Every few months, indeed, it seems with ever increasing frequency, the topic of the performance of web technologies comes up.
Most recently, Drew Crawford’s much lauded, detailed piece “Why Mobile Web Apps are slow” has been doing the rounds. You knew it was just a matter of time before it was going to show up on the various blogs where “native apps (read iOS) are always better” holds sway.
But Crawford’s position is really just a far better argued, more evidenced-based version of this comment on a blog post I wrote about performance 3 years ago
Which is both true, and banal.
Developers never care about absolute performance, well, at least sensible developers. Yes, sufficient performance is necessary, as well captured in this recent article at Forbes magazine. Once that threshold of sufficient performance has been reached, there are myriad other critical considerations as to the tools, platforms and languages we use. Among them time to market, platform reach, development cost, maintainability, or in Luke Wroblewski’s case with Polar, the ability to avoid long frustrating delays waiting for AppStore approval.
Undoubtedly building applications with web technologies presents significant challenges regarding performance. But one thing I’ve learned time and again in the last 30 years is that Moore’s Law is a tide that lifts all boats. It’s like a crystal ball for developers.
All of which brings me back to a recent rant of mine, “not ready for primetime“. As technologies emerge, and mature, but before they are “ready for primetime” is precisely when they represent the most opportunity. Sure, you can complain about it being more work, and more of a challenge to get right. But it’s those out there solving the problems who’ll reap the rewards.