Performance in your pocket

May 13, 2011 § Leave a comment

Mobile web development is a paradoxical craft. It offers cutting-edge, Jetsons-esque technology, but resurrects last-decade, we-might-as-well-be-Flintstones nuisances. Websites can use geolocation and support multi-touch input, but at the same time, must contend with small screen dimensions and unreliable network speeds.

Much of this can be covered during a mobile website’s creative phases: the user experience can be designed to take advantage of geolocation and touch-based interactions, and a responsive design can make it look natural with any screen size or orientation.

What about slow network connections? Improving every user’s connection is a bit too much to ask. Instead, effective server-side optimization can mean the difference between “I’m going to view this on my phone” and “This is taking ages to load, and I have better things to do.”

AssetHat logo

At Mint, we’ve researched and implemented many techniques for optimizing a website’s page load time—in particular, how to make CSS, JavaScript, and images load as quickly as possible. To help make the web a slightly faster place, we’ve open sourced our results as a Rails gem called AssetHat. This gem is currently accelerating all of our websites in production, and has yielded some fantastic results. If you use AssetHat in your own Rails websites, we’d love to hear your story.

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