Do we need AMP?

Recently Google released Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), an open source subset of HTML with performance in mind. What purpose does it serve and do we really need that?

It is a special version of your static content site that is build with that specific subset of HTML and mostly prohibids you to use JavaScript and other things. The reason behind that decision is the growing size on websites in general, which does especially hurt on slow connections.

These incentives are good, but you have to invest in a new technology whereas everything could be solved with existing technology. Keeping performance in mind should never be an afterthought.

There’s not anything particularly revolutionary about this. The Google caching is notable in that it is free, but other than that it appears to be nothing more than any CDN can do for you. You can build your sites to be prerender and cache friendly. You can limit your use of JavaScript. You can carefully select your HTML and write your CSS with the goal of performance in mind. You can do all these things all by yourself (and in fact you should be doing all of these things).

Tim Kadlec

But as it seems like most publishers didn’t keep that in mind – here we are. Buying into a technology, controlled by a big corporation, which removes all the nice stuff we added over the years, just because we couldn’t control ourselves to keep performance a main goal. The incentives (better performance) are notable, but the realization isn’t doing good for the open web.

Let’s see, what the future brings. I hope the web stays open and does not buy into proprietary technology. But do we have a choice?

Is the next step Google automatically creating AMP versions of regular web pages and hosting cached copies whether you like it or not?

Will Critchlow