Tag Archives: widget

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 webpagetest.org-results tell it all.

ShareThisAddThisLockerz/ AddToAnyinline JS (“lyteShare”)
Document Complete0.677s0.487s1.352s0.283s
Start Render0.715s0.279s0.304s0.298s
Fully Loaded1.507s3.718s1.407s0.500s
Full Download size70 KB384 KB 111 KB7 KB
Test Reportsharethis resultaddthis result lockerz/ addtoany resultlyteshare result
3rd party tracking?yes yes yesno

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!

Hey! Widgets! Leave our privacy alone!

After having NoScript disable the Facebook Like widget a couple of weeks ago, I felt really bad for Mark Zuckerberg who must have been feeling singled out by my actions. If only to make all widgets equal and as I don’t use them anyway, I’ve now told NoScript (only available in Firefox) to also block the Google+ and Twitter widgets with the following ABE User ruleset (under NoScript Advanced options):

# also stop google+ widget
Site plus.google.com
Accept from plus.google.com
Deny INCLUSION(SCRIPT, OBJ, SUBDOC)


# and twitter
Site platform.twitter.com
Accept from twitter.com
Deny INCLUSION(SCRIPT, OBJ, SUBDOC)

The bulleted WP YouTube Lyte bulletin

It’s been a while since my last “state of WP YouTube Lyte” post, so here are the most important tidbits since;

Feedback is welcome; see info in the FAQ for bug reports/ feature requests and feel free to rate and/or report on compatibility on wordpress.org.

And as befits a post about WP YouTube Lyte on a Friday afternoon, here’s a little YouTube from Gold Panda you can start your weekend with;

Snow And Taxis

Watch this video on YouTube.

Put your WordPress-categories back in the tagcloud

When blogging, tags and/or categories allow you to classify your posts. The taxonomy you create that way, allows searchbots (and human readers) to better understand what the post is about and to find related posts.

category cloud widget config screenshotEver since the release of WordPress 2.3 (in sept. 2007), you can specify both categories and tags for your posts. More or less following the ideas put forward by Lorelle-on-WordPress, I use categories as the main classification-method (putting posts in a hierarchical, directory-like structure) and add one-off keywords as tags. The only disadvantage: as tags are one-offs, the default tagcloud-widget in WordPress generates a dense put useless heatmap.

If you’re in the same situation, you might benefit from this little WordPress-plugin I wrote (well, …copy/pasted, actually, 80% is code straight from the original WP-tagcloud widget) to solve my tagcloud-woes. Once unzipped in your plugins-folder, “category cloud” will provide you with a widget which can not only generate a “tagcloud” or a “catcloud”, but also a “cat-and-tagcloud”. And because the default “general”-category might skew your catcloud-results or because you might prefer to have that NSFW-tag not show up, you can exclude tags and categories from being shown as well by entering their ID in the appropriate input box.