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Category Archives: Personal

Things that have to do with life.

Dietrich recently posted about the memory usage of social plugins, and I found the results rather surprising because, at least in the case of Facebook, I didn’t think it ever loaded enough code to consume 20+MB of memory.

When I first learned about social plugins, I thought that they were a really cool idea and thought that they had a lot of potential. If they use a ton of memory though, I feel like it’s a bit of a deal breaker to using them. So, being the curious engineer that I am, I decided to test this out myself. I conducted these tests in a new Firefox profile and I was not signed into Facebook (to try and replicate the experience Dietrich had).

One Like Button

For my first test, I had a very simple page for the default like social plugin pointing to my site.

like page result

One like button doesn’t seem to add much, which is good!

Two Like Buttons

The next test I tried was duplicating the like button so it showed up twice. This code is a bit naive since I duplicate a <div> element with the same id and don’t need to include the JavaScript twice. However, it shows what someone who would just copy and paste will end up with, which I think is valuable.

like page (two button) result

As you can see, memory usage nearly doubled. This is a bit surprising since the exact same JavaScript is included. I would expect there to not be any additional shapes, but that nearly doubles. scripts and mjit-code also all double, and I would expect that at least the latter to not.

A more interesting version of this test would be to not include the JavaScript twice, and just add one additional <fb:like> button that doesn’t like the same url.

two like button test results

Interestingly, memory usage did not change significantly from the duplicate resource case! So, what exactly is going on here? This page ends up loading four additional resources:

File HTTP Status Size Mime Type
all.js 304 143KB application/x-javascript
login_status.php 200 58b text/html
like.php 200 33KB text/html
like.php 200 33KB text/html

That is 209KB of HTML and JavaScript that is being sent for two like buttons. Something tells me that part of the problem here is that Facebook is sending more than it needs to for this (I did not look into exactly what was being sent). The good news is that 143KB comes from the browser’s cache.

Send Button

The last test I did was the send button pointing to my website.

send test results

Given that the like button test includes a send button as well, I’m not surprised to see that this used even less memory.

Summary

I think there are are two problems here:

  1. Firefox should create less shapes and do a better job of not duplicating the same JavaScript code in a given compartment.
  2. Facebook needs to send less data down for their social plugins. I have a hard time believing that that much JavaScript is needed in order to display a like button, a share button, and a faces of your friends who have liked a page.

It’d be interesting to see how these numbers change when you are logged in, but I don’t have time to do that analysis. I’ve provided all the code and steps I used to get these results, so it shouldn’t be too hard for someone else to come along and do that if they are interested. Another interesting test would be to see how the Twitter and Google+ integrations break down too (but I leave that as an exercise for the reader).

I’m going to write something that will probably surprise you. I say this because it sure surprised me when I realized I was even considering what I’m doing a possibility. I’m going to be moving on to something a bit different in the mobile space, and it’s going to be a different kind of challenge for me.

June 1st will be my last day at Mozilla. I’ve learned so much over the years working there, and choosing to leave was the hardest decision I’ve had to make. I do not intend to disappear from the project, however, but my activity level will decrease. Feel free to continue to send review requests my way and cc me to bugs you want my opinion on, and I’ll do my best to reply in a timely manner.

So long, and thanks for all the fish.

Last week for Presidents Day, a group of us went around San Francisco to streets with the name of past presidents. Just going to those streets would be boring, of course, so we decided to film ourselves doing things that the given president did not do. It sounds boring, but if you are any sort of history buff, this video may amuse you.

It turns out that SF has a lot of streets with the name of past Presidents, so we spent about six hours walking from street to street. It was a lot of fun though; the weather was great, the people were great, and we got an awesome walking tour of the city.

I’ve been spending the last few train rides to and from work every day trying to figure out how to tether my N900 to my laptop. While Firefox Mobile is nice, there are some things my desktop does better. I first tried using the PC Suite from Nokia, but that wasn’t successful (it apparently doesn’t support the N900). I then tried JoikuSpot, which is in beta. Sadly, I encountered the “phone reboots when clients connect” bug. However, if they fix that, that piece of software looks very promising. I finally went down the road to Bluetooth Networking.

In order to pull this off, you’ll need to get a handy little application from the Application Manager. Under the Network section, look for “Bluetooth Dial-Up Networking” in the Extras repository. After you install that, you will want to restart your device. Next, pair your N900 with you laptop (this varies per operating system. I used Windows 7 and these instructions will assume that). After pairing the device, add a new Dial-Up connection on that modem. The phone number will be *99# and you will leave the user name and password blank. Save the connection, but cancel it when it tries to dial (it will fail anyway). Now, launch the device manager, and find the Bluetooth modem that should have been installed when you paired the N900 to your computer. Open its properties, and go to the Advanced tab and set the Extra initialization commands to at+cgdcont=1,"IP","epc.tmobile.com". After this, you should be able to connect to the Internet though your phone.

To prove that it works, I wrote this on the train, and I’m posting while still on the train. :P

I found this particular wiki page to very useful in setting this up, but I found translating the instructions to Windows 7 to be a bit difficult at times.

I semi-recently did some work to add a nice new feature for Firefox 3.1. The feature is “Forget About This Site,” and is a nice addition to our Clear Private Data and Private Browsing features. Any time you view a history entry (in the history sidebar or in the Library) you get a handy context menu item:
Forget About This Site Screenshot

That’s right! You can now selectively clear data from a domain (and all of it’s sub domains) with two clicks of the mouse! This tries to clear everything we know about a site, with the exception of bookmarks. There are still a number of issues pending with this to make it even more powerful (help wanted!), but as it stands, it’s pretty nice. I am, of course, biased.

All this work made it in for Firefox 3.1 beta 2, but I’ve been lazy and am just now getting to it.