It seems to me that you’ve put a lot of talk out there recently about how websites should be fast! How the google vision of the internet in the upcoming years was all about speed! You even included metrics in your search results on how fast a server can serve a page to you. [link] You made Chrome/Chromium, a blazingly fast browser which is dedicated to being fast above all else. You even have a website set up to try and help webmasters speed up their own websites [link].
Honestly, it’s slow. Yes, it has a ‘fast’ response time if it comes to loading the initial page but the actual loading of the site is slow! You can talk about speed all you want, but when it takes three separate loading screens/messages/calls to load the page, its not that fast.
I know this obsession with client side code generating the content/html reduces load on the server, and many people have this ‘visionary’ idea that the server shouldn’t ever even think about putting together html. While it sounds good in practice, it almost always ends up being slow and having weird rendering flickers while loading the page then the data. This is honestly not that ideal, and it keeps happening more and more. I don’t want to have a page load, then flicker and flash while its loading in the actual page. Sure, this will ‘technically’ make it ‘fast’ according to your response time standards, but guess what? To a user, it’s slower.
This isn’t just a Google thing either, everyone seems to be doing it. Microsoft is just as bad, the new Bing Webmaster Tools has 4 different loading messages/calls when you open the page. It doesn’t make sense to do this! Even if you do want to have the page load itself with ajax, why would you have FOUR separate calls for it?
This idea that you had about how you want to speed up the web seems to be schizophrenic. On one hand you put in metrics to benefit fast response time sites, and create a fast browser….but at the same time slow it down with these applications and their endless loading messages. Most of this trend seems to me to come from Google AppEngine and GWT, with which you pretty much are forced into this approach.
Please google, stop this trend. Make your applications and pages faster. Not just faster to load the initial empty page, but faster to load the page and content!
A good comprimise that seems to have been implemented by some people (like facebook and amazon) is loading part of the main content on page load and then loading the rest in with ajax. That way the user can have some information immediately to start processing and by the time he is done the rest of the page is loaded. This, while still not perfect, is far far better than the Google method right now.