Intelligent link caching

The Google Maps model gave us our first high-profile insight into what can happen on a website when it doesn’t wait for the user to do something to prepare what might next need displaying. By downloading the maps immediately surrounding the map you’re looking at, it allowed you to drag around the map seamlessly. It was revolutionary and was the forerunner for that horrible phrased, Web 2.0.

Most webpages, this one included at the time of writing, don’t do that. They display a page complete with a bunch of links to unloaded pages and wait for the user to click one before doing anything. What if there was a little link counter running in the background that weighted each link on a page based on its likelihood of being clicked according to users’ behaviour? And then some Firefox plug-in came along and on accessing a page, called the associated weighting information and started downloading the pages in the background in descending order of weight. Then if the user happened to click one of the most popular links, the page would appear instantly. Maybe the idea is superseded by the speed offered by broadband, but I’d like to think not.


7 Responses to “Intelligent link caching”

  1. elise on May 30th, 2007 19:34

    in other words, you’d like the web page to predict the user’s next move(s) and pre-load accordingly? seems like a massive waste of bandwidth for something a user might not even use. what’s the real advantage? a second or two of download time?
    the diff. with google maps is that it loaded all that info into a single page which had a somewhat defined context. the web is way too non-linear and expansive and users are far too varied to support taking that concept across the board.

  2. Shanahan on May 31st, 2007 00:49

    I believe there’s a greasemonkey thing that does that already but the name escapes me.

  3. Jon on May 31st, 2007 01:12

    Don’t you hate it when people don’t say what they’re really thinking?

    You know, when they act all polite and say ‘interesting idea Dan’, rather than just pissing all over it? 🙂

    I have an idea Dan – take Elise along to the Tour De France, then ‘get lost’ in the crowd…. 🙂

  4. Dan on May 31st, 2007 02:59

    I can take that from Elise. She says what she means and I respect that.

    She’s wrong. But I respect that.


  5. Jon on May 31st, 2007 04:43

    Cool Dan – and just to be clear, my comment was definitely meant playfully – I always like it when someone comes up with an idea and someone else just stops it dead.

    It has this ‘ouch, I bet that hurt’ quality about it – not dissimilar to seeing someone fall off their bike.

    Speaking of which, if you do take Elise along to the Tour de France and get separated, she may now think you did it deliberately…

  6. jack on June 2nd, 2007 02:02

    If the plug-in could also read your site for me, then I would not have to visit it at all and give me back lots of time to make more ships out of matchsticks.

  7. Art Vandelay on June 3rd, 2007 04:24

    I’m not wearing any underwear.

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