What concerns me about the web industry

Posted on by jordanhaines

A few weeks ago I was listening to the a Paul Boag audio boo and he was answering the question “What concerns you about the web industry?”

This gave me an idea for a blog post because I do have my own concerns about the web industry as the rise of mobile first and responsive design become the norm.

My concerns about the web industry are:

  1. The rise of Frameworks
  2. The use of CSS Pre-processors
  3. The weight of pages

The rise of CSS Frameworks

For quite a while now as I read .net magazine and look on twitter, I see everyone banging on about Frameworks, Twitter bootstrap being one of the top talk about ones going around at the moment.

My issue with these frameworks is that with the popular developers banging on about them, every other developer forgets to think if they really need to use a framework and just starts coding with one. I have yet to see a reason why I would need to use such a framework, it adds so much weight to the code and from what I can see from the web, nearly all Twitter bootstrap websites look the same as it limits you on what you can do.

My developers and designers say that with the rise of responsive web design that such frameworks are handy tools, my opinion is that if done correctly, web development is not hard, you just have to think about what you are doing. If frameworks would disappear overnight I feel this would be no bad thing.

The use of CSS Pre-processors

This is a really big one for me as for the last few months every talk I hear from popular designers / front end developers SASS is all they talk about. Now I have tried this LESS and SASS and I know that they have some cool features like the ability to use variables. But c’mon, Really!! CSS is not a hard language to code and if you need to use a pre-processor then I have to come to the conclusion that you are coding wrong.

Coders that use pre-processors say thats its quicker to code and easier to maintain, I do not see this personally, The quality of the code that you get once your CSS has been compiled is bloated and usually not the best, and you end up with regular CSS at the end of it, So why not just type regular CSS from the start and also code to a higher standard.

I am hoping that his is a trend in the web industry and will go away soon because this is doing serious damage. As with all the bloated code from CSS pre processors and frameworks the size of web pages is going up, Which brings me nicely onto my last point.

The weight of pages

By this i mean the size of each page, Back when developers start learning how to code for the web, we are taught to try keep web pages as small as possible, but with the rise of frameworks and css pre-processors and the rise of responsive web design. Web pages are getting bigger and bigger and websites are slowing down. A quote that I found on the web “According to the HTTP Archive, the average top 1,000 web page is 1246 KB, compared to 828 KB in May 2012.”

With pages sizes increasing it means that the user has to download more which to me seems odd to make the user do as responsive web design is meant to put mobile first. Yet we are making them download more. People say so what, users expect this now, I disagree as the idea of a mobile site is that it loads quickly when you’re not on wifi and I think developers and designers forget this.

In the UK I am meant to have 3G signal pretty much everywhere, but in reality you get it just outside, If your not on 3G then everything just grinds to a halt as more and more web pages use bigger images.

Mobile users just want content, so what is the harm in just serving text? its a very old skool way of thinking but just think of how how quick the page would be to mobile users.

Conclusion

I realise that as I read this back I probably should be known as the grumpy geek, but I am very excited about the web industry at the moment and the rise of responsive web design. I just believe there are some areas that don’t make sense. They seem to be answers to problems that no one had.

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