Friday, December 21, 2018

Minifying the forum software's contents

In an attempt to make the esoForum (esoProjects) software run more efficiently on less gifted machines, I recently started minifying different portions of the code, which were excessively large or could undergo benefit through the process of minification.

Several different codes, files, and resources can be minified, surprisingly. Before taking on the project, I've only done it to a select few languages (CSS3 and JavaScript being the main contenders), however it may be done to PHP as well.  Critics of PHP minification state that the code is less translatable by the layman, yet all minified code, alas, is -- and that it gains no speed effectiveness, whereas other minification processes do -- however one single justification is that it makes the files themselves much smaller in size, especially those being massive.

esoProjects is designed to be lightweight, even fairly quicker than most of the normative, for a relatively flexible web forum, that doesn't skimp out on the typical feature-set examined on other boards.  As a result of this, it's necessary to make the overall package lesser, as a smaller package allows the software to be present on a wider variety of platforms, and makes way for further consumer distribution than it would if it were double its size. Illegibility is a price to pay, and after all, the code can be easily beautified (the term used when you elongate a script back into legibility).

Nano is an online tool which allows for fonts to be integrated into a vector image, but more importantly, it does an excellent job at minification.  When comparing different vector minification services online, I found that Nano even significantly reduced previously-minified vectors, without any noticeable decrease in the detail or elements of the vector.  Most likely, it is this that will have the biggest speed impact on the software, as esoForum's buttons are well-decked with gradients.  The same process was applied to the emoticons, formatting icons, and even the logo itself.

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