Browser specific versions of javascript API

The Architectural Diagram of the Polymer project

The Architectural Diagram of the Polymer project

Today when you use a javascript API like jQuery you get the full package. I think about code handling most browser versions. A lot of if sentences within the code checks which browser engine and environment it is running on and depending of what is the current centext it executes the relevant piece of code.

Takes time – affects performance

Every time the code reaches a piece where the code soloution needs to execute different parts depending on the setup, there need to be used execution time on tests to go the right path. That takes up time and affects performance.

More code than is need is served

Each javascript API file today contains all the code needed to serve all the supported platforms. Its like if you bought a newspaper and you would get say 20 different language version served by default. Just imagine carrying the New York Times in 20 different translations, when you know that you understand the english version!

Why server code like that?

I guess that it is common practice and have been so since the beginning of the coding history. Guess that it is a pattern which have become the default way of doing it. I guess that there exists many good reasons for coding like that.

My suggestion – split into platform specifik files

I would suggest that tests should be made to split big APIs like jQuery or MDAngularJS and Polymer into smaller platform specific files. I am not a software arcitect but I thing that it would be doable.

The code could be fetched using a parameter:

jQuery.min.js/IE8

It could be served with a parameter in the name:

jQuery.min.IE8.js

It could be served based on Request parameter, so some logic on the webserver served the correct version.

Argument against this pattern

Ofcause there are arguments against such patterns. Like back in old days on Microsoft IIS webserver a file was used to detect which browser was visiting the site. It was hell to maintain that soloution.

What do you think?

Please share your thoughts on this subject below in the comments area.

 

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