Cached Javascript Libraries

This is an extremely geeky blog entry, so unless you are into things like Javascript and web design and development, feel free to skip, I won’t be offended.

Ok with that out of the way, I hope the rest of the audience comes away thinking about all of this. In the past five (or fewer) years, we have finally seen a committed effort to transition the web into an interaction-rich user experience. This is in part due to concentrated efforts to make Javascript a more functional, cleaner language, which has resulted in the reciprocal effect of faster Javascript engines, starting a new self-perpetuating cycle of invigorating the ecosystem. Why we are seeing a Javascript explosion is because even though you are able to craft interaction-rich experiences with Flash, Javascript is a) Free, b) Ubiquitous (all major browsers come standard with a Javascript engine; as of now only Chrome comes with Flash) and c) relatively painless, mapping directly onto the HTML document model.

However there is an inherent drawback to crafting Javascript-heavy webpages that especially effects the browsing experience in poor-connectivity nations: everything from personal scripts to libraries must be loaded at run time. This is becoming a problem because most Javascript developers, myself included, are actually slowly become Javascript-[library-of-choice] developers. For example, I don’t develop in Javascript, I develop in JQuery. Or maybe the guy down the road develops in Prototype, and so forth.

As these libraries become even more ubiquitous and necessary, will it become worth overriding even the simple local caching option in your standard web browser of choice and instead implement an even longer term Javascript library unifier/cacher/updater/whatnot? A sort of Javascript pluguin a la Flash where the browser can maintain local versions of popular libraries and automatically redirect webpage requests for said libraries to the local cache before going over the pipes? This creates a long term reduction in transmission and would incrementally speed up load times on slow connections on a per page basis I would think.

Does this already exist and I am just missing it? Is it even worth it? Thoughts?

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