Updates and Filesize

I deployed the latest version of my blog software this morning, and I improved a few simple things:

  • Moved around some of the logged-in links (none of you will see these, yet) for a better layout
  • Added some preferences functionality (none of you will see this, yet)
  • Added an About page which has a very short description of what this site is
  • Added better styling for blockquote blocks
  • Enabled gzip compression in nginx

On that last note, I want to bring up some things I find interesting. First, I have been a long-standing opponent of SPAs (single-page applications) for a bevy of reasons, but a chief complaint had always been filesize. My tiny blog React app after concatenation and minifaction (common JS production-grade processing) landed at a hefty ~775KB. I have high resolution images hosted at less volume than that.

So, my natural inclination is to enable gzip compression on the server, which I did, and that got the filesize down to ~200KB. While that sounds great (200 is much less than 775), when looking at a broader context it still comes up shy of great. jQuery, for instance, is a commonly used library and is often lamented as “too big” (as well as largely unnecessary now), but measures up at ~35KB before compression, and likely that number gets down to the single-digit range after.

“Apples and Oranges!” many of you will shout! “You are comparing a utility library to a fully fledged single page application’s controller code [and entire framework codebase as well]”

That is fair.

Maybe 200KB after compression is reasonable for a blog of this size built on ReactJS. My primary concern is not the current size, but that of the size in the future.

Today, the only JavaScript loaded is 249.26KB compressed (774.73KB uncompressed). The next time I build in a new module or do a new release, I am going to note what the size of the file becomes. My hope, and maybe this is naive, is that ReactJS is most of that bloat, but I get to add tons of components relatively cheaply and that a much larger production application would avoid overly long waiting periods for the transmission of code.


I just added a bunch of title stuff and created a base class from which all Page components extend, and now the build is 252.55KB compressed (787.18 uncompressed). The file I added was about 2KB in size prior to transpiling, so there is a chance that transpilation blew it up to roughly 8KB in size, but there were other changes as well… so it is hard to say for sure.

Call me cautiously optimistic at this point!