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I believe this means to remove all white space and comments from the outputted HTML, as well as 'optimisation' of css and js amongst other things.
Would everyone here agree that this is a Good Thing to do, or does it have any downsides?
Call me a cynic, but I don't know if I'm entirely comfortable with having my code 'optimised' by a third party! Should I simply be 'optimising' it myself?
I agree with Quadrille too that removing the white space makes editing much harder, and without gzip compression the difference in page weight would be small.
If it does and you're worried you could code the html so the majority of your reader text is at the top and stick large portions of the coding below.
In fact I usually keep all uncrunched old back-copies of websites that I work on. You never know when you'll need an old page again.
The effect that such tools can have is minimal compared to on-the-fly compression tools such as mod_gzip or mod_deflate. Using gzip compression on the server can reduce page weight by up to 80%, gzip is available widely in most Apache installations, even on shared hosts.
Hhhhmmm, interesting! This prompted further research...
This very site [webmasterworld.com] appears to implement this, and after a bit of 'web sniffing' reveals that the encoded page (sent to the browser) is a little over 10KB, and once decoded is 56KB! That's quite a saving in download time and bandwidth!