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A Case Study in Content Orchestration


Prevailing wisdom in web technology holds that in order to achieve faster performance, applications must be pared down. Apps today are heavy and bloated, the idea goes, and “lighter and simpler” is the prudent technologist’s new mantra.

We’ll admit it’s a pleasantly intuitive idea. While internet connections are getting faster and hardware is constantly improving, web apps are actually getting slower – so something is clearly wrong. And when looking for the source of this dissonance, the obvious culprits are high-resolution images, JavaScript-enabled features, and third-party ads, trackers and scripts. This proliferation of rich content has led to the average web app growing threefold in weight since 2012; it makes sense to blame it for the problem of widespread slow performance. This assumption, however, misses a bigger problem.

In our view, it’s the means by which we approach optimization that has veered off course, not the contents of the apps themselves. While the creators of web apps are not entirely blameless, they’ve largely followed a natural progression in adding functionality and fidelity. In contrast, methods of application delivery and optimization available in the market have scarcely evolved. Applying these outdated optimization techniques to today’s complex applications has left users frustrated, wasted development resources, and burned technology budgets with negative-ROI solutions. This is the real problem, and its only viable solution is to modernize our approach to optimization.

To prove our thesis we’ll show that it’s possible to use next-generation “content orchestration” techniques to create a brilliant user experience for all users with an application that on paper should be bloated and slow. And we’ll do it without reducing functionality.

But first, some background. What’s the current state of optimization?

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