Data URI Performance: Don't Blame it on Base64

This article is a follow-up to my recent post: On Mobile, Data URIs are 6x Slower than Source Linking.

In a previous post, I introduced new research which showed that using the data URI scheme inline is significantly slower to materialize an image on mobile than using an image tag directly (and if the image is known to be in the browser cache). I suggested that mobile web developers focus on using data URIs only for smaller resources and look at alternatives such as CSS sprites instead.

As a result of discussions with Ilya Grigorik from the Google Make the web Faster team and other developers from the web community such as Andy Davies, Tim Kadlec and Alex Sexton, I decided to run a follow-up test to give web developers a more precise insight into the source of the performance bottleneck of using data URIs.

In this article, I’ll investigate one possible candidate for the bottleneck: decoding the Base64 encoded data. This decoding process is used with binary images to transform the data into a format that is safe to include inline in HTML or CSS.

Spoiler: the bottleneck does not lie in Base64 encoding but may reside in resource scheduling of data URIs in general!

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, July 30 2013

What is the Best Piece of Web Development Advice You've Ever Heard? (Win Prizes for Answers)

What is the Best Piece of Web Development Advice You've Ever Heard? (Win Prizes for Answers)

As professionals, we spend years perfecting our craft.

We learn new skills, acquire good taste, and work uncountable days and nights to get better. After all, learning is tough. It takes time. And it's never over.

But looking back at everything we've learned over the years, we can always pick that one piece of advice — maybe from a mentor, or a peer, or our favourite blog — that made us stop and think. That changed the way we do things.

As you've probably already guessed, today's post isn't about us (as in Mobify) sharing something we've learned. Today, we'd love to learn from you.

We'd like you to share with us — and the thousands of people in our community — a key piece of knowledge that made a difference in your learning process.

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On Mobile, Data URIs are 6x Slower than Source Linking (New Research)

This article provides a general introduction to the subject, however, updated results have been released.

As a web developer, you're likely well aware that a key rule to high performance web design is to make fewer HTTP requests — especially on smartphones, where high latencies are the norm.

You may also know that data URIs have long been considered a web performance best practice for reducing these requests.

So you can imagine my surprise to discover, when measuring the performance of hundreds of thousands of mobile page views, that loading images using a data URI is on average 6x slower than using a binary source link such as an img tag with an src attribute!

In this article, I'll discuss the different use cases of both data URIs and binary images, review my experiment results, and suggest future best practices for both using data URIs and building high performance mobile websites.

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, July 16 2013

5 Easy Tablet Optimizations You Can Make on Your Website Right Now

In the web design community, tablets continue to be somewhat of an enigma. They sit in the uncomfortable midpoint between the unrestricted playground of a 'desktop' browser and the full-on design and performance challenge of creating an optimized mobile experience.

The thing is, there's actually a ton of optimizations you can make to turn your website into a superb experience for tablet users. Some of these optimizations are quite advanced, but the majority can be achieved through small tweaks that take a short amount of time to implement.

For the time and resource challenged, here are 5 optimizations you can make to your website today to provide a better experience for your tablet users.

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, July 8 2013

13 Stats to Convince Your Boss to Invest in Mobile in 2013

Mobile is important. You get it; we get it too.

But when it comes to your boss or clients, you might run into quite a bit of resistance trying to convince them why exactly it is so important to build websites that are mobile-friendly.

You see, most business executives think in terms of revenues and costs, and not in terms of user experience. And to them, mobile optimization can seem like a big investment into something they know little about and might not even pay off.

So what can you do about it?

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