Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Rendering Load Time of Initial Page and Returning Page between Internet Explorer(IE) and FireFox(FF) Browsers

I like to discuss a bit about my observation on rendering load time of initial page and returning page between 2 most widely used web browsers: Internet Explorer(IE 7) and FireFox(FF 2). If you are an active user of IE and FF, you probably will most likely to notice what I will be talking about. The page rendering speed and ability to pref-fetch/fully cache by browser default are quite disperse between IE and FF. Just note that this may not be much of difference if the web sites/blogs that were built to utilize full cache and have done extensive rendering optimization based on 3rd party tools or guidelines. This aspect of result will be favorable for IE browser, while FF browser is lagging in the department of general loading speed and caching!*Note, this issue magnifies with slower connection speed!

Initial page rendering load time(no cache for the site exist yet):
From my observation, Firefox browser applies procedure or structural page rendering process which most of pages that you load on first time, you will most likely to see it in the orientation of top to bottom and left to right. However, FireFox load almost immediately, so it gives you the extra visual cue of page loading.

On the other hand, Internet Explorer browser applies pre-fetching process so that when it renders the initial page, it renders almost in the blink of eye! However, IE doesn't really display page immediately until it has cache total render of viewable area so that you don't really know how the page is being rendered.

There are pros and cons based on my experience with the ways FF and IE render the initial page. The pros about FF render approach is that you see how the structure of the page is laying out and most likely that the important stuffs like contents will appear first because of designers' intention. The cons about FF is that it might disturb the visitor's first impression on the page! We all know that first impression is quite important and when your site is being render the way of FF, it is quite ugly if not annoying at times! In cases, if you have tons of multimedia contents, it will likely to take longer to render and that means the page will look incomplete and gaps happen all over page. FF initial render procedure doesn't give that professional look and therefore have sort of negative first impression on the first time visitor.

The pros about IE initial page rendering are that it is clean and professional! It renders in the way that isn't intrusive which IMO what makes IE better. The downside about having the blink of eye render comes with slight delay prior to rendering page to cache viewable area contents.

The initial page rendering is most crucial to catch first time visitor since no cache of the page exist yet and I think that IE initial page rendering process has upper hand which magnify that the visitors don't need to know how you arranged your contents!

Returning page rendering load time(cached contents):
Alright, this is targeting the returned or recent page view visitors with the pages already cached in the browsers. I find that IE browser is still reign supreme due to the nature of its built in full cache capabilities, therefor transparent to the underlying page caching structure and design! Like I said, FF browser has the tendency to show you the process of rendering the pages/blog/sites that don't fully applying cache optimization. This is understandable due to the natural that some blogs/site aren't completely catchable so on the recurring page load, you will still see the page loads just like the initial rendering! Again, FF doesn't have full cache built in by default so that the ability to fully cache contents of sites are totally depending on the site owner and designer! I find this very disturbing and inconsiderate.

IE is quite favorable in the sense that it cut through the dependability of site cache by default cache it automatically if the content never exist or if they changed! What this does for return and recent page view visitors are that the rendering speed are way succinct! No excessive round trip HTTP calls and therefore cut down on the bandwidth usage as well as requirement for online connectivity!

So IE browser once again capture my attention of having better optimization for return page loading speed that is transparent to the page caching!

So my conclusion for IE and FF about their processes on rendering load time of initial page and return page are quite favoring IE browser! Although FF can be more of web developer's and designer's toy, IE simply stands out for web surfers who can careless at the how and more on the what as the first impression!

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