Mathieu Bouchard

Gambling on CDNs

It struck me recently that the conventional approach to loading libraries like jQuery through CDNs (content-delivery networks) might be a bad idea.

Don't get me wrong, the concept is sound. It's a great way to speed up website delivery. My problem has to do with trusting a company with the responsibility of hosting such libraries on domains they alone control.

Step 1: Host libraries for free, Step 2: ???, Step 3: PROFIT

Companies are known for changing their stances to please shareholders. The change in direction at Google is a good example. Their once beloved motto "do no evil" looks to be a thing of the past.

Well, this got me thinking... They're being awfully nice hosting several libraries for us. But what if they decide to stop doing us a favor? Not everyone has fallback code in place.

Our selection criteria for these types of CDNs is based on gut instinct. "Is this company big?", or "What are the chances they'll go under?".

Well my friends... that's gambling. We shouldn't be gambling on a practice that is becoming a standard.

So what do we do?

I have an idea, but that's all it is... an idea. I'd love to hear other solutions, but here's my take:

I believe we are all, individuals and companies, willing to pay for the cost of a CDN for common libraries. Enough to cover hardware and maintenance, etc. So let's set it up so we can. We need a sponsor system and a team of volunteers to manage what goes up there. And a way for anyone to donate. And of course, no single point of failure. There would be a company-agnostic domain, and hosting companies could sponsor servers (maybe their company name gets injected as comments, who knows). I'm sure by now you get the gist and could easily elaborate on such a system. I'm sure such a beast exists in other capacities already.

So let's discuss!

[UPDATE: looks quite promising]