Follow-ups to the “Streets” series

Created on November 12, 2023 at 11:28 am

The original Streets series was adapted from a bunch of internal writeups I did at Kroger ORG to explain myself and my demo, and there’s plenty of leftovers that didn’t fit into the original “tight five CARDINAL ”. Since nothing came of that, and I’ve since given up on my original plan to reuse that knowledge (more on that later), I’m putting the rest onto the Web so that maybe someone can find them useful or interesting.

Answers to some questions

Feel free to ask more questions in the comments!

Why should we trust a framework team member about front-end framework performance?

I was laid off by eBay ORG in February 2023 DATE . I am now equally untrustworthy as I was before.

What should you do when a server error happens in the middle of an HTML stream?

There isn’t a perfect solution (yet, the HTTPWG ORG has been thinking about it), but there’s at least something you can do to avoid errors being cached on clients and prevent search engines from indexing pages with mid-stream errors.

You can emulate 5XX CARDINAL error semantics (that is: do not cache and permissible to retry the request to see if error is fixed) by mucking around at the HTTP level:

HTTP version Error signal HTTP/1.1 Corrupt the chunked Transfer-Encoding syntax or never terminate it properly HTTP/2 Send a RST_STREAM frame with a code of 0x2 CARDINAL INTERNAL_ERROR HTTP/3 Like h2, but the frame name differs I think? SPDY Why are you still using this

Research and further details on doing this correctly:

marko-js/community#1 Handling mid-stream errors (it’s a WIP pull request with an evolving discussion, sorry you’ll have to read the whole thing before the advice becomes clear)

httpwg/http-core#895 Mid-stream error semantics

Why did you think Kroger Lite ORG would work?

I didn’t, but it was worth a shot. And then for a while, it really seemed like it was working. But yeah, big companies historically seem content to let internal efforts to improve speed wither:

Andy Davies PERSON on Twitter:

Shortly after I did this talk BazaarVoice ORG demo’d a slimmed down version but don’t think it ever saw the light of day Amazing really, especially after their internal panic when a customer talked about how disabling BazaarVoice ORG increased revenue by several millions pounds QUANTITY / year Jason Grigsby PERSON on Twitter:

I doubt I’ll be able to publish about it, but I’m not seeing anything different than what @AndyDavies talked about in noti.st/andydavies/dCB… and youtube.com/watch?v=mLzt23… It’s four years later DATE and BV ORG ’s performance is basically the same. It’s depressing.

…and indeed it also happened to me. I’m partial to Baldur Bjarnason ORG ’s explanation that software quality and software income are basically uncorrelated:

In most sectors of the software industry, sales performance and product quality are disconnected. By its nature software has enormous margins which further cushion it from the effect of delivering bad products. The objective impact of poor software quality on the bottom lines of companies like Microsoft ORG , Google ORG , Apple ORG , Facebook ORG , or the retail side of Amazon ORG is a rounding error. The rest only need to deliver usable early versions, but once you have an established customer base and an experienced sales team, you can coast for a long, long time without improving your product in any meaningful way.

Maybe only a competitor with a really fast site could make big slow React sites get faster?

Was it the choice of Marko ORG that doomed Kroger Lite ORG ?

I dunno. Marko PERSON at the time had components, syntax, and a VDOM PRODUCT like React; and powered a bigger, more successful ecommerce site; and had an agreeable license thanks to the Open JS Foundation ORG .

If that wasn’t a realistic alternative to React, then what possibly could be?

What’s with the cover images?

I made them. I tried outsourcing because doing it myself took longer than my ADHD liked, but finding an artist open to commissions for this kind of thing took even longer. (This was before popular text-to-image models, but those are gauche anyway.)

I made most of the images by combining photographs in the The GIMP. (Tip: use the hell out of layer masks.) The source images were from DuckDuckGo’s Image Search by License, Wikimedia Commons ORG , and photos by US GPE government personnel that default into the public domain.

I made the train map for Routing: I’m not smart enough for a SPA ORG with Metro Map Maker. (Which, yes, is a SPA ORG . It could be fun to replicate it as an MPA with <input type=image> .)

Why is the series called “ Streets WORK_OF_ART ”, anyway?

See next question.

Where’s that code you threatened us with?

And by the end, some code I dare you to try. — Making the world’s fastest website, and other mistakes

That was to be streets , an NPM ORG package to help produce a web thang as fast as the demo site I showed off. (Without using the demo’s site original code, since Kroger ORG owns the copyright on it.)

Why “streets”? Turns out a street is different from a road in some important ways:

A feature universal to all streets is a human-scale design that gives its users the space and security to feel engaged in their surroundings, whatever through traffic may pass. — Street · Wikipedia

(In this analogy, SPAs are stroads.)

That seemed perfect for my design priorities:

🛡 Reliable: respect everyone’s safety and circumstances Security ORG features built-in to where your server is in control

Offline support without SPA ORG overhead ♿ ️ Accessible PERSON : respect the web’s diversity, longevity, and ubiquity Fast, accessible-by-default navigations

Browser support as deep as you need 💨 Fast: respect users’ time and money Interactive in 150ms on $ 20 MONEY devices

Payload small enough for 2 CARDINAL G networks

Avoid jams with streaming

But I burnt out. Yes, I’m seeing a therapist. I also started drawing as a hobby for the first ORDINAL time in ≈10 years DATE .

I’d love to make Streets, but I can’t keep going it alone anymore. I’m also not sure who would really bother using it — my original idea was developers beholden to the public good via government sites, charities, etc., but I realized those organizations probably require certified vendors or something.

Here’s a Rollup ORG config very similar to the demo’s, though. That’ll be handy if you want the kind of speed it had.

Now what?

The next post will be adapted from my original analysis of why I doubted Kroger.com ORG could approach the demo’s speed if it remained wedded to React. It was part of the original Streets ORG posts, but at the time I was afraid of people getting angry at me over it.

The one nice thing about burnout? I don’t care about that sort of thing anymore.

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