Adding Scripts, CSS, And Extras – When Is It Too Much?

Adding Scripts, CSS, And Extras – When Is It Too Much?

Let’s stick that in there too!

Ok, I will admit that this topic just popped into my head, mainly because of what I was doing at work, and then thinking of the HTML5 Boilerplate. I’m using that as a starting point to illustrate what I am talking about, not bashing it. I think the template is awesome and I am using it in my personal projects.

Let’s say we are using it to start a new site. It has a lot of awesome things in it to compensate for a ton of stuff. It has jQuery, a ready to go script page for your js, a nicely organized style sheet, dd-belatedpng.js for png support in IE6, Google Analytics code, Modernizer 1.5 js for HTML5 tag support in browsers that don’t actually support HTML5…and a few other things I can’t remember at the moment. For argument’s sake though, let’s just pretend that is it.

Now you start adding in your stuff

The blank js file for your code is already taken care of, so you don’t have to add that. But maybe you are adding a piece of Flash, which naturally leads you to throwing swfobject in. Ohhh, and that neat Nivo slider on there too! Hmmm….ok, downloaded and now added the plugin to your page.

That should be it right? Oh crap! Since we are being extra cool and tricky, we’ll need some sort of lightbox plugin, so insert that over there. THAT should be about it…oh…you are right, we want to use some sort of easing for that bit of jQuery you were planning, better put that in its correct spot. Done? Maybe?

Is there such a thing as too much

This is just the kind of stuff that I can think of adding that might make sense. You could probably take a few of those off if we are being reasonable. I’m a reasonable kind of guy. Now take into account a customer who thinks they know what the #@$% they are doing and says “I saw this piece of utter crap on this other site, and I want mine to do that to. Oh, and the twitter-y posting thing on the sidebar thinga-ma-jigger, ya I want that also. Ohhhh, you know what would also be the cat’s meow? That other piece of stupid I can barely describe to you in regular English, but is nearly impossible without you seeing my hand movements!”

Now that was sort of for comic relief, but I think you get the point. Go back to before the made up customer bit. Is there a point where it is just too much being added? Where does it stop? The HTML5 boilerplate is awesome the way it is. I can add my own jQuery functions without adding another request, it takes care of a lot of old browser issues (which for some reason I am very opposed to letting go for some idiot reason), and basically is my dream starting template. There are going to be a ton of people adding on to it though. Tons more scripts, and what-not…PLUS things we haven’t even heard of yet to be inserted into the page later.

I don’t want to use the word, but all I can think of is bloated. A word I use to describe certain IDE’s I have tried that have too many feaures. But honestly, do we actually need to use all that crap? For all the headaches we can think of in web development, IE, with all its versions, really adds to this “bloat”. If you dropped everything but IE9, when it comes out of course, you could probably drop the modernizer js, the png fix, no more PIE, and the other crap we need to make the lesser versions work. This is BEFORE we actually do ANY kind of design and layout work, too!

I’m not trying to tell you what to add or not to add to your websites to make it awesome. I’m just trying to make you stop and think for a minute, and maybe answer my question in the comments (they would be very welcome!). So…..where, if there is such a thing, is the cut off point, where we just say “This is getting ridiculous! No more clutter!” Maybe we aren’t there yet, but it just seems like we are getting close to that line with every new bit of cool we add.

I’ll leave you with a musical quote that has nothing to do with this topic, because I am listening to Children of Bodom right now (favorite band at the moment): “Waiting for you I want to just tell you, if you want peace, prepare for war!”

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