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Lean and Mean HTML
by Steve Mulder 29 October 1998

Steve Mulder is manager of information architecture in the user experience group of Terra Lycos, where he wears as many hats as possible. He pretends to know a lot about design strategy, interaction design, usability, writing for the Web, and Web development.

Page 1

As makers of Web sites, we all spend a great deal of time working to compress our images. We know that smaller file sizes mean faster pages and that every byte counts. But small images aren't the only things that make pages faster to load - the code itself counts, too. HTML files can quickly become bloated with repetitive tags, nested tables, unnecessary attributes, and other filler. Simplify the code, and you can speed up your pages.

We're going to look at a panoply of tricks to streamline your HTML. Using just one of the following tricks won't have much effect on file size, but regularly using all of them can have a significant impact.

As I explore each trick, I'll also mention any risks there might be in using it. Some are perfectly safe, but some break from "pure" HTML in order to save on download time. It's up to you to decide what risks are worth taking to improve the user's experience of your site.

Enough preamble. Let's get started with something that is often overlooked: file names.

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