Performance and Resilience: Stress-Testing Third Parties by CSS Wizardry

Paul Kinlan
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I was in China a couple of weeks ago for the Google Developer Day and I was showing everyone my QRCode scanner, it was working great until I went offline. When the user was offline (or partially connected) the camera wouldn’t start, which meant that you couldn’t snap QR codes. It took me an age to work out what was happening, and it turns out I was mistakenly starting the camera in my onload event and the Google Analytics request would hang and not resolve in a timely manner. It was this commit that fixed it.

Because these types of assets block rendering, the browser will not paint anything to the screen until they have been downloaded (and executed/parsed). If the service that provides the file is offline, then that’s a lot of time that the browser has to spend trying to access the file, and during that period the user is left potentially looking at a blank screen. After a certain period has elapsed, the browser will eventually timeout and display the page without the asset(s) in question. How long is that certain period of time?

It’s 1 minute and 20 seconds.

If you have any render-blocking, critical, third party assets hosted on an external domain, you run the risk of showing users a blank page for 1.3 minutes.

Below, you’ll see the DOMContentLoaded and Load events on a site that has a render-blocking script hosted elsewhere. The browser was completely held up for 78 seconds, showing nothing at all until it ended up timing out.

Read full post.

I encourage you to read the post because there is a lot of great insight.

Paul Kinlan

Trying to make the web and developers better.

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