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The Internet Needs LESS JavaScript

JavaScript has played a significant role in shaping the web as we know it today. However its overuse in modern websites has created a growing movement of developers and tech enthusiasts advocating for a JavaScript-lite internet experience.

In this article, we’ll explore the reasons behind this push, ways developers can use less JavaScript, and what a JavaScript-lite internet future could look like.

Why Websites Need to Use Less JavaScript

JavaScript has become an integral part of modern web development, but this has led to some negative consequences:

  • Performance: Overuse of JavaScript causes websites to load slow, which frustrates users and increases bounce rates.
  • Security: JavaScript provides a significant attack surface for hackers, increasing the potential for security vulnerabilities such as Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) and Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF).
  • Accessibility: Excessive reliance on JavaScript can create accessibility barriers for users with disabilities or those using assistive technologies.
  • Environmental impact: As JavaScript-heavy websites consume more energy, both for the server and the client-side, they contribute to a larger carbon footprint.

How Developers can Use Less JavaScript

Reducing the amount of JavaScript on a website is possible:

  • Progressive enhancement: Build your website with a solid HTML and CSS foundation before adding JavaScript for additional functionality. This way, even if JavaScript fails or is disabled, your site remains accessible and functional.
  • Defer or Async: Use the defer or async attributes when loading JavaScript files to avoid blocking the rendering of the page.
  • Minify and compress: Minify your JavaScript files to reduce their size and compress them with Gzip to further decrease the amount of data that needs to be transferred.
  • Eliminate unnecessary libraries and frameworks: Analyze your site’s dependencies and remove any unused or redundant libraries and frameworks.
  • Use vanilla JavaScript: Whenever possible, use plain JavaScript instead of relying on libraries and frameworks that may include additional overhead.
  • Lazy load: Implement lazy loading for non-essential JavaScript components to speed up the initial page load.

What a JavaScript-Lite Internet Future Looks Like

A JavaScript-lite internet is not only possible but also beneficial.

Performance: Fast and Efficient Websites

A JavaScript-lite internet would prioritize performance, leading to websites that load quickly and efficiently.

The improved user experience would benefit users with limited connectivity or less powerful devices.

Security: Reducing Vulnerabilities

Reducing reliance on JavaScript would  reduce security threats.

A lighter use of JavaScript minimises the attack surface for hackers, lowering the risk of vulnerabilities such as Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) and Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF).

Accessibility: Inclusivity for All Users

A JavaScript-lite internet would promote accessibility and inclusivity, allowing users with disabilities or those using assistive technologies to access content more easily.

Minimising JavaScript usage and adhering to web standards, websites can provide a more seamless experience for all users.

Sustainability: Environmentally Conscious Web

JavaScript-heavy websites consume more energy, they generate a larger carbon footprint. 

By reducing energy consumption on both server and client-side, a JavaScript-lite internet would contribute to a more environmentally sustainable web.

Embracing the JavaScript-Lite Movement

As the web development community begins to embrace the JavaScript-lite movement, new tools, techniques, and best practices will emerge to support this shift.

Developer Education

To create a JavaScript-lite internet, developers must be aware of the potential pitfalls of JavaScript overuse and the benefits of a lighter approach.

Encourage ongoing education and training to promote best practices and a more thoughtful approach to JavaScript usage.

Prioritize Web Standards

Make use of web standards like HTML, CSS, and Web APIs to achieve your desired functionality whenever possible.

These standards are often more efficient and have better cross-browser compatibility than relying on JavaScript libraries and frameworks.

Optimize Third-Party Scripts

Third-party scripts, such as those for analytics, social media integration, and advertising, can significantly impact website performance.

Be selective with the third-party scripts you use and ensure they are optimized for performance.

Advocate for Change

As more developers, organisations, and users understand the benefits of a JavaScript-lite internet, we can expect a shift in the way websites are built and maintained.

The web development community can work together to create a faster, more secure, and more accessible internet.

This shift will not only benefit users but also contribute to a more sustainable digital landscape for future generations.

Real-World Examples of JavaScript-Lite Websites

A growing number of websites and developers have already adopted the JavaScript-lite approach, demonstrating that it is both practical and advantageous. Here are some notable examples:

1. The Guardian

The Guardian, a leading news organization, has taken a JavaScript-lite approach to their website, focusing on fast load times and improved performance.

By doing so, they’ve significantly improved user experience and increased user engagement.

2. Basecamp

Basecamp, a popular project management tool, has adopted the JavaScript-lite philosophy by using their own development approach called “Stimulus.”

This approach prioritizes minimal JavaScript usage, enabling the Basecamp website to load quickly and remain highly responsive.


The UK government’s website, GOV.UK, is an excellent example of a JavaScript-lite approach, with a strong focus on accessibility and performance.

By adhering to web standards and minimizing JavaScript use, GOV.UK ensures a seamless experience for all users, regardless of their device or connection speed.

The Road Ahead

Ultimately, the JavaScript-lite internet will empower users with faster, safer, and more accessible online experiences, while also promoting a more environmentally responsible digital landscape.

By understanding the benefits and practicalities of the JavaScript-lite approach, web developers can work together to create a better internet for everyone.

Let’s embrace this movement and build a more sustainable and inclusive digital world.