The Website Obesity Crisis

In conversations with web performance advocates, I sometimes feel like a hippie talking to SUV owners about fuel economy. They have all kinds of weirdly specific tricks to improve mileage. Deflate the front left tire a little bit. Put a magnet on the gas cap. Fold in the side mirrors. Most of the talk about web performance is similarly technical, involving compression, asynchronous loading, sequencing assets, batching HTTP requests, pipelining, and minification. All of it obscures a simpler solution. If you're only going to the corner store, ride a bicycle. If you're only displaying five sentences of text, use vanilla HTML. Hell, serve a textfile! Then you won't need compression hacks, integral signs, or elaborate Gantt charts of what assets load in what order. Browsers are really, really good at rendering vanilla HTML. We have the technology.