It may seem obvious to many people in the free software crowd that Medium is a useless, bloated platform which poorly accomplishes its one stated goal. However, the fact that it has over 85 million users goes to show that there are poor souls in existence who host content on that dumster fire of a website. In this post, I intend to demonstrate why you shouldn't use Medium, as well as list some more elegant ways to distribute content on the internet.
To put it bluntly, Medium.com is bloated.
But just how bloated is Medium? Is it even possible to quantify website bloat, or are we making blind guesses based off of loading speed and elitism?
Many atttempts have been made to calculate web bloat before, the most popular being Web Bloat Score. However, as one would expect from a site who's self-proclaimed abbreviation is WebBS, the site's method of determining a website's level of bloat is BS. Webpage functionality is not considered anywhere in the formula. This means that, according to WebBS, a bloat-free Amazon would be a static screenshot of the Amazon webpage. So if there isn't a standard way to calculate website bloat by giving it a "score" of some kind, how can we calculate just how bloated Medium is?
In order to find Medium's bloat level, I employed a modified version of this method. First, I measured the download size of the original page, including all trackers, analytics, and other garbage. Next, I checked the filesize of the plain HTML of the page (e.g. the output of
curl https://medium.com/xxxxxxx). I then calculated the percentage of the site which is useful information. Here are my findings:
|Article Link||Medium.com Filesize||Plain HTML Filesize||Informational % of Page|
|Streaming IO in Go||11.50mb||184kb||1.6%|
|My month-long quest to become a chess master from scratch||10.40mb||956k||9.19%|
|You should read random articles. Start at this one||4.51mb||104kb||2.3%|
|How to get the most out of developers||3.79mb||144kb||3.8%|
|Web Design 3.0: When Your Web Design Really Matters||4.44mb||288kb||6.49%|
As you can see, Medium articles are, on average, 4.7% information and 95.3% garbage.
So, with all this in mind, how does one start an online blogs without forcing their readers to download 2mB of useless garbage for every 100kB of information?
Here are a few ideas:
There are a lot of ways to distribute content online. Sometimes, it's tempting to rationalize choosing the easiest solution, ("most people who will visit my site are on good internet connections anyway, right?") but it's important not to give in to these temptations. Ease of development is important, but user experience is too.
In general, follow the golden rule: try not to be a soydev.