Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Average Web Page Size Triples Since 2003

CmdrTaco posted more than 5 years ago | from the just-the-freshmen-fifteen dept.

The Internet 241

Andy King writes "Within the last five years, the size of the average web page has more than tripled, and the number of external objects has nearly doubled. While broadband users have experienced somewhat faster response times, narrowband users have been left behind." The article breaks down a number of changes besides just page size, including image types and video duration.

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered


Check out the size of the /. front page. (2, Interesting)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 5 years ago | (#23223084)

Around 1/2 a megabyte. Yup. That big.

(Front Page?)

Re:Check out the size of the /. front page. (5, Insightful)

gnick (1211984) | more than 5 years ago | (#23223244)

Internet access gets faster -> Web sites get bigger
Hard drives get bigger -> Applications use more space
Media storage increases -> Home videos get larger and quality improves
CPUs get faster -> Windows programmers add "features" and chow down on cycles
Fish bowls get larger -> Goldfish grow ...

Some good, some bad, some ugly. But not shocking.

Re:Check out the size of the /. front page. (4, Funny)

jank1887 (815982) | more than 5 years ago | (#23224284)

Home videos get larger and quality improves

if by "quality improves" you mean resolution, I'll give you that one. But a quick glance of some of what litters youtube goes to show that 'quality' isn't going anywhere...

Re:Check out the size of the /. front page. (2, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 5 years ago | (#23224692)

Oh good god yes.

Home movies have always sucked. And in HD they SUCK more. You see HD, even 1080i, requires you to pan slowly, limit zooming and other fast or shakey camera motions. now HD amplifies the careless shooting of the home video and makes people even more sick.

Honestly as a videographer I wish they required classes before people buy a camcorder. Either that or make the camera shock the user if it is tilted or moved too fast or if zoom is used when record is pressed.

Re:Check out the size of the /. front page. (4, Interesting)

jandrese (485) | more than 5 years ago | (#23223354)

IIRC, that's actually smaller than it was before the 2.0 makeover. Before that you have to look back a long way to find a thinner and lighter Slashdot. Probably back before the sidebar was added. Slashdot has always been a fairly heavy website unless you use the lite mode, but at least it has a lot of content so that's not such a bad thing.

The biggest thing I'd argue is that advertisements have gotten heavier over the years, with static images giving way to animated images giving way to flash objects.

Re:Check out the size of the /. front page. (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 5 years ago | (#23224030)

I'd argue that the average flash object is probably smaller than the average animated GIF. Of course that's counterbalanced by the fact that you have to run the flash interpreter which bloats local ram usage. Oh and flashblock and image.animate_mode once take care of both from a distraction standpoint =)

Re:Check out the size of the /. front page. (2, Interesting)

Professeur Shadoko (230027) | more than 5 years ago | (#23223518)

I checked.
Around 75KB, down to 17KB with gzip compression.
Plus around 20KB in png/gifs.

Not that big.

Re:Check out the size of the /. front page. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23223902)

A 330kb js file? Holy seemingly-unnecessary-functionality Batman!

eat my shorts slashdot !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23223086)

Eat my shorts slashdot !!

Times change (1, Interesting)

ironicsky (569792) | more than 5 years ago | (#23223156)

While I feel for the people on dial-up or other narrow-band style connections, there isn't much anyone can do for them. Times change. While the majority of internet users in the states are on broadband(70% or more according to Web Site Optimization.com [websiteoptimization.com]) . In my opinion it would be unfeasible to maintain two sites, one for narrow band users and one for high speed users. Those people in rural area's still have the ability to get high speed internet, such as satellite, direct line of site towers, cellular or even DSL.

Re:Times change (4, Insightful)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 5 years ago | (#23223274)

I wish more sites thought about narrowband users not because I myself am stuck with narrowband, but because I find that broadband-focused sites hide the pure content you want in a maze of gimmicks like Flash and needlessly dynamic HTML. Sure, in some areas (certain web applications), such features make the experience more efficient, but most of the time it is fluff.

Re:Times change (2, Insightful)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 5 years ago | (#23223872)

Dynamic HTML generally doesn't take up much more bandwidth than normal HTML - a couple of extra bytes for a few CSS rules and a few lines of javascript. It makes pages feel slow and clunky because it makes the browser work harder, not because its straining your bandwidth.

Flash too, despite the bad rep it gets here can (I stress, can be fairly small in size.

The reason these things feel clunky isn't because they're big and slow, it's because they're, well, clunky.

Re:Times change (1)

cbart387 (1192883) | more than 5 years ago | (#23224290)

a couple of extra bytes for a few CSS rules and a few lines of javascript.
If the developers do it right, using CSS has the potential to decrease what you're downloading. Say you have 10 pages. It use to be that each of those 10 pages would have all the style information on each page. With external CSS external files, you only have to download that style information once for all 10 pages. Same with using external javascript...

Re:Times change (2)

nosfucious (157958) | more than 5 years ago | (#23224166)

Agreed with the lite option.

I'd even go a step further.

Accessibility options. A page done almost entirely in Flash is almost guaranteed to be inaccessible to someone with a screen reader.

Another pet peeve is cropping a page so that it has only one page of info on it. I can use the scroll bar on the site. Give me (at least the option) of reading the entire article on one freeking page. It can contain ads every 'x' lines of text, I don't want to keep clicking!!!! (Carpel tunnel here I come).

If anyone wants to see just how bad a web page can be, try http://www.afl.com.au/ [afl.com.au]. Australia's most popular web site. The intern was obviously given a list of technologies to include, but bugger the content and usability.

Re:Times change (3, Informative)

Spiked_Three (626260) | more than 5 years ago | (#23223386)

"Those people in rural area's still have the ability to get high speed internet, such as satellite, direct line of site towers, cellular or even DSL."

People who don't have to deal with are very misinformed about what is available. There is no cellular or towers available. DSL isn't even remotely feasable. And sattelite is so over sold by the 2 monopolies that the speed is OFTEN less than the 24.4 tops dial up that is available from 2 carriers.

Yes, were I live sucks big time. I made the mistake of thinking coverage would eventually be available, but its not. Around here (southern VA, east TN) a $50 dollar bribe to a cop and you can still get away with murder. It's the old west. I dont see things changing any time soon.

But no, I don't expect anyone to do anything to help poor old me out. But just don't go around thinking I have options available, I don't.

Re:Times change (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23223914)

And sattelite is so over sold by the 2 monopolies that the speed is OFTEN less than the 24.4 tops dial up that is available from 2 carriers.
(emphasis mine)

You keep using that word, mono poly. I don't think it means what you think it means.

Oligopoly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23224050)

He means oligopoly. In the case of buyers, an oligopsony.

Re:Times change (-1, Troll)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | more than 5 years ago | (#23224044)

If you don't like it, you've got three options:
Start a broadband company offering high speed to people in your situation, there's obviously demand (other people like you).
Stop whining.

Re:Times change (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23224548)

What a troll you are. GP wasn't whining. He was merely saying that the GGP was incorrect. Don't be so curmudgeonly.

Re:Times change (4, Interesting)

Albanach (527650) | more than 5 years ago | (#23223430)

In my opinion it would be unfeasible to maintain two sites, one for narrow band users and one for high speed users.

It might be extra work, might even be a pita, but 'unfeasible'? Most modern websites of any size separate content from presentation through some sort of content management system.
With a decent CMS it should be trivial to offer a 'light' version of your site - I think someone else mentioned the low graphics version of the BBC news site as an example.
It is possible that a lot of the content that is increasing page sizes are flash adverts - if I fire up internet explorer there seems to be an ever increasing number of these animated adverts (can folk actually read a web page with three animated adverts amongst the text?). I'd hazard a guess that the reason many sites don't offer light versions of their pages is the threat to revenue through decreased ad views and has very little to do with the complexity of serving up two variants of a website.

print this page needs automation (1)

zogger (617870) | more than 5 years ago | (#23223848)

Just yesterday I was searching around to see if there was any extension or add-on which would automatically load the "print this page" version instead of the full bloat version, as I am stuck on dialup here and man, most of the web is a pain now, and it gets worse all the time. Even with images turned off. I checked accessibility sites, etc, thinking maybe something developed for the blind. It is pretty dismal, those places emphasize screen readers and audio conversions. Closest I found was some greasemonkey scripts that have to be tailored to individual websites. Google has a low res search function, but it still isn't the same deal. It makes no sense to have to go to the full bloat version, wait for it to finish downloading, then hunt around for the print version, that's backwards for what you need in trying to help speed things up. If there was an HTML attribute added to the page so right off the bat you could be redirected the print only simple version, it would be acceptable. Slashdot is not too bad using the low res version, not bad at all really. BBC is pretty good too, but they are in the minority.

    I agree with you on the Flash, it is by far one of the main culprits out there for bloat-age, and it is a catch 22 to avoid it. You can use Flashblock, but that means leaving javascripting turned on, which leaves you open to all sorts of other nasty page slowing "features" (and potential security issues). And if the website owners are worried about losing ad revenue, nothing stopping them from putting text only simple ads on the low res version pages.

Re:Times change (1)

Sancho (17056) | more than 5 years ago | (#23223870)

Some sites started offering an iPhone version when that device became popular. I'd bet that there are more people living in rural areas without acess to broadband than there are iPhone users.

Re:Times change (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 5 years ago | (#23224314)

I hate flash advertisements for another reason. Due to some quirk in my FireFox installation and/or my Flash installation, Flash will sometimes open up "javascript:" functions in IE. Now, my default browser is set as FireFox so that would be bad enough. However, these links open by themselves, make a "ping"-ing sound (as IE can't find the "page") and then IE closes. Annoying enough? It gets worse. The Flash ads don't seem to give up. They'll keep opening a hundred IE windows in an attempt to run this javascript function successfully. And I can't close the FireFox tab because FireFox and my entire system is bogged down from a hundred IE windows being opened.

I really need to uninstall/reinstall FireFox and Flash to try to fix this (and a few other) problems, but I just never seem to have the time. (Plus, I'm afraid of losing my nicely customized setup.)

Re:Times change (-1, Flamebait)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#23223616)

Personally I don't give a shit about narrow-band users. I don't even give a shit about cable and ADSL-users. People should just get decent connections, not this shit which some people have to live with. ADSL was the worst invention ever and have ruined so much! People should have fresh black (?) fiber to their homes and the possibility to choose among a wealth of operators offering bandwidth for them.

(And be able to HOST content at decent speeds aswell.)

Re:Times change (1)

snowraver1 (1052510) | more than 5 years ago | (#23224038)

Wow, ignorant much?

Not everyone has the luxory of having fiber to the curb. In fact, MOST people do not have fiber to the curb. Your comment shows how little you know of the real world.

While DSL is not my first choice of Internet, given a choice, it is FAR from the worst invention ever. DSL used existing copper pairs to deliver multi mbit connections were only 56k was available before. Also, without DSL, there would be even less competition in an industry that is in cahoots to begin with.

You sir, are a waste of flesh.

Re:Times change (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 5 years ago | (#23223634)

... In my opinion it would be unfeasible to maintain two sites, one for narrow band users and one for high speed users....
I disagree on this point, the WWW is basically built by software, is run by computers, and is automated. That is to say no human intervention is required when you request a web page via your browser.

If HTML editors were what they should be, generating a lightweight site along with the mighty and powerful web 2.0 version should be no problem. You are using a computer to generate your website pages, NOT an abacus, and the computer should be doing more for you than it is. I think that the basic narrow band/broad band gap in functionality can be blamed on HTML editors easier than blaming the end user because they don't have broadband.

A simple enough standard would be to tack the /lite/index.html in place of the standard /index.html location.

You might even think about it a bit and see that the same HTML editor could also be producing wap compatible web pages for mobile compatability also. If you are writing code and NOT considering the end user of your code, you're doing it wrong.

Re:Times change (1)

mini me (132455) | more than 5 years ago | (#23224006)

As long as you follow the HTML standard, all web pages should already be "lite". One just needs to ignore images and CSS when bandwidth is lacking.

Re:Times change (1)

hendridm (302246) | more than 5 years ago | (#23223650)

While I feel for the people on dial-up or other narrow-band style connections, there isn't much anyone can do for them.

Good grief! I guess this comment shows why we're behind in this country with cell phone and other wireless gadget technology. Surfing the web on a cell phone or PDA usually sucks (both in download time and accessibility), except for sites developed by those who actually care.

In my opinion, if it works well on a cell phone, it will work well on dialup. Are major companies willing to ditch cell phone/PDA users? Everyone else can get the rich media, pointlessly huge images, and fixed-width layouts.

Re:Times change (1)

Sancho (17056) | more than 5 years ago | (#23223942)

Good grief! I guess this comment shows why we're behind in this country with cell phone and other wireless gadget technology.
Maybe it shows that we're behind, but not why. The reason that we're behind is because the infrastructure is "good enough" for most people, and putting out cell towers that service a dozen people in the sticks is not cost-effective.

People look at countries in Europe and wonder why the US can't have as comprehensive a cellular infrastructure.. Usually, they have forgotten that those countries are a) much more socialist (not that I'm judging socialism one way or another, but the governments there have a greater say in things like this, which are largely considered public interest) and b) much, much smaller, and with a higher population density.

Re:Times change (1)

reebmmm (939463) | more than 5 years ago | (#23223960)

in my opinion it would be unfeasible to maintain two sites
I call B.S. Separation of content and presentation is a known technique. Good tools to do this have been around for the web for at least the last 8 years. Their is almost no additional cost if you're doing it right in the first place.

Besides, this only has benefits for the site owner. It will not only be accessible for those without access to broadband, but also accessible by those with mobile devices like Blackberries.

In my days as a web developer, people thought I was crazy that people would actually want to browse the internet on a mobile device. But the truth is, most business would probably benefit from considering these users. For example, restaurants, airlines, movie theaters, transportation services, tourist-oriented sites, hotels, newspapers, web based e-mail services, etc. all likely will have users that are on mobile devices.

Do you know how awesome it is to be able to scroll through a restaurant's menu online while you're standing in an airport? Or to even find one?

Even personal interest hobby sites would probably benefit. Nothing like killing time while you wait.

Re:Times change (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 5 years ago | (#23224118)

Uh, use style sheets and some dynamic scripting to offer something ala slashdot's lite mode. It's not just people on dialup, an increasing number of web users access the internet through small smart devices that due to the need to run on batteries use slower cpu's and have less ram and generally slower network connections. To get the biggest audience you need to be able to scale your site to the clients needs, and afterall that is the point of a markup language =)

While we're at it... (2, Insightful)

Oxy the moron (770724) | more than 5 years ago | (#23223160)

... let's note how they've grown in screen size, too! I mean, back in the day, it used to be good enough to have a monitor that could display 640x480. Now, if you're using a 14" CRT, you're totally out of luck when viewing the intarwebs!

Ahem... honestly, I agree that "narrowband users have been left behind," but so have those with smaller monitors, older operating systems, and the like. Sometimes upgrading the hardware/software is just a necessity at some point. If you can't, chances are there's a library nearby that has some newer hardware that might work.

Would it be better if we went back to having a high content/low content index page so the user could pick which one they wanted? Maybe... but I don't think it's necessary, and it usually involves a lot more work.

Re:While we're at it... (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 5 years ago | (#23223340)

right now with this post I am on a 12" 800x600 LCD laptop for work.

with DSL slashdot isn't too bad, but some sites I don't even bother visiting. The bloat isn't so much bandwidth but processor requirements. remember when you could browse the web with a 25mhz 486. now if you don't have an 1 ghz Pentium you can barely load up most websites.

Re:While we're at it... (4, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#23223440)

Would it be better if we went back to having a high content/low content index page so the user could pick which one they wanted?

Of course not. People shouldn't be specifiying the width for their columns in absolute terms in the first place. Use relative measures and let the browser decide where everything goes. At least that way your site degrades gracefully if the browser doesn't meet your expectations.

Well written HTML + CSS should be completely device independent. It should be fully navigable on a 1600x1400 monitor, a 320x240 cell phone, or a line by line screen reader. And it should be completely transparent to the user. We have the technology, designers just need to use it.

Re:While we're at it... (3, Insightful)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 5 years ago | (#23223924)

No, not really. If you want a 600px header image, then no amount of CSS is going to make that fit nicely on a cell phone. You're going to have to create a different design for the mobile device. I agree that CSS should be used more often, and should be used to give browsers render hints rather than force a behaviour to a specific layout, but it's not a panacea.

Re:While we're at it... (1)

clickety6 (141178) | more than 5 years ago | (#23224262)

Or HTML spec is upgraded so that we can specify image size in % as well as pixels similar to a table. Then you wouldn't need to worry about the image width on the screen. Of course, you would need to make sure the image elements are clear enough to scale easily.

Re:While we're at it... (2, Informative)

NightHwk1 (172799) | more than 5 years ago | (#23224316)

It will of course need a modified design, but it can still all be handled by CSS. Just change the background-image URL, or remove the background altogether and do it with text.

Video probably prime reason... (3, Insightful)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 5 years ago | (#23223168)

How many web pages had embedded video as a matter of course in 2003?

It seems to me that embedded video alone could account for at least half of this increase.

Re:Video probably prime reason... (1)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | more than 5 years ago | (#23224032)

External objects doubling makes me think of ads. I see more and more ads on websites and more and more often - they're video. I feel sorry for anyone with dialup. I hope you've got a good adblocker... otherwise 75% of any webpage you download is just ads.

OMG ! (1)

CmdrGravy (645153) | more than 5 years ago | (#23223180)

Who would have thought it, now most people have always on, fast broadband internet web designers are less concerned about page size.

I would like to see more stripped down text only pages ( like the BBC has ) on web pages but otherwise I'm perfectly happy with this and don't see any need to handicap web developers just because some luddities out in the sticks somewhere haven't got a faster connection yet.

!=haven't, rather == can't get (was Re:OMG !) (2, Interesting)

WillAdams (45638) | more than 5 years ago | (#23223226)

The U.S. is big, and there's a lot of it where the local phone connection is as good as it gets.

Low bandwidth, flexible pages using CSS are also good for people on mobile units w/ small screens.


Re:!=haven't, rather == can't get (was Re:OMG !) (1)

CmdrGravy (645153) | more than 5 years ago | (#23223492)

Thats true but most companies designing web sites are aiming for the majority of people who do have modern connections. I can't see it should be all that hard to also provide text only versions but it's only sites which need to be accessible to almost everyone that do actually do this.

Re:!=haven't, rather == can't get (was Re:OMG !) (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 5 years ago | (#23224672)

Majority, yes, but it's just barely a supermajority. There's around 30% of web users in the US that are on non-broadband connections and I would argue that the number is actually growing as small wireless devices use grows and the number of people stuck on dialup is fairly static at this point.

Design, Then Streamline (1)

FurtiveGlancer (1274746) | more than 5 years ago | (#23223502)

Huge pages are fine when I'm in civilized countries with real networks. When I'm traveling in less developed areas and have to carry my own connectivity, it would be very helpful (far less frustrating) to have a thin (text only) option on every web page. I hate to say it, but there ought to be a law.

Re:Design, Then Streamline (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 5 years ago | (#23223822)

Couldn't more onus be placed on the users. Set up your browser to only load the main page, no images, and display the pages ind "single column format (like on the Wii). Sure some sites that are based solely on flash or similar wouldn't work, but you could probably still view the majority of sites like this.

JavaScript (1)

bornagainpenguin (1209106) | more than 5 years ago | (#23223190)

I used to save fanfics for a forum I go to, and would save the pages manually before I discovered easier ways (de-FFNet-izer)... It was also around this same time period I began using noscript and I was amazed at the difference in file sizes with and without it enabled. We're talking about a difference of a hundred to three hundred kilobytes per page!

IMHO it's all the useless JavaScript that's choking the tubes these days! Not to mention the privacy and security concerns...


You know what they say (4, Funny)

Centurix (249778) | more than 5 years ago | (#23223192)

It's not the size, it's what you do with it that counts.

Re:You know what they say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23223322)

That's true, but not so true as the goatse [goatse.ch].

Re:You know what they say (1)

aadvancedGIR (959466) | more than 5 years ago | (#23223678)

You mean, like putting the ads OVER the content I went to the site for? Or trying to make the worst possible site that money can buy Dilbert like? As a user, I think the web was a more pleasant place at the time of HTML 3.0, but luckily, everyone else involved thinks I'm just here to bring them money and f*ck the shut up.

Re:You know what they say (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 5 years ago | (#23223898)

You mean, like putting the ads OVER the content I went to the site for?
Look, it's simple. Either you cut your bandwidth bill in half by playing attention to each bit, or you pay for it by serving multimegabyte flash ads. Your choice.

Re:You know what they say (1)

aadvancedGIR (959466) | more than 5 years ago | (#23224088)

I'm more of the former type, as I close the browser tab as soon as I feel agressed, and BTW, I now get my dayly Dilbert dose from Yahoo (and I understood I'm far from being the only visitor they lost). BTW, bandwich lost is not a problem to me, since being french and urban, I have 10Mb/s ADSL for 30E, it's just the feeling of being agressed, and the urge to prevent any further contact with the agressors.

Online banking via dialup is intolerable (1)

MichaelCrawford (610140) | more than 5 years ago | (#23223194)

I can do my banking quickly via DSL, but when visiting my Mom, who still uses dialup, it took about twenty minutes to load my bank's homepage.

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23223196)

Well, when last time did you speak with someone with dial up? In fact, I believe that in many places you can buy cheaper broadband than a dial up. And there aren't too many people who have no choice for dial up anymore. I'ts like complaining on technical progress anyway...

Also tripled in reecent years? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23223208)

The size of my wang. It's up to 4 gigadongs of Miley Cyrus-pleasing goodness.

Re:Also tripled in reecent years? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23223262)

This isn't 4chan... Leave. Now.

Fight: Text blasts bloat (2, Insightful)

redelm (54142) | more than 5 years ago | (#23223294)

Ok, so I'm a little retro. I've just [reluctantly] upgraded from lynx to link to get tables and table layout.

Everything still runs pretty fast, certainly much faster than those few occasions when I need graphics or https: and run Firefox. The difference is noticable on all machines, and greatest (~2x) on the slower ones.

Sometimes formatting gets messed up, but the main content is still in text and still very readable.

Re:Fight: Text blasts bloat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23223436)

"noticable"? Not a cable?

Re:Fight: Text blasts bloat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23223820)

That'd be a not iCable. Also seriously dude, I'm so leet I use lynx... Whatever Web sites you visit must look like crap in a console window.

Some good news... (1)

TomRK1089 (1270906) | more than 5 years ago | (#23223306)

The article states the usage of PNGs is up. Definitely a plus, since that format was, from what I've read, designed specifically for web use. Other than that, my only impressions or thoughts would be that the use of YouTube embedding likely accounts for a large portion of the external object growth, now that everyone and their mum can do it.

Re:Some good news... (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 5 years ago | (#23223444)

The thing is, there's no reason a PNG has to be larger than the GIF it replaces. The problem is that people encode PNGs poorly (admittedly it's much harder to get right than GIF), like encoding an image as a 24 bit truecolor when all you need is an 8 bit palleted image.

On the other hand, often times the PNG is completely redone and looks a lot nicer than the older GIF, at which point the tradeoff is between quality and file size. I don't think most web users mind an increase in quality, especially if it amounts to something like 100ms of loading time (total) on even a slow DSL link.

Parkinson's Law hold true after 60 years (5, Interesting)

benwiggy (1262536) | more than 5 years ago | (#23223392)

So, we've gone from "work expands to fill the time/space available" to "Internet expands to fill the bandwidth available".

Whatever next? Software expands to fill the hardware available....?

Software expands to fill the hardware available .. (1)

oneiros27 (46144) | more than 5 years ago | (#23224000)

Whatever next? Software expands to fill the hardware available....?
It's been true for years -- just look at all of the extra crap in OSes and applications that would've been unconceivable years ago.

When we had to worry about optimizing for CPU cycles, memory usage and/or application size (lines of code), we'd program in assembler for the inner loops at the very least ... now we use lazy garbage collection and higher level languages so we don't have to spend as much time writing code, because the CPU is cheaper than the programmer's time.

Games are written to make use of every bit of GPU and CPU they possibly can -- if you have a 2 year old machine, it's unrealistic to expect to be able to play the latest FPS out there without needing to upgrade your processor. And with Vista, it's the same for buying a new OS. Even linux and *BSD don't run in nearly the same footprint as they used to. (I remember running a picoBSD box in 1999 that fit on a 1.2MB floppy disk ... I think the machine was a 386).

Pointless Increase? (1)

Hibia (1279782) | more than 5 years ago | (#23223394)

In my opinion, most of the content is flashy crap. Sometimes it isn't, and is a highly useful feature to a website and some even revolve around it [Refer: youtube.com] but that doesn't mean we all have to jump for the bandwidth heavy options. All of my websites pages don't use any shiny bits at all, and have the bare minimum.

I am on a broadband plan, which can be sometimes slow but pages do load at a decent speed. And most of the time, you're only going to a website to retrieve one piece of information, having things gleaming at me never got me to go deeper into the site.

KISS. Keep It Simple, Stupid.

Tell me about it. (1)

caluml (551744) | more than 5 years ago | (#23223424)

Yep, tell me about it. When I'm stuck somewhere away from the PC, I catch up on sites from my Nokia N95. 500kB web pages are getting much more normal now, which is costly, and slow for people on phones.
I know Slashdot has a "Palm" edition, which is very low bandwidth, but it only gives you the stories, and top 5 comments. No posting, no nothing.
Surely the great web-wizards at Slashdot can make something that checks for a "Nokia" or "Symbian" user agent, and handles appropriately?

Behind Moore's law (1)

neurophys (13737) | more than 5 years ago | (#23223446)

According to Moore's law the size should be up between 5 and 6 times, so relatively the pages are shrinking.


Re:Behind Moore's law (1)

77Punker (673758) | more than 5 years ago | (#23223534)

Well, I really doubt people are buying new processors in order to load their web pages faster. Sure, my computer does have heavyweight linear tasks to do, and also plenty of multitasking, but rendering webpages shouldn't be that difficult if I could do it just fine over ten years ago on my Pentium.

Re:Behind Moore's law (1)

neurophys (13737) | more than 5 years ago | (#23224566)

I agree but: Complexity of neural sciences follows Moore's law. It is my impression that most software follows Moore's law e.g. Word processing, so it could be expected that web pages should too. What about connectivity, does it lag?

Think of the modem users! (1)

Dextrously (1086289) | more than 5 years ago | (#23223470)

Back in the days of 28.8K and 56K modem dominance, I used to do everything I could to trim down my site. Before uploading my html, I would remove every character that didn't *have* to be there for it to render properly. Meaning I had a single line html page, heh. Also, my images were trimmed down to be as lossy as possible without losing a noticeable amount of quality. I was not satisfied if my page with html, images, css, and js at a combined size of greater than 300K... which was still a nice long wait for a modem user. I haven't designed a site in years now... a lot of the care in site design seems to have been lost is all I can say.

I cannot play the newest games on my old PC either (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23223554)

The narrowband people should upgrade... or keep surfing the old web on archive.org.

Compression and other methods (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 5 years ago | (#23223590)

I would be curious to know how many web sites actively use the gzip response to compress content. While this does put an extra load on both client and server, it does help save bandwidth. For static pages these could even be cached in compressed form on the server, to help reduce processor load.

As for many pages there is a lot of junk in there that could be stripped out or put into separate documents. This includes CSS or Javascript that is being reused by multiple pages, since this would be downloaded once.

I am sure that there other methods out there to save bandwidth, including forcing Flash developers, and their managers, to use a modem, smartphone or poor quality DSL, to access their web site - let them feel the pain ;)

BTW I can't read the page at the moment, since it is not responding.

Re:Compression and other methods (1)

spikedvodka (188722) | more than 5 years ago | (#23224634)

the big thing is that static pages are slowly going away.

it seems these days almost everything has some sort of DB connection for data

on my webservers i've got mod-gzip active, I haven't checked to see how much it's being used, but you've made me interested

Arrgh! "Narrowband" used on slashdot! (2, Informative)

nodrogluap (165820) | more than 5 years ago | (#23223604)

The opposite of broadband is baseband [wikipedia.org] in computerspeak. I've lamented the misuse of narrowband in this context for years, and now even the geek sites are getting it wrong. Ever heard of 100 base T?

Re:Arrgh! "Narrowband" used on slashdot! (2, Interesting)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#23223980)

People think 'broadband' means 'fast'. Actually broadband can ~= faster. Broadband just means that there a particular signaling path has broader range of frequencies (more bandwidth) than some other signaling path. 768Kbps ADSL is broadband compared with a 56Kpbs modem, but is not broadband compared against a fiber optic connection.

In a more technical sense in telecommunications, though broadband is divided into into channels, where baseband just has one signal over the maximum of the bandwidth of the medium. So while cable is a broadband technology and 100-base-TX is a baseband technology, 100-base-TX is of course, much, much faster than cable.

The opposite of 'narrowband' is 'wideband', which doesn't mean the same thing as 'broadband' despite the fact the 'wide' and 'broad' are synonyms.

Confused yet?

The fault lies with the bloggers (1)

Renegade88 (874837) | more than 5 years ago | (#23223622)

Seriously - have you ever stumbled on a long-running blog that is 1 page long? Ever article the author ever wrote is stacked one after another, complete with more than hundred images. It can take minutes to load the entire page.

I don't know if the blog software is to blame, the clueless blogger, or if it was intentional in order to have the most pointers from Google. If I end up at one I immediately back out -- I don't need to hear the opinion of anyone that maintains a site like that.

The multi-megabyte one page blogs are a scourge on the internet.

Re:The fault lies with the bloggers (1)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | more than 5 years ago | (#23224154)

Ugh, I'd agree, they drive me insane. Finding anything on those pages drives you crazy. If they haven't properly written the links then actually clicking on them causes you to reload the page. FANTASTIC. It's even better when they post an image along with every blog post...

It seems like the opposite is happening a lot too. Where ridiculously ad-intensive sites are breaking up what would take just a little scrolling to show into 6 pages. This is equally annoying. You have to hunt for the "next page" link on every page in among the text ads, related links, and other stories.

How much is necessary? (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 5 years ago | (#23223642)

I'm on broadband (only 2Mbps, but that's fast enough for most downloads and should be plenty quick enough for most browsing) and I've noticed larger download sizes as well. In 95%+ of cases I've not noticed any particular use for the extra bloat other than "we couldn't be bothered doing it properly" or "well, people have broadband".

Excluding places like YouTube where it revolves around big content, and ignoring bloggers who don't have the sense to link to external pages for their videos and so embed a dozen videos on a page, what is the point of all the bloat? Do any of the sites need even a fraction of what they add? A few tens of KB or more for an Ajax/Lightbox/other JS library that you use one minor function from? A huge and badly optimised image? Background images that take up the whole page and aren't properly sliced to remove the bits that aren't necessary or increase the parts that can be repeated?

On the plus side then at least my sites should seem a bit faster when anyone does visit them as I don't cram pages full of crap!

I get more slashdots this way. (1)

kiehlster (844523) | more than 5 years ago | (#23223644)

"the average web page has more than tripled"

On the other end, servers and link speeds have not kept up with the demand resulting in more slashDDOS KO's.

One more reason why courier-style websites still exist.

Narrowband? (5, Insightful)

XorNand (517466) | more than 5 years ago | (#23223686)

Ugh, I hate it when people describe dial-up as "narrowband" in an attempt to sound more technical. The term "broadband" is used to describe the signal encoding, not bandwidth. Therefore the converse of "broadband is "baseband," not narrowband. The opposite of narrowband is "wideband", and refers to something else. Um, k? Glad we have that all cleared up.

Re:Narrowband? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23224296)

Nope. The opposite of "baseband" is "modulated".

Broadband is mostly a marketing term meaning "high throughput." The technical origin of the term broadband is the width of the frequency bands which are used in broadband technologies. It is such a fuzzy term that it is advisable to use more precise terminology if you want to convey anything but the marketing meaning.

POTS modems are generally not baseband devices (hence the name MOulator-DEModulator,) except when they perform quasi-digital transmission on the last mile (V.90). The politically correct term for POTS modem users is "internet access challenged."

Re:Narrowband? (1)

edalytical (671270) | more than 5 years ago | (#23224446)

Most people understand the terms "broadband" and "narrowband" to be relative to the specific medium. Sure there is technical definitions to the terms, but most people understand the casual definitions in context. Language is dynamic, don't get upset about it.

Besides it's understood that "narrowband" refers to dial-up, but it can also mean cellphone connections like Edge or ISDN lines. Thus encompassing the lower bit rate connections. Sure it's an informal use, but at least people are making a simple distinction, which will make it easier to communicate with them about technical issues.

Re:Narrowband? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23224636)

Be that as it may, "narrowband" is coming into more common usage each year to describe dial-up. While it may not be an approved technical term today, it probably will become so in the near future. Technical terms, like all other language, change over time based partially on popular usage. Netscape ISP, for example, routinely describes themselves in marketing materials as a "narrowband ISP".

Yet (1)

Xacid (560407) | more than 5 years ago | (#23223804)

Yet everyone cheers when video games have to be on dvds and computers require small fusion reactors to run the video cards. *rolls eyes* I'd say a 300% increase is fairly decent considering how many webpages now utlized embedded media (movies/audio players), whereas I don't recall that being the case as much 5 years ago. It could be worse, it could still be *all* done in flash.

Google proxy (1)

Enzo1977 (112600) | more than 5 years ago | (#23223922)

I've found using Google's wap proxy site www.google.com/gwt/n to be a nice fix for use on cellphones and narrowband connections. The only problem being it renders the page as a narrow verticle column when using larger screen resolutions.

I can vouch for that (1)

sootman (158191) | more than 5 years ago | (#23223954)

Sounds about right to me. I still spend a lot of my time on a dual-1.25 GHz G4 with OS X 10.3.9 and Safari 1.3 and surfing is often painful on this machine. On a whim I saved the front page of ebay.com, looked at the source, and downloaded every referenced .js file I saw. (I think there were about 10.) It wound up being a total of ONE-THIRD of a megabyte of code. So all that code has to be executed, on top of all the HTML, CSS, and images. No wonder it takes forever and makes the browser unresponsive. Yes, I also have Firefox, but it's painful to use for other reasons. (Yes, I'm one of those people. Not religiously, and I won't argue with you about it, but I've got my preferences.) I do use it to "balance the load"--to open up sites that I know are heavy and that I won't spend a lot of time at.

An example of this madness.... (1)

awjr (1248008) | more than 5 years ago | (#23224004)

As an example pop over to http://www.dilbert.com/ [dilbert.com] and see how a PHB sub-committee has ruined a rather fantastic site by slapping a flash front-end on the toon for the day. The Sunday toon requires you to sense that there is an arrow on the last pane and know there should be more.

Absolutely ridiculous, however thankfully this link is available http://dilbert.com/fast [dilbert.com] for those that still want there fix.

Why can't they just say (3, Insightful)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 5 years ago | (#23224094)

Advertising on the web has tripled over the last five years? It's most definitely what's clogging the pipes...er, tubes.

Sadly, more is not better .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23224176)

clearly, no one would mind if web page design and implementation had improved, however, as far as I can tell, things are now very pretty, and mostly disfunctional. The new http://www.tomshardware.com/index.html [tomshardware.com] is a perfect example of a once great site that has been rendered almost completely useless thanks to a corporate 'redesign".

Can anyone please explain why is that upper management must produce so much evil crap?

Statistics (1)

WorthlessProgrammer (895488) | more than 5 years ago | (#23224210)

do not always indicate the big picture Most of the page metrics seem to based on arithmetic mean, but the 'average' is easy to skew. I would think that a more relavent metric vs time would be median. TFA did mention one instance of this statistic: "In 1997, 90% of videos were under 45 seconds in length (Acharya & Smith 1998). In 2005, the median video was about 120 seconds long (Li et al. 2005). By 2007, the median video was 192.6 seconds in duration (Gill et al. 2007). The median bit rate of web videos grew from 200Kbps in 2005 to 328Kbps on YouTube in 2007. So by late 2007, the median video weighed in at over 63MB in file size. On YouTube, the average video size is 10MB, with over 65,000 new videos added every day." But does the 'reatime' video length account for compression vs resolution in current video file formats ? I would like to know if the actual download time vs. median file size ratio has significantly increased.

If you have to use dial up... (1)

The Frogstar (1189619) | more than 5 years ago | (#23224292)

...use http://loband.org/ [loband.org]

My brother in law helped design it for third world countries with slow dial up, so that they can interact with the web at large, but I found another good niche for it.

For half a year I worked on a luxury yacht, doing mostly blue water sailing to the high latitudes. Currently the only reasonably priced satellite connections are the Inmarsat B Fleet range, with a maximum speed equivalent to Dual ISDN.

Trouble is, that costs about $20 a minute, so instead the crew would be forced to use a packet switching service with a maximum speed of 33.6kbps. Surfing the web at that speed is simply unbearable, but if you put the URL into loband you can actually surf most sites at a comfortable speed.

We used it mostly for navigating the image heavy NOAA and Canadian Ice Service home pages until we found the chart we wanted then copy and pasting the link into wget. That way if the yacht suddenly rolled and the connection was severed it wouldn't have been for nothing.

Once over 80 degrees latitude, Inmarsat B drops below the horizon, and you have to use Iridium for data connections at 9.6kbps! Try surfing the normal web with that.

loband is an absolute life saver.

Design objectives (1)

Wowsers (1151731) | more than 5 years ago | (#23224304)

I design the graphics and code for the sites I build. See what response you get when you have a fairly basic looking page which does use properly compressed graphics which loads REAL fast.

Where's all the cr@p like Java / Flash / embedded video!!! Sometimes you despair.

Not everyone uses high-speed internet, and I find it insulting to design large pages that take a while to download, and eat up a viewers bandwidth allowance (as well as your own servers allowance if you use off-site hosting).

Don't forget ASP.NET viewstate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23224424)

The original article fails to adequately factor in the overhead inherent in the very large number of generated pages on the web such as those served up by ASP.NET web sites. In ASP.NET, significant overhead occurs because the system stuffs large amounts of (superfically encrypted) form data in hidden fields (known as "viewstate") between subsequent round trips to the server. This can quickly become very large due to overuse of viewstate by inexperienced developers. Failure to reduce round trips can make the problem worse.

From MSDN:
"The __VIEWSTATE hidden form field adds extra size to the Web page that the client must download. For some view state-heavy pages, this can be tens of kilobytes of data, which can require several extra seconds (or minutes!) for modem users to download."

I can only assume that similar overhead occurs in other similar systems (JavaServer Pages, Cold Fusion).

It's not clear to me whether the article takes these types of pages into account. Either way, the author appears to have missed the boat. If such pages were not included, then the problem as described poorly represents the real world. Many banks and e-commerce sites use the proprietary systems mentioned above to build their online applications, and so the average narrowband user will indeed encounter at least some of these types of pages. And if these types of pages were in fact included in the data, then the author of the article completely missed the reason for much larger page sizes in those particular cases, for reasons that would not apply to standard static .HTM pages.

Left behind? Or in better shape than ever? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23224602)

It could be argued that narrowband users have better options than ever before. Mobile devices (phones) are narrow band. Consequently, the most traffic'ed websites support a mobile version, low bandwidth alternative, of their sites. Examples: YouTube, Facebook, MySpace, Google, Amazon, etc.

Half the time I prefer to hit the mobile version of a site, anyway, as it provides a better meat-to-bone ratio.


How do you determine this? (1)

brennanw (5761) | more than 5 years ago | (#23224674)

I mean, I can look at file sizes on my server and see that if I add all the graphics and html and css up into a single number then my front page averages 100-120K (which is mostly taken up by my webcomic, and the css file is only counted once for the entire site so even though it's much larger than I'd prefer -- nearly 20K -- it's much better than it could be) but that doesn't factor in banner ads, or any of the extra files Drupal includes that I can't immediately keep track of, or any other factors that I may not have thought of.

So is there a site where you can toss in your URL and it reads your page size? Sort of like those sites that will validate your xhtml and css for you?
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account