Someone asked me today what my thoughts are on pre-fetching pages. They referenced this article on HTML5 visibility API and Page Pre-rendering.
*WARNING*, personal opinions ahead: To be honest, I haven’t thought that much about it since I’m more of a front-end developer and I tend to think of myself as a relatively patient person and an extra second of page load time, while annoying at times, isn’t a big deal. I think we are all a bit impatient when it comes to the internet anyway. It seems like everyone wants information now, no delay, no excuse, NOW. To me that’s just something else to increase your stress level and blood pressure, which I don’t need.
Anyway, back to the point. What is your take on this? I’ve seen that even having and using a wifi connection can use up the battery of your mobile device faster. So would prefetching two extra site pages, that the user may not even be interested in looking at, make that much of a difference in terms of browsability and/or battery life?
It seems like only one page can be pre-rendered per tab. I don’t think this will have a negative effect on mobile devices, because it’s up to the developer to use the feature. A developer can add a 2 megabyte <img /> file and resize it to 100 x 100 via CSS. Nothing is stopping developers from doing this, but you obviously won’t do this if you’re a ‘good’ developer – Well, in my eyes at least :p
I think this could be very cool when used correctly (step 1 loads step 2, etc). I’m not exactly sure how this loads though, I’m guessing it starts preloading after the current page has loaded.
To sum up my opinion: I think it could be great for web-apps, but I think people would mostly ignore it for normal websites.