May 5 2013

Web Browser Bloat & Un-greening The Web

Posted by Mike Brunt at 8:47 AM Flash | Web Servers | .NET | DataBase | CloudComputing | Languages | Caching | Greening The Web | Java-JVM | ColdFusion


I started as a amateur computer/database designer-developer back in the mid-to-late 80's in fact my first computer was a Sinclair ZX81.  Via a chance meeting with a visiting sales engineer from Cummins Diesel in the USA; when I worked for British Leyland Truck and Bus in Chorley, England, I was pulled fully into web design and development in 1994 via a product called "Hot Metal" which allowed me to drag and drop around to create a web page and then view the underlying HTML. 

These were the heady days of mainly text web pages which were of course static.  The Cummins conversation centered around excess parts inventories at dealer level and how to effectively allow those to be searched and sold, that, along with my search for a web server I could afford had me buying a copy of the first relatively successful web site hosting software that would run on a Windows system, NT 3.51 to be accurate;  that web site software was "O'Reilley Web Site"  which was bundled with Coldfusion  and the rest is history for me.

That potted history, pretty much sums up the history of the beginning of the Worldwide Web which celebrated a 20 year existence, this year, thank you to Sir Tim Berners-Lee and to Jeremy and JJ Allaire (Coldfusion now ColdFusion) for creating the world I now live in, career-wise.  Back in 1994 there was no IIS, Microsoft was still asleep as to the relevance of the web and in fact on awakening reached out to try to buy Allaire and ColdFusion , that is another story though, Microsoft's ASP came via the purchase of a company based in Hawaii.

So here we are today and much though I would really like to believe I live in a world, software, which is exceedingly "green", that is quite a way from the truth.  In fact there are studies which equate web site content delivery as no better than traditional publishing.

During the past 14 years I have existed largely on the server-side of things, helping to design server infrastructure and for the past 12 of those 14 years that has been servers to support the Java programming language.  In addition, I spend a lot of time troubleshooting performance issues and in both designing and troubleshooting web sites I capture a lot of data via web browser emulation. Without a shadow of a doubt things are getting worse not better in terms of browser bloat and data transmission, I wrote a piece relating to what I called "Data Distance" back here in 2009

These factors of the amount of data being manipulated and transmitted and the HTML5-Json-Web 2.0 paradigms causing push-pull and ever open sockets are absolutely no panacea to a post-Flash world; Flash was never as bad as Steve Jobs (with due respect of course) made out.  In any case, there are many initiatives to make our software-technology world far greener, we have to do that, it is incumbent upon us to do so ad I will be doing my bit in that regard from today forward.