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Social Plugins’ Memory Usage

Dietrich recently posted about the memory usage of social plugins. and I found the results rather surprising because, at least in the case of Facebook, I didn’t think it ever loaded enough code to consume 20+MB of memory.

When I first learned about social plugins. I thought that they were a really cool idea and thought that they had a lot of potential. If they use a ton of memory though, I feel like it’s a bit of a deal breaker to using them. So, being the curious engineer that I am, I decided to test this out myself. I conducted these tests in a new Firefox profile and I was not signed into Facebook (to try and replicate the experience Dietrich had).

One Like Button

Two Like Buttons

The next test I tried was duplicating the like button so it showed up twice. This code is a bit naive since I duplicate a <div> element with the same id and don’t need to include the JavaScript twice. However, it shows what someone who would just copy and paste will end up with, which I think is valuable.

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As you can see, memory usage nearly doubled. This is a bit surprising since the exact same JavaScript is included. I would expect there to not be any additional shapes. but that nearly doubles. scripts and mjit-code also all double, and I would expect that at least the latter to not.

A more interesting version of this test would be to not include the JavaScript twice, and just add one additional <fb:like> button that doesn’t like the same url.

Interestingly, memory usage did not change significantly from the duplicate resource case! So, what exactly is going on here? This page ends up loading four additional resources:

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