The Skechers WTF

By Deane Barker on January 29, 2012

Sketchy Today’s DailyWTF is a pretty good one discussing the horrors of the Skechers website and how it’s delivered as XML then transformed via XSLT right in the browser.  Standard WTF stuff, really.

But – lo and behold! – the head of the Skechers web team leaves a comment…and it’s a good one.  He sets forth some of their reasoning, and it starts to make sense.  I’m not totally on-board with all of it, but he makes some great points and it’s totally worth reading, especially if – like me – you have an irrational hatred of XSLT.

[…] here’s the great thing about XSLT— it’s cacheable on your browser. Instead of browsing from page to page to page, each time getting 25k+ of html, we can frontload a lot of that by having you download the XSLT. Once you’ve downloaded the file once, you have the layout for the entire site already cached, and the next page you go to is 2k of XML.

[…] My original thought was— your desktop machine, and very quickly your phone, have just as much CPU cycles available as a commodity server. Why not shift as many cycles to the client as we can while still making it a relatively fast experience?

[…] IE7 and IE8 actually have better support for XSLT transformations than Firefox does.

[…] Is it any more insane than hunting through Struts code, or JSF, etc etc? Now, both our front-end CSS/Javascript developers, and back-end Java (now Scala) coders understand Xpath now, so we don’t run into the “I don’t want to touch that Velocity template” problem.

I really commend this guy for jumping in, and I have to respect his desire to try something new.  Did he succeed?  Well, I browsed the Skechers site and it certainly seems fine to me, so I certainly can’t say he failed.

And serious props to him for jumping into that conversation without being a douchebag and turning it into a constructive discussion.  What a great sport.



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