Don’t Blindly Use Libraries

Last week we introduced Routine Sorting on My Morning Routine. In a nutshell, we added informative data labels on every routine card, as well as the ability to sort routines based on these data points.

Sorting is pretty common and can be achieved in many ways. The most convenient is probably to use a library, because someone else has most likely already implemented it. While I find this okay for beginners and prototypes, I believe you shouldn’t add third-party code without evaluation. It’s not about dependencies (you can switch), it’s rather about performance, and by that I mean the overall performance of your website/app and not the third-party code per se. Heck, I’m sure that someone else has implemented a better sorting algorithm, but for My Morning Routine mine suits best – and that’s what it is about. Open-source libraries, frameworks, etc. are great and I love them, but they often come with much more than you actually need for a given project.

For example, I considered using TinySort, because the core is already very compact, but I didn’t need many of its features and would have had to implement others (bedtime after midnight) myself.

The end-result shows it best, so below is a footprint comparison.

Note: Filesize is of course not alone an indicator of performance, you should profile the whole thing! In my case the actual sorting algorithm is very basic, so I used the time writing this post ;)

Sorting Only

The minified version of MMR’s sorting code is almost six times smaller, and the compressed version five times. Plus it already covers the bedtime is after midnight case, which I’d still have to add to TinySort.

MMR SortingTinySort
619 bytes minified3.645 bytes minified
376 bytes compressed1.755 bytes compressed

The Complete Package

This includes among others the dropdown, states, no-data-marker, and also our featured filter. The compressed MMR’s solution is more than two times smaller, and the footprint of TinySort doesn’t include the bedtime is after midnight case yet.

MMR SortingTinySort
2.970 bytes minified5.996+ bytes minified
1.007 bytes compressed2.481+ bytes compressed

You might think that I’m nuts discussing such a small footprint, but considering that this is only a little feature and you might have dozens of them, it adds up very quickly. And don’t get me wrong, TinySort is awesome, it just wasn’t ideal for our use-case. So the next time you’re about to add another library or whatever, take a few minutes and evaluate how much of its features (and edge case handlers) you’ll actually use and need.

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