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What does it mean to compression / minify Javascript?

Javascript minification (also called compression or obfuscation) is a technique used to optmize web sites load times by reducing the Javascript files sizes and combining multiple files into one.

This makes the javascript files download fast, reduces the bandwidth used and makes client browsers use fewer HTTP requests to render the web pages.

How does it work?

The small file size is accomplished by removing whitespace characters and comments that are not needed by web browsers. The code is also gently optimized where possible without breaking the behaviour. The file sizes are generally reduced between 30 - 90%. The last step is to combine the files into one file that hold all the Javascript for the requested web page.

Why should you do this?

The visitor will see the rendered page faster as the browser fetches the Javascript part of the page faster than if it was uncompressed. This is generally said to result in more happy and engaged web site visitors.

Further reading

This web tool was created by @arvid_a