Web performance and Facebook's Instant Articles

John Gruber wrote down his initial thoughts on Facebook's Instant Articles. This portion regarding performance stood out:

I’m intrigued by the emphasis on speed. Not only is native mobile code winning for app development, but with things like Instant Articles, native is making the browser-based web look like a relic even just for publishing articles. If I’m right about that, it might pose a problem even for my overwhelmingly-text work at Daring Fireball. Daring Fireball pages load fast, but the pages I link to often don’t. I worry that the inherent slowness of the web and ill-considered trend toward over-produced web design is going to start hurting traffic to DF.

Maybe I can't see past my web developer bias, but I don't believe this is a death knell for the "open web." I think this is a wake-up call; there is no reason that Instant Articles should have such a speed advantage over a webpage.

Crafting a high-performing web experience for mobile is not easy, but it's not so impossibly hard that Instant Articles is the only solution. With Instant Articles, Facebook is saving publishers from themselves - notice the lack of advertising, over-the-top branding, or massive image slideshows. Instant Articles isn't faster because native beats the web. It's faster because disciplined, curated content wins over content shoved between 1MB of advertisements.


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