Posted 09/02/2014 at 11:50 AM
Posted 3 years ago
Good news! The web is getting faster. And we don’t have to do anything. A small group of developers saw a problem and solved it for all of us.
The challenge was that when mobile sites gave way to responsive, mobile images were replace with enormous pictures elements. (Consider that 1MB out of 1.7MB on a website is images — that is to say, a lot.)
So while responsive web design (RWD) solves a host of other problems, especially relating to content, it hamstrung load times on mobile devices, not to mention bandwidth bills.
So a team of developers from all over, including the Globe and Mail redesign team, Google, and Opera, started working on it. Through battles with web standards organizations, browser vendors, and thousands of message boards, they developed a new HTML Picture element.
The Picture element works by having the browser evaluate any rules that a web developer writes for an images. Essentially, it allows a lot of customization, that once completed loads the same image lots of different ways depending on context. It makes one shoe fit all.
Once Picture was developed, of course, it needed browsers to implement it, which involved creating a significant amount of new infrastructure. To fund it, developers actually put it on Indiegogo to raise the capital.
So after a erroneously long development process and a massively successful Indiegogo campaign Chrome and Firefox should begin carrying it by the end of the year. The moral of the story? A small group of determined developers can truly create faster internet – for free.