Google to pay JavaScript frameworks to implement performance-first code

Google to create $200,000 fund to sponsor the addition of "on by default" performance-related updates in popular JavaScript frameworks.

Google will be launching a fund of $200,000 to sponsor the development and implementation of performance-related features in third-party JavaScript frameworks.

The fund's launch was announced earlier this week at the Chrome Dev Summit 2018, Google's annual web dev conference.

Frameworks with original ideas to improve performance and those which ship "on by default" performance-boosting features will be favored in the funds allocation process. Framework dev teams can sign-up for a Google sponsorship via this link.

Nicole Sullivan, Chrome Product Manager, and Malte Ubl, Google Engineering Lead, have told ZDNet that the popularity, size, or the adoption of any participant framework will not count as a defining factor for being selected to receive funding.

"The objective of this initiative is to help developers hit performance goals and hence serve their users with high-quality user experiences by default and ensure that this happens at scale," the two told ZDNet in an email.

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"So while we're not keeping any explicit size threshold for the frameworks that we may want to support, we'll be critically analyzing the overall proposals based on creativity of the solution proposed, its propensity to making an impact and the scale of developers that it can directly affect.

"One key factor is also whether the respective feature can be turned on by default and thus have maximum impact rather than being only made available optionally," Sullivan and Ubl said.

More details about the funding and selection process will be published in the coming weeks, but the two offered a general idea of what developers should be aiming for.

"We want developers to be creative in approaching and solving the performance problem on the web but at a high-level we'll be looking at features that directly impact loading performance (e.g. use of feature policies, smart bundling, code-splitting, differential serving) and runtime performance (e.g. breaking tasks into smaller, schedulable chunks & keeping fps high)," Sullivan and Ubl told ZDNet.

But in addition to putting up funds to help frameworks improve their codebase, Google has also invited the development teams some of these frameworks to provide feedback in a more prominent role as part of the Google Chrome development process.

"We want to use this process to include the voice of frameworks within the features that we prioritize," Sullivan and Ubl said.

"It's funny to announce this today because it's actually something that we started in the summer and we've been working with a bunch of frameworks for the past several months," Sullivan said while on stage on the Chrome Dev Summit.

While Google has always been a developer-friendly company, always asking for input from the web dev community, this marks the first time the company has taken such a close interest in the world of JavaScript frameworks, which are often used as building blocks for creating many of today's websites, web-based services, and even mobile apps.

"Frameworks sometimes make web apps slower. They are also our best hope to make it faster," a slide in Sullivan and Ubl's Chrome Dev Summit presentation read.

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