Tim Wasson - web nerd guy.

Optimizing Atomicast

I run a little internet podcast along with a buddy of mine, and found that as we collected more episodes, site load times slowed down. This was unacceptable.

Came in at just under 2.5 megs for 1 page load. This was clearly unacceptable, and the problem would only grow as time went on. 

The biggest offender was the images. iTunes requires a 1400X1400 JPEG for each episode, and I really wanted to display the episode artwork. But as we hit our 12th episode, each episode's artwork was slowing down the process. At around 100K each, that needed to change. 

I implemented this image resizing script to handle automatic resizing and server-side caching of the resized images. The result is pretty striking. 

Instead of 50-120K per image, we're looking at 17-50K per image. Spread over many episodes, the difference is substantial.

The main logo image had similar problems. iTunes required a large JPEG, so instead of using the iTunes image I created a custom PNG, resized it to 900X900 and sent it through tinyPNG, sending it from 130K down to 21K. 

Unfortunately I could not get rid of jQuery or jPlayer, which the site relies on for many interactive elements and playing of the episodes. I could also not get rid of Google Analytics. In theory I can get rid of Font Awesome, but in playing with icons and SVGs, I am not convinced I'd save any space in doing so. Especially since Font Awesome is stored via CDN, I think using that actually speeds things up a bit. 

The resulting changes took me from 2.5 megs total to 600K, or approximately 25% of its former, bloated self.

While making these changes, I also tweaked some CSS and JS for some cross-platform compatibility. All in all, a great performance boost! 

Next up, I'm going to introduce some lazy-loading to only load episode artwork when necessary, because for now it loads artwork even if you can't see it. Next revision, that's comin'!