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Async css #3983

andershol opened this issue Aug 31, 2018 · 2 comments


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commented Aug 31, 2018

Allow css files to be marked as async meaning that they will not block rendering. The syntax could be a new attribute on the link element or a new value for "rel" attribute (that already have link types such as "dns-prefetch", "preconnect", "prefetch", and "preload" that also seems to serve a technical, how-to-load purpose), say "<link rel='stylesheet async' type='text/css' href='theme.css'>".

This functionality is similar to the async attribute on the script element, and the font-display descriptor for the @font-face CSS at-rule.

A web search will find quite a few articles about how to do this in a more or less hackish way, so there seems to be a demand for it. It seems that the browsers could rather easily add this in a much more reliable way as the browser e.g. knows if the resource is already in the cache and can control the priority of requests.

(I did read the contributing guidelines, but as I read them, they only talk about submitting pull requests and not about submitting issues)


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commented Aug 31, 2018

While the JS-based packaging does not have an issue with loading CSS on demand of JS module( lazy or in run time), IMO having coherent phased load behavior over all resources including script, images, fonts, css, etc has sense to be unified and be a part of HTML standard. So I would extend this feature request to "unify the load behavior for web page resources" instead of just CSS lazy load.

Also current separation of synchronous/async/delayed behavior does not reflect the need for modern web app. In complex apps the order of load is phased and each phase accounts dependency graph. Extending loading parameters with "depend on" and "load order" is a good addition to proposal.

All seems to be easy polyfilled for backward compatibility.


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commented Sep 6, 2018

There are two related but orthogonal issues here:

  1. What should the browser do before a resource is downloaded? For fonts this might be wait for the font to download before showing anything, show invisible text, or show a fallback font some of which can be selected by font-display (note it does not seem to be possible using font-display to opt-out of the initial wait), for scripts it might be to wait for the script to load before proceeding or just to execute it when it is loaded, for images there is "lowsrc" and one might imagine an option to select how the image should animate on to the image when it is loaded. In short, it depends on the resource type what possibilities it makes sense to choose between.
  2. What priority should the resource have in the load order? This could tie in with the priority and dependency system that both http2 (section 5.3) and quic (section 3.2) seems to already have. It would probably make sense to give page authors a way to indicate a desired load-order instead of relying on the browsers heuristic.

As an example of why they are orthogonal, consider that it currently seems, that marking a script "async" will give it the lowest priority. But even though a script might not be needed for the first render, it might be desirable to have it load before, say, large decorative images on the page.

This issue is about (1) for the stylesheet resource type.

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