The web is DOOM’d: Average page now as big as id’s DOS classic • The Register

Today’s bloated web pages can be bigger than installable applications in 1990′s!

1 Comment

  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Browser suffers from JavaScript-creep disease

    Save Follow
    As time has gone on, my browsing experience on Firefox has gotten slower and slower, even though my broadband connection has gotten faster and faster. Rightly or wrongly, the browser has developed something of a bloatware reputation, due both to evolution of the foundation software package and its plethora of extensions (whose availability is ironically at the core of why it’s my preferred browser in the first place).

    In attempting to deal with the issue, I first trimmed down the number of extensions I had enabled to the bare-bones minimum, with little to no noticeable effect, then gritted my teeth and vowed to stick it out. But the situation recently reached the realm of the ridiculous; sites like Amazon, Ebay, the Weather Channel, and Wired would slow my system to a crawl, as would more than one or two simultaneous tabs’ worth of comics published at Arcamax, GoComics, and elsewhere (I … umm … scan 26 online comics every morning …).

    So I decided to research the situation further, beginning with a specific investigation of slowdowns involving Amazon’s website. The culprit, as it turned out, was JavaScript, which Wikipedia claims is “one of the three essential technologies of World Wide Web content production,” along with HTML and CSS. Installing a blacklist extension called YesScript and blocking scripts sourced from the domain provided at least some relief (at the tradeoff of some reduced functionality). But this measure only assisted with one particular website; plenty of other domains I regularly visited were also experiencing slowdowns

    A sledgehammer, versus a scalpel, was what I decided I needed. I found my tool in the well-known NoScript extension, recommended by (among others) Edward Snowden. NoScript’s primary intention is to bolster user security; as such, it allows some trusted sources’ JavaScript, Java, Flash, and other applets to run by default.

    Newspapers, as I recently noted, are increasingly desperate for revenue from anywhere. No surprise, therefore, that the Denver Post serves up 113 scripts by default

    Part of the problem, in Web developers’ slim defense, seems to be with Firefox’s SpiderMonkey JavaScript engine; I don’t notice the same CPU loading when I load a script-burdened page in Google’s Chrome (V8), for example, or Apple’s own Safari (JavaScriptCore, aka Nitro). But the bulk of the problem involves yet another manifestation of the “Tragedy of the Commons” phenomenon that I’ve used before to describe, for example, wireless communications network overloads. Quoting Wikipedia, it’s:

    A situation where individuals acting independently and rationally according to each other’s self-interest behave contrary to the best interests of the whole group by depleting some common resource.

    Typically, that resource is presumed to be plentiful, low-to-no cost, and nearly-to-completely unregulated. In this particular case, it’s the CPU (along with, to some extent, the GPU). Each JavaScript instance presumes it has exclusive access to as much of the processor’s horsepower as it needs, ignoring the reality of the concurrent presence of other contenting scripts. And each Web developer presumes that its site has exclusive access to the browser, ignoring the reality of the concurrent presence of other contending pages loaded in other browser tabs and windows (not to mention the concurrent presence of other contending applications besides the browser).

    Is it any wonder that ad blockers and their ilk have become so popular of late? Unfortunately, NoScript and other brute-force JavaScript-disable schemes aren’t palatable for the masses; while my experience indicates that they’re highly effective, they too-severely “break” websites in the process.


    YesScript lets you make a blacklist of sites that aren’t allowed to run JavaScript. Use YesScript on sites that annoy you or hog your system resources. One click to the icon in the status bar turns scripts on or off for the current site.

    Unlike NoScript, YesScript does absolutely nothing to improve your security.



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *