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I build things on the Internet. DJ - Producer, Sound engineer, music lover and a general full-time geek! Riding through this world... Made in Italy.


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Optimizing javascript/jQuery loading time!

Joe Maffia

So you created that nice website or web application and would like to go a step further in optimizing the front-end loading time? With some great free tools you can easily optimize your javascript to load 2 or 3 times faster if you are willing to trade the regular way of embedding javascript file in the head document.


Loading script asynchronously

One thing you need to know is that your script tag block the rendering of your page. In fact, it blocks literally anything from happening, when you are downloading and executing one script, not one css file or one image is downloaded. So imagine you got 10 script files loaded in your head with around 300k in size, well the browser need to load them one by one (well in fact 6 at a time in FF and WebKit, and as many as 18 (or more) in IE8. In older browsers it will be one at a time. ), and execute them one by one, by that time there is a good chance your page would have already render the HTML and CSS.

The first and very easy thing you can do is loading them just before the body end.

That way, at the very least, the CSS and the html will be loaded before the javascript. One thing really cool about doing this is that the jQuery DOM ready statement becomes obsolete. Your html is already ready because you parsed it before any script tag. 


Going one step further with labJS

With LABjs you can load your js files completely asynchronous. The difference with the previous example is that even if your scripts are at the bottom, they are still downloading one by one. With this tool, you can load your scripts simultaneously and specify an executing order. From my tests with dynatrace, the javascript load 3x more rapidly using LABjs, and my page is loading 15% faster (for about 15 js files) on IE8. 


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