The whole world is going to widgets. This overused, overhyped term refers to third-party code one places on their website or blog in order to display such things as Flickr photos, Twitter status, or iTunes playlists. Everybody and their mom is putting out widgets these days, and although only about 1% of them are useful or interesting, they are an important new distribution mechanism that is changing the way companies think about syndication.
But there is a big problem with widgets: they slow down the sites that use them. In the best case, you have a company like Flickr whose servers are almost always snappy, and in the worst case, you have a young startup that is constantly struggling against increasing demand and occasionally can’t serve up any code at all.
The problem is that in either of these cases, the completion of your site’s loading and rendering depends on someone else’s code living on someone else’s server. Including a fast and reliable Flickr widget still slows your site down by at least a split second and including a less stable one can leave your site hanging indefinitely.