Back in 2014, Stefan Judis and his colleagues wanted to get with the times, he tells the audience, and that led to them finding the web framework Jekyll. Soon after came the first version of the popular library Angular.
“I don’t want to tell you how much time I spent on it,” says Stefan Judis addressing the audience in the hall.
“Honestly, I was proud,” says Stefan Judis.
Ugly website claims the top spot
Stefan Judis had split the code up into chunks that only loaded when needed. But then he compared his website to a website mentioned on developer forums—a personal website that is still updated on a monthly basis, but is using technology (and aesthetics) from the 90s.
It does not look pretty, but that is not Stefan Judis’s point either. The website is incredibly fast. And the code behind it is not something that takes a weekend to maintain. It uses technology that professional developers no longer really use, such as HTML table-based layouts.
Stefan Judis analysed the page with Lighthouse, and compared it with his new and old blog.
“It was pretty depressing.”
Why is it so easy to make a mistake
Maybe it comes down to the developer’s competencies:
“Stefan, you messed up!”
That may be true, says Stefan Judis—but asks the audience: Why is it so easy to make a mistake?
When Google’s search algorithm ranks search results, it looks at, among other things, loading times—a significant factor in many contexts.
He tried a new strategy. For another website, he used a tool for generating static sites, Eleventy, which does not add anything one does not need.
This resulted in a Lighthouse score of 100.
Therefore, it is time to put an end to the idea that “all websites are web apps, and vice versa”. Stefan Judis himself thought so a few years ago, but today, he completely disagrees with that statement.
He also points out that mobile data can be expensive in some countries, and heavier pages simply mean more costs for users, without them necessarily getting a better experience—quite the contrary.
Stefan Judis also points out that React, Vue and other frameworks are currently trendy. Measurements show that jQuery is still the most dominant framework, and there is nothing wrong with that.
“Boring is beautiful,” he says.
Two new frameworks, Astro and Svelte go against that trend.
A good website is accessible, fast, and secure. Frameworks do not necessarily eliminate errors. For example, React-based sites have about 50 errors on average, according to the Webaim.org service.
Writing complex apps has never been easier than today. But how many websites are really complex apps—asks Stefan Judis.
Some argue that the use of frameworks and libraries means that one does not have to maintain the code. You just download the latest version, and security issues get resolved and coding standards are updated in a snap. But when Version2 later asked Stefan Judis about libraries, he said he does not buy that. One just moves the burden of maintenance to the libraries:
“You spend a day or two figuring out: What do we need to update? What is it that breaks the app? The more complexity you add to your website, the harder it becomes to maintain.”
However, Stefan Judis does not believe that the same applies to web apps:
“My point was that we use a lot of things in the wrong usage scenarios. Large and heavy web apps like Gmail are great—they have a lot of functionality. What I am criticizing is that if you e.g. visit Medium.com and load five megabytes to track the user, and make other wrong technology choices—then we’re heading in the wrong direction.”
The problem can be solved by server-side rendering, but none of the frameworks have fully achieved that yet.
But help is on the way: