Wednesday, October 7, 2015

A new approach to web performance

A new approach to web performance

I think it is safe to say that most of us are pretty unhappy with load times of content on the mobile web. Click on a link here or wherever and it just takes too long for pages to load and when they finally load, things jump around visually and feel janky.

About 3 months ago Dave Besbris approached me about this problem and was like “Yo, let’s fix this” and I was like “Uhm, cool, I can make things fast.” From that we created the “Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) Project”. We deeply believe that the mobile web can be fast – both from our own experience and lots of research of others. It is just that best practices need to be applied more widely – both across the content itself but also in ads and analytics.

Little side anecdote: We use the ⚡ emoji to refer to AMP. This is cute and all, but originally we called the project “CAT” (For Content Authoring Toolkit which was totally not a backronym) and had ­čś╗emojis all over our codebase. I liked my job about 1000% better until we changed to the new name :)

Anyway, we created this thing called AMP HTML: which is HTML with some added restrictions and the promise: If you stay within these restrictions the pages will load reliably fast. We also optimized it for being efficiently prerenderable, so users could get an instant experience when loading pages most of the time.

We’re starting this initiative today with a whole bunch of partners like Twitter, Pinterest and Linkedin and 30 publishers from across the globe. Nothing about the project is set in stone. We are on Github and appreciate all the help we can get to make the mobile web work better for everyone ( The JavaScript in the Github repo is the only JS that will run on AMP HTML pages. This makes it a really exciting project to work on: find an AMP HTML page that loads slowly or janks? You can now fix it yourself with a git commit.

More info how this works technically is at
and has a more business-y explanation of this project if that is your thing.

Also: Google Search build a cool demo of how AMP pages can transform the user experience. Check them out over in their blog post: