QuirksBlog monthlies

This is the monthly archive for March 2016.

RAFP: a proposal for performance measurements through requestAnimationFrame

Permalink | in rafp

I would like to propose a way of measuring the current performance of websites in real-world browsers with requestAnimationFrame. The really weird thing is that almost no one seems to have thought of this before.

The approach is very simple and a few tests show it appears to be worthwhile. I mean, it would be seriously cool if we find a reliable method to progressively enhance a site on-the-fly by turning off features if it turns out this specific browser is plagued by bad performance.

The basic idea is very simple: repeat requestAnimationFrame calls during one second, count how many times it’s called, and use the result to draw conclusions on the current performance of your website in your user’s browser. If the FPS (frames per second) rate starts to go down the browser is having more problems with executing your CSS or JavaScript, and it might be advisable to turn off, say, animations, or that one complicated DOM script that rewrites a table all the time.

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Does free make the web cheap?

Permalink | in Web thinking

One more thing about everyone expecting everything on the web to be free: what if that makes web development appear cheap in the eyes of others?

There are very few web tools out there that are for-pay, and everybody expects the latest tool to be free. Also, good advice, browser research, technical tips and tricks, and introductory articles are all for free. It’s possible to become a web developer nearly for free, with your own workstation as the only real cost.

What if that makes people outside the web (say, enterprise Java) believe that web development is not worth much in a technical sense? Something like “if you don’t pay exciting sums of money for this software, how can it be good?”

I’m not saying this is a brilliant argument, but it could be that people actually think like this.

I’m also not saying that this would be a good reason to start paying for web development resources, but it could be one more unintended consequence of the web being free of charge.

Free has a huge upside: it’s free. It also has its drawbacks, and it strikes me we hardly ever think about them.

The web’s original sin

Permalink | in Web thinking

What do a recent A List Apart article, the ad blocker discussion of a few months back, and my browser testing plans have in common?

Free content entitlement, that’s what.

I’m seriously questioning the idea that all content on the web ought to be free. I think it’s an essentially accidental initial state of the web that quietly became the default. By now, consumers (also of web development blogs) feel they have a right to to free content, and producers (including me) do nothing to disabuse them of that notion.

As a result, free content and services have become an entitlement — an unearned privilege. There’s nothing inevitable about content and services being free, although we collectively chose to make free content a cornerstone of the web. That choice, I now think, is the web’s original sin.

I’m wondering if it’s time to significantly revise our thinking on free content and services. In order to explore this problem I wrote this rather long and rambling, but totally FREE, essay. I hope there’s a point hidden somwhere, but you get what you pay for.

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The resize event on touchscreen

Permalink | in Content

Yesterday I retested the resize event on touchscreen devices. Where the 2013 tests mostly showed a chaotic jumble, right now it’s becoming more clear where the resize event is heading.

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See the February 2016 archive.

This is the blog of Peter-Paul Koch, web developer, consultant, and trainer. You can also follow him on Twitter or Mastodon.
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