Monthly Archives: November 2012

lyteShare.js high-performance social widget for your sharing pleasure

Based on last week’s performance analysis of popular sharing-services (AddThis, ShareThis and Lockerz/AddToAny) I decided to continue working on my high-performance & privacy-respecting but rather ad-hoc lyteShare alternative. The result is a 1.6Kb JavaScript file (or the non-minimized version here) that, upon being included in a HTML-file, looks for a div like this one:

<div class="lyteShare twitter googleplus facebook"></div>

and adds sharing-buttons for Twitter, Google+ and Facebook to that div (Linkedin, Yammer and Tumblr are also supported). You can see lyteShare.js in action on this test-page. The test result is great when compared to that of the big boys;

ShareThis AddThis Lockerz/ AddToAny lyteShare.js
Document Complete 0.677s 0.487s 1.352s 0.364s
Start Render 0.715s 0.279s 0.304s 0.275s
Fully Loaded 1.507s 3.718s 1.407s 0.596s
Full Download size 70 KB 384 KB  111 KB 9 KB
WebPageTest URL sharethis result addthis result  lockerz/ addtoany result lyteshare result
3rd party tracking? yes  yes  yes no

Now the question is; does the world really need yet another social sharing widget solution, even if it is easy, fast & not a vehicle for 3rd party behavioral web tracking? Does the world (and this blog) even need social sharing widgets at all?

Sharing widgets harm your website’s performance

[UPDATE: I reworked lyteShare into a standalone javascript-thingie]

Doing Web Performance can be so easy, really! I was asked to do a performance analysis of a new website and one of the things I didn’t like was the fact that the footer contained social media sharing buttons using the ShareThis widget. I’m not a fan of sharing widgets in general, as they tend to slow webpage loading and rendering down and as they almost invariably come with “3rd party tracking” for behavioral marketing purposes.

So why not do a quick comparison between a simple page with ShareThis, AddThis, AddToAny/ Lockerz share and one which uses inline javascript to render the buttons? For that purpose I quickly created lyteShare, an inline JavaScript thingie that dynamically adds the Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus sharing buttons after the load event has been fired. I’m not going to bother you with code (but you can look at the page’s source here if you want)  it’s probably far from perfect and it sure isn’t pretty, but it works and the tell it all.

ShareThis AddThis Lockerz/ AddToAny inline JS (“lyteShare”)
Document Complete 0.677s 0.487s 1.352s 0.283s
Start Render 0.715s 0.279s 0.304s 0.298s
Fully Loaded 1.507s 3.718s 1.407s 0.500s
Full Download size 70 KB 384 KB  111 KB 7 KB
Test Report sharethis result addthis result  lockerz/ addtoany result lyteshare result
3rd party tracking? yes  yes  yes no

So yep, ShareThis, AddThis  and AddToAny/ Lockerz (and all sharing widgets really) are performance-hogs that also track your visitors’ every move while offering little or no added value to what anyone could do with some simple JavaScript (or server-side code, for that matter).

Conclusion: if performance is of any importance for your website (and it should be), you really have to avoid using 3rd party widgetery!

As found on the web (November 7th)

blog (feed #46)
generic (feed #49)
generic (feed #49)
generic (feed #49)
generic (feed #49)
frank posted Do You Wanna Touch.
generic (feed #49)
blog (feed #46)
generic (feed #49)