be the superheroes when it comes to speed.
- Web Monetisation
- Adaptive Loading
- Edge Compute
5G ist fast. Carriers predict it should improve the network speed dramatically, somewhere between 100 Mb and 1 Gb per second. Okay, let's wait for a moment and think about that. 1 Gigabyte! That is 1000 Mb, 1000000 Kb, 1000000000 B and for those who still need a pictorial representation you could download a lot of movies in no time.
Bandwidth & Latency will improve so that the first connection time might be somewhere at zero. That's it 5G is the solution for our performance problems.
5G is in 2020 is probably still limited to IoT apps with extensive data usage, and this won't change the next years. "5G isn’t expected to reach even 20% of subscribers by 2025".
5G requires significant infrastructure changes. These might be done quite fast in some countries, but most of the world will still be connected with 4G, 3G or even 2G. We should not forget about them.
HTTP/3 is the new official version of the hypertext transfer protocol. HTTP/3 does not rely on TCP and therefore, needs fewer handshakes to establish a secure connection.
"It is more efficient, uses fewer resources (system and network), requires encryption (SSL certificates are mandatory), and uses UDP". But it is not yet widely supported. Unlikely that HTTP/3 is our awesome "deliver fast website" checkbox.
WebAssembly is an exciting topic! If you search for it on the internet, you will find the following definition:
WebAssembly (abbreviated Wasm) is a binary instruction format for a stack-based virtual machine. Wasm is designed as a portable compilation target for programming languages, enabling deployment on the web for client and server applications.
The number of sites generated by a static site generator like the ones above will rise this year from bloggers to small companies without intricate client site work. This might also change as serverless deployment to Netlify and Vercel is growing. This won't be limited to developers where we host our development previews.
If you like to read more about Svelte I wrote two blogposts about: "Why you should try Svelt" and How to use events in Svelte".
Web Monetisation is a concept of streaming payments from the user agent to the website owner. If you like to monetise your blog using the Web Monetisation API you just need to include a
meta tag in your
head, and that's it. The good part, it is open, secure, native and can not be abused by corrupt business models.
For us web performance consultant, this means we do not need to include third-party payment scripts to our site. It opens up new business cases to monetise through the Payment Request API or the Web Monetization API. This might not make a significant effect in 2020, but there is an upward trend.
I like that one because it is easy to implement. Adaptive Loading is not new on the pitch, but yet not widely used. In 2020 this will rise in usage.
Adaptive Loading can become one of the hot candidates for our excellent "deliver fast website" checkbox. It is a pattern where our websites respond to the user depending on the actual device hardware.
You can access Network, Memory and CPU core count and deliver the best possible page or component for that device. Often the component you provide to high-end devices can be reduced quickly to its minimum without any beautiful animations or background colours.
Adaptive Loading has a range of use-cases:
- Serving low-quality images or video on slow networks or if the user has low memory.
- Throttle the frame-rate on low-end devices
- Serve uncritical resources only on high-end devices
- Block third-party scripts
- Adaptive Prefetching or Adaptive Delivery with Client Hints.
The user should always get notified if we serve s reduced version of the website because of his network connection or CPU status.
Edge Computing refers to the computation that takes place at the "Edge of the Internet". It executes typically close to the data source, on CDN level. All major CDNs have implemented their version of edge development (Akamie EdgeWorkers, AWS Lambda, Cloudflare Workers, Fastly's edge computing platform).
There are many reasons why you could implement at the edge, but the most interesting for us are Privacy, Speed, Reliability.
We don't need to send all personal information to the cloud server.
We can respond to the users nearly in real-time as we are very close to them.
We remove a single point of failure because the system is capable even without a connection to the server.
Recently Google announced lighthouse V6 and the Web Vitals Core metrics. They are a subset of performance metrics that should make it easier to check the health of your website. They aim to get closer to user experience measures.
If you like to read more about the Web Vitals I wrote two blogposts about: "Introducing the Core Web Vitals for a healthy website".
In this post, I tried to write down the Web Performance trends of 2020.
- Six Web Performance Technologies to Watch in 2020
- 5G Will Definitely Make the Web Slower, Maybe
- A Beginner’s Guide to Edge Computing
- You Need to Move from Cloud Computing to Edge Computing Now!
- Adaptive Loading - Improving web performance on low-end devices
- Adaptive Loading - Improving web performance on slow devices (Chrome Dev Summit 2019)