Sunday, September 09, 2007

Widgets infrastructure, where is it?

... never-ending loading ...

So far, no one has yet set the rules in this crazy widgets world and now we are suffering the consequences. Different distributors use different options, tools, scripts, approaches, etcetera and none of them seem to be compatible with each other.

Even though from November last year the World Wide Web Consortium already listed a document about widgets, there's still something wrong about the web widgets ecosystem.

Alex Iskold has a very interesting post on the subject (How javascript is slowing down the internet...) and after reading it, I got rid of some widgets as an attempt to speed up the loading time of this blog but it is still slow.

Today I was reading a post from Derek Anderson and his frustration on the matter (Fricken widgets keep disappearing) and I absolutely agree on what he says. Lawrence Coburn at Sexy widget wrote something related and how he realized it after one of his readers comment.

Definitely we need to do something about it.
Now, that us (widget developers) need to monetize to have decent servers, it's definitely true!
My stuff is hosted in a very dodgy server and I've asked for help to some widget distributors without any positive answer. At the end of the day, I don't get anything from my widgets but they do and they should help us out.

There are some distributors that host the widgets themselves and that's fine as I don't need to worry about my dodgy server, however, sometimes their server is slow as hell so I have got rid of 5 cool widgets hosted in their server as you never know when their server will go slow again (affecting my site).

Now let's see how the process works:
- As an internet user I visit your page and this one starts loading. The speed depends on my machine, my internet connection and YOUR SERVER (where your site is hosted).
- If you have widgets, the first request goes to THE WIDGET DISTRIBUTOR'S SERVER
- as soon as the distributors javascript file has loaded, this pulls the widget and it comes the third request: WIDGET DEVELOPER'S SERVER.
- how about if the widget triggers some info from a web service? and if it's a mash-up? more servers involved...
- It's very likely you will have more than one widget (specially if you blog about widgets) and the more widgets distributors involved, the more requests to different servers, the longer your page will take to load...

There are far too many steps, requests, etcetera and what happens is, your page is taking ages to load and I don't want to wait so I leave your site...

Solution: get rid of all other widgets but mine! :D ok ok, that's not a solution...
I think the problem is very complex, distributors and developers need to find a solution together, the developers need more support from the distributors, otherwise this crazy widgets world will collapse soon.


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