This Week I Learned #2: Takeaways from CDS 2016

This week, some breaking news took over the social media, and Twitter alone was not enough to give me my weekly dose of knowledge. I ended up watching some talks from the Chrome Dev Summit, which happened towards the end of the week.

At a time when the Web is finally catching up to native applications in terms of reliable performance, the CDS has delivered a message loud and clear:

The mobile Web is the Web. Devices are slower than you expect. Connections are flakier than you can imagine. And if your application doesn’t work in these dire conditions, it pretty much doesn’t work at all. The only way to make sure it does, is to test it on an actual low-end phone on a real 3G connection.

That being said, I learned a couple of things that any performance-minded developer ought to know:

  • <link rel="preload"> is a nifty way to tell the browser to start downloading a resource you are going to need later. Read more here.
  • While HTTP/2 Push can improve performance by pushing resources without the browser asking for them, it also means the same resources are pushed on every subsequent visit. So even if a browser has something cached, the server ends up sending it anyway. The way to avoid this is to use HTTP/2 in conjunction with Service Workers, so that the browser doesn’t end up making redundant requests.

In addition to emphasizing performance, the CDS also showed how Progressive Web Apps aren’t just a buzzword, but are actually being taken seriously by several Internet companies.

For making user experience even smoother, a new Web API, called Credential Management API, is being worked on. This will allow Web apps to access previously stored user credentials to log the users in frictionlessly. This works across all the devices the user has signed into, and even supports federated logins via services like Google or GitHub.

That’s it for this week. For the coming week, I plan to watch the ffconf videos if they go up, and post any takeaways here.

Keep watching this space.


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