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'Why I Decided To Disable AMP On My Site' (alexkras.com) 145

Web developer Alex Kras on Monday listed a number of reasons why he dislikes Google's AMP project, and why he pulled support for it on his website. From his post: Back in the day we used to have WAP pages -- specific web pages that were presented only to mobile devices. Opting into AMP, for publishers, is kind of like going back to those days. Instead of using responsive design (making sure that one version of the site works well on all devices) publishers are forced to maintain two versions of each page -- their regular version for larger devices and mobile phones that don't use Google and the AMP version. The benefit of AMP is that it imposes tough restrictions on content, making it load fast. The issue with this approach is that AMP becomes a subset of the original content. For example, user comments are often removed. I also find the way images load in AMP to be buggy. AMP tries to load an image only when it becomes visible to the user, rendering a white square instead of the image. In my experience I've seen it fail fairly regularly, leaving the article with an empty white square instead of the image. [...] It's up to publishers to decide if they want to add AMP support on their site. Users, however, don't have an option to turn AMP off. It would be nice if Google provided a user level setting to turn results rendered as AMP off. Unfortunately, even if they were to add this option, it wouldn't help much when Twitter of Facebook would decide to server AMP. Further reading: Kill Google AMP before it KILLS the web - The Register, The Problem With Google AMP, 2 Billion Pages On Web Now Use Google's AMP, Pages Now Load Twice As Fast. John Gruber on open web: Fuck Facebook.
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'Why I Decided To Disable AMP On My Site'

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Now if only every other web developer in the world followed suit, and also abandoned the numerous other methods of forcing browsers into crappy "mobile site" ghettos, instead of designing their pages properly, the world would be a better place.

    • designing their pages properly

      Then what's the "proper" way to accommodate the fat fingers of users of touch screen devices without needing excessive scrolling for users with more precise pointing devices? Adding padding around links improves usability on touch screens but increases the scrolling for mouse or trackpad users. And controlling the padding with a CSS media query breakpoint based on viewport width doesn't help because a touch-operated iPad held in landscape orientation has more pixels than a trackpad-operated netbook.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        The DEVICE knows if it is using a touchscreen or a mouse. It is therefore up to the device to render properly, and the web designer should simply not get in the way of this. I.e. don't think you can force a particular layout so don't even try.

      • The answer was in the article. Read it sometime.
        • by tepples ( 727027 )

          It's unclear to which part of the article you are referring. I searched inside the document "I decided to disable AMP on my site" by Alex Kras [alexkras.com] for the words "touch" and "finger", and neither word was there. I searched for the word "link", and none of the results mentioned adapting link size based on whether the browser uses touch or mouse. Could you quote a sentence from the relevant portion?

          • Because its not supposed to be up to the page what the size of links are. Its supposed to be up to the browser. That was the original intent of HTML, of the Web itself.
            br. Disabling AMP doesnt solve the problem that browsers arent reformatting automatically, nor can a web page developer solve that problem. The browser authors need to step up and stop trying to be the next PDF.
      • @media
        • by tepples ( 727027 )

          And controlling the padding with a CSS media query breakpoint based on viewport width doesn't help because a touch-operated iPad held in landscape orientation has more pixels than a trackpad-operated netbook.

          @media

          Could you be more specific as to which CSS media query expression you refer?

          • Expressions using min-width and max-width specified in pixels are a good starting point, as those are compared to the Viewport size reported by the browser. Where you go from there depends entirely on your design needs

            All iPad models present a 1024x768 viewport in landscape mode, regardless of how many actual pixels there are. If your content is so crammed together that you can't tap a link with a fat finger on a 7" screen, you need to work on your design a bit.

            The shittiest Chromebook I can find prese
            • by tepples ( 727027 )

              All iPad models present a 1024x768 viewport in landscape mode

              So did my first couple PCs (an Acer TravelMate laptop and a Dell Dimension desktop), which had a 1024x768 pixel display and a mouse. My netbook (a Dell Inspiron mini 1012) also has a 1024-pixel-wide viewport because its display is 1024x600 pixels, but it has a trackpad. A full-size PC is likely to have a 960-pixel-wide viewport and a mouse when the user "snaps" a browser window to half of a 1920x1080 pixel screen.

              The shittiest Chromebook I can find presents a 1280x720 viewport.

              According to the site you linked [viewportsizes.com], the Nexus 10 tablet in landscape orientation also presents as

              • And if you really can't make it work, consider also using min-width and max-width expressions based on physical size in addition to pixels, so you're measuring physical and virtual capabilities of the device. Even Windows can work accurately with those now.

            • by tepples ( 727027 )

              And if you really can't make it work, consider also using min-width and max-width expressions based on physical size in addition to pixels, so you're measuring physical and virtual capabilities of the device. Even Windows can work accurately with those now.

              I'm failing to understand how high DPI implies pointer precision, unless you're recommending targeting specific models of Apple kit. Laptops and Android tablets vary so much in DPI that the high end of tablets, which lack a trackpad, is likely to overlap the low end of laptops, which have a trackpad.

      • Did you just assume the size of my screen and the size of my pointing device? Stop. All bets are off on both.
        • by tepples ( 727027 )

          Did you just assume the size of my screen and the size of my pointing device?

          Until web browsers support CSS4 media queries, web browsers have to use CSS3 media queries and assume that any device with a viewport narrower than 26em or so has a touch screen, which is a coarse pointer.

      • by allo ( 1728082 )

        Browsers need to help there. Chrome does a very good job. firefox not that good. But the worst are websites, which disable the zoomin on purpose, because they know better what fontsize is good for me.

  • by Ecuador ( 740021 ) on Monday June 26, 2017 @10:33AM (#54691553) Homepage

    The vast majority of websites become crippled when I browse their mobile version, and I am talking about those "responsive designs" (which the summary seems to indicate they are the "good option"), not just AMP. Even on my 5" phone - i.e. a prime target for "mobile web" content - I usually have to switch to the regular website to retain functionality that I consider essential (but the designers apparently do not). I don't mind having to pan & zoom a bit when everything I need is right there on the page - the only difference is that I use landscape mode.
    And that includes slashdot...

    • That's what AMP is supposed to fix. "Responsive Design" means "Load the whole god damned thing, all 4 gigabytes, all the massive JavaScript, everything; then apply CSS to show it friendly-like on a Mobile Phone so it doesn't look like shit." AMP provides an alternate location, so your cell phone downloads only half a megabyte of crap, and starts downloading the 15MB of images as you scroll the page. It can also supply cut-back JavaScript and skip loading scripting blocks for high-intensity features that

      • If the CSS loads all the desktop-version images, it's badly coded and/or the browser doesn't use the CSS properly.

        • by tepples ( 727027 )

          If the CSS loads all the desktop-version images, it's badly coded and/or the browser doesn't use the CSS properly.

          What's the proper way using HTML and CSS to specify a separate image for desktop or mobile? Internet Explorer fails to support the srcset property of the img element at all, and srcset in Edge has severe distortion issues [microsoft.com].

        • Images aren't all specified in CSS. There's this <img/> tag ...

      • So what you are saying poorly designed web sites are too blame.
        • Kind of. Some sites have a lot of images to load and can either have image tags or can use JavaScript to do fancy things to set the images. Much JS is poorly-coded, so yes, it eats your desktop as well as your mobile device. Likewise, a lot of JS that shouldn't load on mobile ... does, and doesn't end its timers and such, so it keeps running.

          AMP mainly tries to restrict what you can do. It says, "On a mobile device, you can't do certain resource-heavy things anymore," so you're forced to at least fal

    • by houghi ( 78078 )

      It is obvious that this happens. As a Linux user I now have a PC with a BIOS that tries to do everything, that starts a boot loader that tries to do everything, running a display manager that tries to do everything, so I can launch my web browser that tries to do everything, so I can load a website that tries to do everything to load ads that try to do everything. ... and all I wanted to see was a puppy.

    • motherfuckingwebsite (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      motherfuckingwebsite.com [motherfuckingwebsite.com]

    • If it's missing features on the mobile version, it's NOT A RESPONSIVE WEBSITE.

      "Responsive websites shall not remove functionality." - The laws of the Internet, written by me. Also probably some smarter people.

      Honestly, you're describing a terrible website. It's not a site that provides a fair or reasonable example of responsive web design as a comparison. Just because someone calls a car an egg, doesn't make it an egg.
  • by campuscodi ( 4234297 ) on Monday June 26, 2017 @10:42AM (#54691619)
    No day goes by without someone complaining about AMP. This should tell you all you need to know about this technology.
  • Don't Most mobile browsers allow this now? I know of a LOT of pages with crappy mobile versions. Youtube being one of them. I just go into my page settings and select "Request Desktop Site" and TADA! All is well...
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Yeah, except for those stupid sites that detect the mobile browser regardless of what UA is reported by this feature and force you to use the mobile version no matter what. Fuck those sites.

      • by Alumoi ( 1321661 )

        There's this litle Desktop Mode Add-on (Firefox, of course) which make all the sites behave.

  • by future assassin ( 639396 ) on Monday June 26, 2017 @10:53AM (#54691727) Homepage

    so what if it doesn't compact to remove 1/2 of the info I want to read. Pinch and zoom bitches ...

  • by K. S. Kyosuke ( 729550 ) on Monday June 26, 2017 @10:59AM (#54691787)
    In the linked article re $SUBJ:

    And in the same way they block indexing by search engines, Facebook forbids The Internet Archive from saving copies of posts.

    That's not bad thing though; nothing of value is lost and the storage space could be used for more valuable stuff.

    • That's not bad thing though; nothing of value is lost and the storage space could be used for more valuable stuff.

      At no time in human history have so many shared so much. This data will one day be of immense interest to historians.

      • This data will one day be of immense interest to historians.

        Many things are of immense interest to historians; nevertheless, there's never a guarantee that a document for X exists for any random X you might be interested in. Digital dark age may always strike.

      • by Merk42 ( 1906718 )
        I don't like $THING therefore, no one likes $THING. (or if they do, I am better than they are because of it)
    • The linked article is talking about something that the author thinks is valuable, and if you read it, you might agree (the story about Roger Moore).

      People's history have value, most of us see that and the Internet Archive creators and maintainers certainly see that way too. It's pretty arrogant to say that people's posts are less valuable than some storage space. And contrary to the direction the world is moving too.

      If people where like you the Internet Archive would probably not exist, only Wikipedia. Reme

      • I have no problem with personal histories - quite the opposite in fact. Of course, they historically did take some effort to record. Not everyone was Samuel Pepys. Not everyone is today. But even outside Facebook, the barrier to entry is vastly lower so I'm not tremendously worried about a lack of materials for historians to study. In fact, you seem to be assuming that Facebook posts are going to be accessible in the 2500s. I'd think that the chances of preservation are about as good for non-Facebook materi
  • by Scorpinox ( 479613 ) on Monday June 26, 2017 @11:01AM (#54691805)

    My biggest gripe with AMP is that it breaks same-page-searching. If you have a specific phrase you're searching for on a very long article, it just doesn't work well because all the search results still seem to be rendered underneath the article, and same-page searching seems to go through each of those first, and sometimes still can't find text after that on the AMP page. When I'm looking something up on mobile, I often just want to find a something quick, not read an entire article.

  • by epine ( 68316 ) on Monday June 26, 2017 @11:13AM (#54691919)

    I don't whether AMP is responsible, but I visited a site about a week ago with progressive content and image load as I paged down. This is annoying, but nothing new.

    Since I wanted to CTRL-F to search within the page, I spent 5 s manually pressing PG-DOWN to fully load the page.

    Imagine my horror when I discovered that most of the top of the page—previously loaded already—had now disappeared from my document, and was doing progressive load on the way back up.

    That wasn't just irritating. That was outright /etc/hosts-level hellban territory.

    Please, for the love of God, look upon my 16 DIMM slots ye Mighty frugal HTTP server, and load the whole damn document all at once, SVP.

    • Please, for the love of God, look upon my 16 DIMM slots ye Mighty frugal HTTP server, and load the whole damn document all at once, SVP.

      Even a PC with double digit GB of RAM can be connected to a satellite or cellular upstream connection whose ISP charges $5 to $10 per GB. Though a non-AMP page like this [pineight.com] still loads fast because it's so simple, I imagine people aren't going to be happy to pay the ISP to load images that won't be viewed.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I can agree with the goal of limiting download bandwidth to just what the user has viewed.
        However dynamically UNloading that content after it has scrolled past, such that it must be downloaded AGAIN if the user scrolls back up strikes me as counter productive to the goal of minimizing bandwidth consumption.

        There is no justification for not loading all of the html (such that it can be searched) at the start however.

  • The point of AMP is to restrict what you can do so that pages load faster. And as a side effect, Google gets to make the rules.

    But AMP would never have existed if webmasters were a bit more reasonable. We are talking about sites weighting several megabytes for the equivalent of a single blog post, with scripts creatively breaking browsers. With a 2.3MB / 66 object webpage, the author is definitively guilty of this.

    How about, instead of complaining about AMP, take the core of the technology, which is actuall

    • by tepples ( 727027 )

      We are talking about sites weighting several megabytes for the equivalent of a single blog post, with scripts creatively breaking browsers. With a 2.3MB / 66 object webpage, the author is definitively guilty of this.

      Is 2.3 MB for a whole month's worth of blog posts, including several photos and/or CGI renderings, likewise too heavy? If so, what change would you recommend for a page like this one [pineight.com]?

      • by GuB-42 ( 2483988 )

        Is 2.3 MB for a whole month's worth of blog posts, including several photos and/or CGI renderings, likewise too heavy? If so, what change would you recommend for a page like this one [pineight.com]?

        I wouldn't change anything. This is 2.3 MB worth of content, not 2.3 MB worth of scripts, fonts, stylesheets, oversized pictures, etc...
        I don't have a problem with large pages, I have a problem with low content/size ratio.

    • The first time I can across an amp page I wondered what the hell was wrong - I got no comments and searching didn't work - so I tried to disable it, only to find out I want allowed to.

      That's the problem, many apps insist on linking to amp content only even though I want the full fat version. It shows that Google realised this was a problem, seeing as they added a link option to Chrome on Android, rather than forcing us to jump through multiple hoops to view the actual content

  • by sootman ( 158191 ) on Monday June 26, 2017 @12:39PM (#54692695) Homepage Journal

    ... Gruber has written specifically about AMP. https://daringfireball.net/lin... [daringfireball.net]

    If you are a publisher and your web pages don't load fast, the sane solution is to fix your fucking website so that pages load fast, not to throw your hands up in the air and implement AMP.

    He has written more about it in the past -- links are in that piece.

  • by 404 Clue Not Found ( 763556 ) * on Monday June 26, 2017 @02:38PM (#54693615)

    AMP is for ARTICLES, not SITES.

    AMP is like RSS. It's not a replacement for HTML, it's a supplement meant to highlight content by stripping away unnecessary navigation, animation, comments, login, FAQs, sidebar crap, other stories, suggested stories, etc. When you want to read a news story (its primary purpose), you don't necessarily WANT the cruft of the whole NYT/Breitbart website.

    If you've ever used Google News or Facebook on mobile, the AMP/Instant Article pages load 3-4x faster than a standard mobile webpage would. You can't just build websites as AMP to begin with because then you lose usability. But you CAN put your ARTICLES up as AMP so that people who just want to read your content can do so, and then they can CHOOSE to browse to your full site if they want to.

    A typical site, even a mobile one, would have multiple kB or MB of navigation, analytics, advertising trackers, helper scripts, CSS, favicons, fonts, and all that other unnecessary crap that's worth loading if you're going to be on a website for a few minutes going through several parts of it, but if you just want to read one damned paragraph, AMP is the simple, fast way to load it. It has its purpose and is actually a really, really good thing for users even if it makes developers' jobs harder. WE SHOULD WORK FOR OUR USERS.

    Now, maybe it's worth arguing about AMP vs Instant Articles and why we need two competing standards instead of a good open one, but still the idea isn't bad: Ultrafast articles for people who want articles, with the option to still navigate to the full site afterward.

    • by Khyber ( 864651 )

      "AMP is for ARTICLES, not SITES."

      ARTICLES ARE FOR MAGAZINES, NOT WEB SITES.

      But I guess you failed to understand that since you've probably never picked up a piece of dead wood in your life.

    • by bongey ( 974911 )
      Sorry but AMP sucks even for articles.
    • by SJ ( 13711 )

      Or as Gruber said before... you could just "fix your fucking web site".

      The only people that AMP benefits, is Google. It's a lock-in tool, plain and simple.

  • Mandatory Javascript (mandatory loaded from google cdn) for a restricted subset of HTML?
    W.T.F.

    1) Define a Subset of HTML
    2) Create a Parser
    3) Validate the page. When it's AMP display it with your fast parser, if not open a browser
    4) ???
    5) PROFIT

    Why does it need javascript?! Javascript should be FORBIDDEN on "fast" pages.

  • Google values page speed very highly and that value is only increasing. They're pushing AMP landing pages and converting ads to AMP too. As a website owner, when Google gives priority to those that have AMP pages over those that don't, it's pretty hard to choose not to offer AMP. Look at the sites that chose not to become mobile-friendly back in 2014. They saw significant drop in rank and traffic. Most won't throw away that traffic just because they don't like everything about AMP. Claim maintaining AMP p

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