Link Preload as Image
I’ve been playing with these fancy new view transitions and my experience thus far is that they work ok on localhost, but as soon as I push code to a preview branch on a remote server, the image loads between transitions are janky because of image loading.
Granted, transitions are behind a flag so unexpected glitches are expected.
But transitioning images across views — especially from a small thumbnail on a list view to a full size image on a detail view — seems like such a common use case. I’m sure they’ll figure this out
Bramus pointed out I should try preloading the image on the detail page.
Duh, I should be doing that regardless of whether I’m trying to make view transitions work!
In fact, on a site like my icon gallery, the large image icon is literally the “raison d'être” of the page itself — that’s what you’re there, to see the big, beautiful icon! There’s no asset more crucial on that page than that one, I should be preloading it!
There’s a nice web.dev article on the subject, but I like to get varying perspectives and explanations when trying to understand something. So I searched to learn more. Of course Chris had already written on it and explains it in the way only he can. And, again unsurprisingly, Stefan had a helpful resource on preloading too.
In essence, you want to tell the browser that a certain image exists on the page and is super important before the prescanner discovers it.
I think of it kind of like when I tell my wife a story about our kids. I start with, "Ok, don't worry, everyone is fine, but...[story about some crazy thing the kids did].” A little heads up goes a long ways.
On my icon detail page, I have:
<img src="icon.png" srcset="firstname.lastname@example.org 2x">
So, to tell the browser it’s gonna need that image before it parses to that point in the HTML, I include this in the
<link rel="preload" as="image" href="icon.png" imagesrcset="email@example.com 2x" />
If you're not up to speed on this one — like I was — might be a good ‘un to familiarize yourself with now.
Mark pointed out that Wordpress is eschewing
<link> preloads in favor of
fetchpriority directly on the
Their rationale is interesting. I like
<link> because in theory it’s the fastest way for the browser to find out about a critical resource. But:
While [that approach] in principle allows the browser to know about loading the image even earlier, in practice there isn’t a notable difference, especially when using the tag, as at that point the entire HTML will already be loaded.
Given my SSG setup, it’s easy enough for me to do the
<link> approach, so I’m going to stick with that. But for a CMS that doesn’t necessarily know about all resources during the lifecycle of creating a document, I can see why they opt for sticking
fetchpriority directly on the image.