Accelerate Mobile Pages with AMP

The power of mobile devices and the available bandwidth keeps increasing and content producers are very aware of the importance of the mobile platform. They generate content that’s designed specifically for mobile consumption. But, the user experience is still often lacking. There are two related problems here. First, the weight of the average Web page keeps increasing due to encumbering it with a lot of auxiliary stuff like ads, tracking and unnecessary animation, videos and heavy images. Second, content producers and developers often aim and test on the latest and greatest devices and in optimal networking environment. The implicit assumption is that technology moves so fast that very soon everybody will have high-end device and fast network. That leaves a lot of people with low-end devices and/or slow connection with a very poor experience.

One project that attempts to improve the situation is the AMP Project. It is built on existing Web technologies and promotes a restricted subset of HTML, CSS and JavaScript in addition to several custom HTML components that can improve performance. AMP accelerates the mobile experience by using the following practices:

  • Allow only asynchronous scripts
  • Size all resources statically
  • Don’t let extension mechanisms block rendering
  • Keep all third-party JavaScript out of the critical path
  • All CSS must be inline and size-bound
  • Font triggering must be efficient
  • Minimize style recalculations
  • Only run GPU-accelerated animations
  • Prioritize resource loading

While you can do all that without AMP, it takes a lot of effort and discipline. With AMP you get it all out of the box via the AMP validator. Keep an eye out for AMP. It may be a big deal very soon.

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