inessential by Brent Simmons


If your weblog is a Manila site, then I'm reading its print-friendly version. I'm an addict. It's so fast to load, so clean and easy to read.

Maybe it's just me, but I see weblogs as the mammals and big publications as the dinosaurs. The dinosaurs are slow and overgrown. The mammals, smaller and more nimble, eat the dinosaur's eggs.

But some weblogs defy this metaphor with slow-loading, dinosaur-like templates.

My aesthetic -- and I speak only for myself -- is that while a good design is important, it's not nearly as important as the words. Weblogs really do live and die by the words. It's about writing.

So the words should pop to the front. The site should load quickly.

You can still have an attractive and interesting template, of course.

There are now thousands of webloggers. If you want to attract me, it needs to not be painful to go to your site. If I'm on a T1 and I complain about loading times, what about the people on slower lines?

Think Bauhaus, think form-follows-function, think Shaker furniture.

Think small and fast, clever and warm-blooded.

Here's a telegram from John Q. Speedy, a fictional guy who makes a living optimizing website performance.


I'm not the hard-ass he is, so I'll modify that a little bit.

Try to not to use more than one JavaScript include, and make sure it's calling a fast server.

For whatever reason, browsers have a hard time with JavaScript includes. Nothing drags down site performance like pages with multiple includes.

I'm not going to name names (<cough>Jeff Cheney</cough>) -- you know who you are.