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Closing the Polls

Posted 2009.08.12 14.45 in Computers/Internet/Technology

Not long ago I asked for some feedback regarding the Share This plugin. Share This adds a little icon and text to every page and every post, which allows people to link the pages/posts with a number of other services. I personally never used it, but my two biggest complaints about it were that it is a bit of a ‘black box’ that depends on a bunch of resources that are stored at the Share This servers rather than on my own servers, and that it required visitors to my site to download a bunch of other stuff behind-the-scenes which led to a delay in viewing my site.

I did some measurements and found that on my site’s front page, even with well over a dozen graphics and photos and several thumbnails present, the Share This plugin was adding so much overhead that it doubled the bandwidth and doubled the rendering time of my site. The Share This script alone was the single slowest component of the entire site, and there was nothing I could do to improve that because the script is served from their servers, not mine.

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To Share (This) or Not to Share (This)

Posted 2009.08.07 14.00 in Computers/Internet/Technology

So I’ve been waffling on this “Share This” thing. I’m not really up on this stuff myself, I’ve never used it, but my friend Lezley told me it was good and important so I put it on my site. The thing is, it runs entirely on the Share This server, so every time someone is viewing one of my pages, they’re also partially redirected to download stuff from the Share This site. And not just two words and a little logo either – it’s a lot of stuff. ¬†Scripts, style sheets, a bunch of logos, who knows what else. Honestly, I don’t really like it – it seems strange and mysterious and opaque to me.

Most WordPress plugins are pretty open and upfront. I mean, if you can read PHP (which isn’t that hard if you just take your time and don’t let it scare you), you can look at the plugin and get at least a bit of an idea what it does. You can do that with the Share This plugin, but what the Share This plugin does is basically just tell your guests to load a bunch of stuff from elsewhere – and you can’t change that stuff. It’s some digging just to get to see that stuff, what with all the javascript voodoo and all that.

Aside from the opacity of its function and my lack of understanding of its purpose, there is the bottom line fact that it slows things down. I’m on a fast connection – but when I can see a noticable change in speed between Share This and don’t Share This, that gives me misgivings. In fact, if there is a problem and for whatever reason the Share This stuff isn’t working, it makes it look like my site is having problems.

So I’ve turned it off, turned it back on, off and on again. I don’t know what’s best. So I’ve made a poll, and I’m asking you. And, please feel free to comment as well.

Cheers!

The poll has been closed, with the votes in at 8 votes against Share This and 1 vote for it.