Minify Javascript

Minify Javascript: Pros and Cons of Minifying Javascript Code

When creating websites, developers are overly concerned with making sure their code is clean and efficient. After all, bulky code can lead to slow websites. Google and other search engines don’t have eyes like we do and rely on spiders to crawl websites to better understand elements, such as images, tables, copy, and so much more.

When these spiders encounter bulky code, it can take a long time for them to render these elements. This will affect a website’s loading speed, irritate internet users, and elicit a harsh penalty from Google.

As a software developer, what can you do to avoid all of these outcomes? The obvious solution is minifying Javascript code. With Javascript being ubiquitous on nearly every website, there are clearly advantages to this strategy.

But, there are also some disadvantages as well. Below, you’ll learn all about the pros and cons of minifying Javascript code.

What is Minification in Javascript?

Minification, also known as minimization, is a very simple website development concept. It involves truncating all unnecessary characters of Javascript source code without impacting its usefulness and functionality.

Think of minification as refining Javascript code. By removing extraneous semicolons, comments, whitespace, along with using shorter variable functions and names, developers can create a more compact file size.

To help you understand the concept, below is a block of code before minification. It’s presently only eight lines of source code:

Before Javascript Code Minification

After the source code has been minimized, here is what it now looks like:

After Javascript Code Minification

As you can see, the code now has one line. Here are all of the changes that have been made:

  • The comments on line 1-3 are unnecessary and have been removed for refinement.
  • The character (}) on line 6 has been removed.
  • Line 7 has been removed because it contains no characters.
  • Lines 4,5, and 8 have been consolidated for refinement.

These changes may seem minute, but they can significantly impact the efficiency of your Javascript source code. Overall, minification can lead to faster webpage loading times, which can improve your website experience, making both search engines and visitors content.

How is Minification Different from Other Tactics?

Experienced developers are aware that there are other refinement techniques to improve the efficiency of Javascript source code. These are obfuscation, compression, encryption, and uglification.

Minification differs from all of these, mainly because:

  • Uglification — This is basically the same as minification. In fact, Uglify is a type of Javascript library which helps developers minimize files. Essentially, to “uglify” a JavaScript file is to minimize it using this library. Nonetheless, uglification may enhance performance but it will unfortunately reduce readability for other collaborators.
  • Encryption — Encryption is the process of translating plain data into encoded data. This creates secretive data called ciphertext, which requires a special key to gain authorized access to decrypt the data. Browsers can’t utilize encrypted code. Therefore, this method is more of a security feature than a minimization tactic.
  • Obfuscation — This process is done to hide secretive development practices. In essence, the source code is altered in a way that becomes illegible to other humans. Through obfuscation, reverse engineering becomes nearly impossible. Unlike encryption, computers are still able to interpret Javascript files and execute them. Obfuscation is performed by altering the names of members, functions, variables. This results in a reduced file size and improved performance.
  • Compression — Data compression is the process of decreasing the number of bits needed for the code to be recognized. Compression can increase the speed of file transfers, free up hard drive space, and reduce bandwidth costs. Microsoft Word, and other files, may be up to 90% smaller after compression.

Why Don’t Developers Create Minimized Cost At First?

As you have already learned, minification delivers compact Javascript files. This can improve a website’s overall performance. With that said, how come developers don’t already write code that’s minimized?

The answer is simple. Javascript is written by and for humans. Developers need to use comments, formatting, and whitespace to properly debug the code and improve collaboration.

Once the code is completed, minifying the files should be done to improve its performance. Because browsers can execute code without needing to interpret it.

What are the Disadvantages of Minification?

Minification isn’t a perfect process. In fact, minification can ruin complicated scripts due to site-dependent variables, such as server environment, plugins, and themes. For this reason, minification must be performed in convergence with other performance enhancing methods.

By itself, minification won’t provide significant benefits for developers. It can also introduce critical errors that are difficult to debug, since all variables and comments have been removed.

Minification may be an important process for developers, but if you’re managing a massive development project, it’ll be worth it to consult with your team before deciding to minimize your Javascript files.

This way, you can make an informed decision that will best affect your website development project.

Javascript Minification: Pros and Cons

Javascript Minification Pros and Cons

Overall, minifying Javascript source code is an effective way to enhance a website property. This can improve the SEO value of a website, yet it can also reduce the accuracy of debugging sessions.

Below, you’ll find a complete list of pros and cons to make the right decision for your team:



  • Minification can deter debugging, especially with other project collaborators.
  • Minification must be performed in conjunction with other performance enhancement strategies.

All in all, minification is a beneficial strategy that can improve the performance of your website. You should be mindful of how it can alter the collaboration between key members of your team.

Need Help With Website Development Services?

There is a lot that goes on in any website development project. If your team doesn’t have the staff and resources to spearhead a successful project, we can help. At, we specialize in delivering top-notch website and software development services.

Contact us today to speak to a member of our team for more information.

Ryan is the VP of Operations for He brings over a decade of experience in managing custom website and software development projects for clients small and large, managing internal and external teams on meeting and exceeding client expectations--delivering projects on-time and within budget requirements. Ryan is based in El Paso, Texas.
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Ryan Nead