Tutorial :Calculating Javascript Library Load Times



Question:

I am trying to compare the performance of several Javascript libraries. Although measuring transaction times helps to determine the working performance of a library, it doesn't account for the time required to download and initiate the individual libraries. I'm looking for suggestions for the best method of determining the load time other than using tools such as firebug, etc. I would like to be able to setup a controlled environment where a page could be loaded n-times, while capturing the start and end times. Should the Javascript library contents be included in the page rather than as an include file, or is there a better way?


Solution:1

Reading this article by John Resig on JavaScript Benchmark Quality before you start anything may help you out.

After that, I would suggest that you might try requesting the javascript from your sever, getting, and timing how long the eval(responseJS); takes. That way, you are only timing how long the Library takes to load rather than that plus the time it takes to download from the server.


Solution:2

The libraries should always be an external file, included via a script tag, either on their own or with the site's scripting also rolled in. Minified and packed files will have a smaller size attachment. Delivered via a CDN is optimal as well, as the CDN will have it cached. Many of the popular frameworks are available over Google's CDN.

You must also account for not only the library, but the application using the library. The quality of the JS in the libraries is (typically) top notch, but what about the quality of the code tapping into those libraries, or even the code of plugins which may not be developed by the library authors. You also have to look at what browser is being used. As much as we hate it, most of these cross browser libraries are optimized for best performance out of Internet Explorer, because it retains 85+% market share.

The performance of any library is really a trade off. Deciding what is acceptable in order to get your application to do whatever it is that you want to do.


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