As soon as I deployed my code, the lead dev launched webpagetest.com and entered our domain name. The code was working perfectly, but he needed to make sure that the website was still fast. A perfect score of A or we would have to get back to work. Granted the company was in the process of being sold for 1.1 billion dollars.
This was in 2013. Speed was a common theme of frontend development. Every time we wrote code we tested on all the browsers we could get our hands on. And when the mobile web became a thing, we also started testing on several phones. At work, it was a business requirement to make our page snappy on the cheapest of phones. On the web, all JS tutorials were prefaced with speed. You would get laughed out of the room if you delivered a 1MB js file.
Speed was not a nice to have; it was a must-have. And Google favored faster websites, content was king and we obliged.
So what about small files? How did we go from obsessively optimizing for performance to seemingly neglecting it altogether? Is file size and speed something we still need to worry about?
Something has changed on the web, and it may be for the best. The web has shifted from primarily consumed on a desktop, to mostly mobile devices. And the shift on mobile devices cannot be ignored.
Cheap phones are getting good. And good phones are getting cheap — MKBHD
However, the web doesn't feel noticeably sluggish either. While we've certainly gained in computing power, we continue to inundate the digital highways with even larger volumes of data..
Coming from the old web, I still try to make my files as small as possible. I still test my webpages on Webpagetest. I still optimize my images to make them small and high quality at the same time. A powerful device that is not pushed to the limit can do so much more. We still need to care about performance, and I hope there won't be a day where you need to download over 1MB to read a post here.