There’s something about the phrase “lazy loading”. It somehow seems a bit suggestive. Or perhaps that says far more about me and my Freudian ways than it does the phrase itself.
But regardless of that, lazy loading is a good thing. For those who are not familiar with the term, it is simply a design pattern that defers the loading of a particular element in a web page (or computer program). It is extremely handy for particular elements that are resource intensive – if you choose to load that particular element last, it won’t prevent the rest of the site from being loaded.
We’ve seen lazy loading before on WPMU – Digg Digg uses it. The Lazy Widget Loader that Sarah featured back in September 2011 is a clever little bugger with lazy loading functionality. But now it’s time to take it to the next level.
It is always reassuring when you come across a plugin developed in part by Automattic. Whilst that certainly doesn’t mean that the plugin will be flawless (the official Facebook plugin, anyone?), their presence does lend a certain gravitas to proceedings.
And that is one of the reasons why I like the Lazy Load plugin – but not the main reason. The main reason of course is its functionality, which is really quite simple – it only loads images when they are visible in the browser’s viewport.
So, if you have a blog post that is image-heavy, the rest of your site won’t suffer for it. And since each individual image is not likely to be particularly large, they should load near-instantly at the time of calling. And let’s face it – regardless of how code-heavy your site is, the cumulative weight of your images are likely to have the greatest impact. Rationing their loading is a great way of delivering your site far more quickly.
That’s it folks! It does one thing, and it does it well. And with a near-perfect star rating, you know they’re doing something right.
Creative Commons image courtesy of Andrew Morrell Photography