4 min

WaPo using PWA to power its mobile website

Sep 6, 2016 WSJ story

The Washington Post says it has a new “lightning-fast” mobile website, which it plans to roll out gradually before the end of the year.

The publisher said the new site, based on Google technology called Progressive Web Apps, will load mobile webpages in under a second, compared with around three seconds for its current mobile site.

Here's the real story.

Mr. Prakash said 70% of the Post’s traffic now comes from mobile devices.

The mobile website is used far more frequently than the Post’s app, with 63% of overall traffic using its mobile website specifically and 7% on the app.

Whoa. That's much higher than I expected. And it's good news for the web. It might also support the idea that most phone users only use a few apps with Facebook's app being the most used app by a long way.

My simple blog site can load fast. This post contains no images.


Maybe #pwa makes images load fast too or something. Whatever. Bare minimum HTML and CSS and no JavaScript for browsing-only users can create a fast load time, depending upon whether images are used.

More from the WSJ story:

In early tests, users accessed five times more pages on the new version of the Post’s site than they did on the current version, Mr. Prakash said.

The PWA technology powering the new site is an open-source set of technology standards formulated by Google’s Chrome team, which are also responsible for its popular Chrome web browser.

At a basic level, the PWA technology works by pre-loading content on users’ devices in the background to ensure it’s ready to display quickly as they move around the site.

In order to use PWA, websites must use a secure web technology known as “HTTPS,” which the Post began implementing last year.

What does https have to do with PWA? That's probably google's way of forcing something on websites that would like to have choices.

When a browser company develops new web technology then it's possible to prohibit some sites from using the technology. When managing SSL certs become an automatic, in-the-background, don't-have-to-think-about-it process, then I'll be for SSL everywhere.

But forcing sites to do this and eliminating choices seems a bit like bullying and supporting intolerance. Those are great words to thrown around easily.

Pre-loading content. That means a user may still be forced download a steaming pile of crap. Does this mean that a single web page could still be megabytes in size?

Beginning Thursday, around 10% of mobile traffic to article pages will be directed to the new “PWA” version of the Post’s site. By the end of the year, it plans to have switched over to the new version entirely.

Create simple web pages by default, and a publisher won't need to support Progressive Web apps, Instant Articles, and Accelerated Mobile Pages.

Support the web by keeping web pages slim.

According to Jed Hartman, the Post’s chief revenue officer, no significant compromises were made with the new site with regards to advertising. The company’s engineers figured out a way to ensure ads don’t slow down the experience significantly, he said, and Post advertisers should not need to do anything differently on their end.

Hah. Loud, annoying buzzer sound.

Total Bytes In or the amount of cruft downloaded will still be huge.

Here we go yet again with another example of absurd writing by making a false claim:

For Google, the PWA project is one of a handful of initiatives it’s working on in an attempt to improve the performance of the mobile web, ...

Google is NOT improving the speed of the mobile web unless Google is providing super fast cellular connectivity.

Publishers create bloated websites. Google is helping to make these dog piles display faster to mobile users.

A simple web page displays fast on the web across all devices.

[Google] has been working on a project called Accelerated Mobile Pages that many publishers have adopted to help load their content more quickly by stripping out code from their pages, for example.

Stripping out code from bloated web pages to produce a simplified web page that, what a shock, displays faster.

Why don't publishers simply create simple, stripped-down web pages by default? Because they need all the tracking, ads, analytics, and other crapware to be embedded within a web page.

The usual misleading information from Google. This has to be intentional in order to make users believe that the web has a problem, which it doesn't. The problem is the average size of a web page increases yearly. It's now measured in megabytes. Even text-only articles will require 2 to 10 megabytes of crap to be downloaded.

Google's propaganda:

“At Google we are working hard to improve the way the web works today and build a better web for the future. As a result we are seeing a brand new era of web development that is leading to an explosion of innovation with technologies like AMP and PWA,” said Rahul Roy-Chowdhury, vice president of product management for Google Chrome.

AMP and PWA speed up horribly-designed web pages. Publishers created the problem. The web didn't create the problem.

#mobile #web #design #media

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