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Speed and efficiency are top priorities in web browsing, especially when it comes to accessing the web on a mobile device. The 411 Locals team has been talking a lot about mobile-friendly pages, and we believe every publisher knows how important this is. However, a new open-source initiative was launched in 2016, and Google is now linking to AMP content in the main mobile search results area. What does this mean to us? Should we join the AMP project or stick with the responsive, mobile-friendly design?

Things that you need to know about AMP

The Accelerated Mobile Pages Project (AMP) is a project from Google & Twitter developed to produce really fast mobile pages. It is a competitor of Facebook’s Instant Articles, and there is no doubt it is doing better than it. Get more familiar with the concept behind the project, below on this page.

What makes AMP so fast?

  • Limited HTML tags
  • Streamlined CSS
  • Designed to be heavily cached
  • Less JavaScript

Тhe AMP HTML is basically skimmed HTML. Certain things like forms are out. While the CSS is also restricted, the JavaScript is just not allowed at all. Instead of that developers can use an off-the-shelf JavaScript library. On top of that, everything is designed to be heavily cached so that Google can actually host these pages.

Do we really need it?

If we decide to go for the AMP project, we really need to get rid of most of our html and render our content in a subset of HTML that Google has approved. We can’t really blame Google for wanting to reduce the JavaScript usage. If we are really looking for a lightweight, fast-loading page, why use JavaScript at all? Although using the JavaScript library really lightens things up, it will be much better if the whole process goes without such scripts entirely. Pinboard founder Maciej Cegłowski proved that when he recreated the Google AMP demo page only without the Google AMP JavaScript. The results? As you may have already figured, it is much faster than the original page and about eight times smaller.

In conclusion, the AMP HTML is a really good solution when it comes to instant loading on mobile devices, but it’s not perfect. The 411 Locals team will keep following the AMP project updates and will definitely give it a chance again but for now, we will stick to the good old responding, mobile-friendly pages. If we really need something light, we will do it customly, just like Maciej Cegłowski already did.