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A proposal for a Time To First Meaningful Paint specification.
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README.md

README.md

PerformanceNavigationTiming firstMeaningfulPaint

Web developers require more information on page load performance in the wild.

PerformanceNavigationTiming's firstMeaningfulPaint attribute will return a DOMHighResTimeStamp with a time value approximating the time when a page's primary content has been displayed on the screen. firstMeaningfulPaint will be undefined until page load is complete. (TODO - when is page load complete?)

Which content is primary is subjective, and knowing when content has appeared on the screen precisely is impossible on user's devices. Approximations of firstMeaningfulPaint may differ between browser implementations.

In Chrome, we're experimenting with an approximation of First Meaningful Paint based on signals from page layout. We will not spec this particularly strategy, since it relies on browser implementation details.

Using firstMeaningfulPaint

First Meaningful Paint will be added to the PerformanceNavigationTiming interface in the Navigation Timing API.

window.TODO = () => { 
  var navigationTiming = performance.getEntriesByType("navigation")[0];
  console.log("Time to First Meaningful Paint: " + navigationTiming.firstMeaningfulPaint);
}

Computation

We approximate First Meaningful Paint as the end time of the paint following the layout with the highest "Layout Significance".

Layout Significance

For each layout, we compute the layout significance.

if a textual web font is loading:
  layout_significance = 0
else:
  previous_layout = last layout without a loading textual webfont
  new_layout_object_count = number of new Layout Objects* since previous_layout
  layout_significance = new_layout_object_count / max(1, page_height / screen_height)

*Layout Objects in Blink are similar to CSS Boxes, though there are some differences.

To determine if a web font is textual, we use a heuristic. If a web font has more than 200 characters, we consider it textual.

Including page height / screen height in the calculation enables us to decrease the weight of layouts which are likely only adding content below the fold.

TODO

  • Determine how much deviation in the implementations of firstMeaningfulPaint is acceptable.
  • Define when page load is complete.
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