Origami Frontend Components & Services

Origami Newsletter, May 2020

Posted on by Lee Moody.
Tagged with Newsletter.

TL;DR: This issue features a big Fastly cost saving, new font formats, and a major release of Origami Build Tools.

Top Things

These are some of the bigger things we’ve done over the last month.

Fastly Cost Saving

This month we updated our Fastly configuration for the Origami Build Service and Origami Image Service. Our new Fastly contract meant that our previous architecture was no longer good from a cost perspective (it used to be fine with our old contract).

With the update we’re saving ~£5,000 per month.

Thank you Sam Parkinson for calculating the cost saving and helping this work get prioritised.

A New Font Format

We made all our fonts available in the woff2 format, which has a much smaller file size compared to the original woff format.

This will help improve the performance of so many of our sites including ft.com, Specialist Titles, internal products and tools.

As we helped fix a double font loading bug on ft.com at the same time, we don’t have statistics on how much the new font format improved the performance of ft.com for our readers. But both updates together made a huge improvement:

Big thanks to Nick Colley for making the suggestion that we include woff2; and for helping us deploy the updates quickly to Customer Products projects!

Origami Build Tools v10

We released another major of Origami Build Tools. This release includes some significant maintenance work updating a number of outdated or deprecated dependencies. But more excitingly we’ve made improvements to the workflow for component maintainers too 🎉

If you contribute to Origami components or your team actively maintains one we recommend upgrading to v10. Please let us know if you have any issues or feedback.

Simplified Interface

To help engineers new to Origami components get up and running with component development we simplified the most common command. To start working on a component with Origami Build Tools it was common to run the following command:

obt demo --run-server --watch --verbose

That’s a lot of options to understand at first. Instead we simplified this to:

obt develop

If you’ve never used Origami Build Tools before and would like to understand what this command does, see the Origami Build Tools readme.

Speed Improvements

Origami Build Tools now compiles component code faster. It’s an important metric for Origami Build Tools as it helps keep the feedback loop short between an engineer making a code change and seeing the result of that change.

As an unscientific example on an FT MacBook Pro laptop: the quickest of three o-table demo builds is 2.18 seconds over 4.11 seconds – around a 53% improvement.

We improved the performance of Origami Build Tools by creating two new packages:

Special Thanks

This month our special thanks goes to Rowan Manning! In case you missed the news, at the start of May Rowan moved from the Origami team (O&R) to Customer Products. So a big thank you to Rowan for all their work on and leading Origami over the years 😃. Jake Champion is the stand-in Tech Lead, if you have questions about Origami please contact them instead of Rowan.

Broader Update

A digest of other things that have happened since our last update: