Misunderstood “Asset Queue Manager” speed plugin has great performance potential.

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We admit there are times we find new plugins and think we know their function – only to find out later what they’re really good for. This is one of them.

It’s just that the plugin author didn’t know how to explain or market the plugin the way we were thinking. They had a clever solution without our real-world problem mentioned. We didn’t recognize the plugin’s potential to solve our problems until later – by accident.

For ages we’ve wanted the ability switch off FontAwesome icon font. We see it as unnecessary baggage many themes include as a feature. In fact, most themes include it any more. Sometimes, this 70k+ file is added to page weight just to make a single icon – like the magnifying glass in the search field, or perhaps the hamburger icon for a mobile menu. What a waste!

We learned we could “de-enqueue” that icon-non-feature in the WordPress functions.php file. But this always proved tedious or broke things. We wanted a faster, safer way to test. We asked our local WordPress meetup if they knew of a plugin that would remove FontAwesome painlessly. No one had any clue.

We found the answer while testing for plugins to remove the annoying Google PageSpeed error message:

Eliminate render-blocking JavaScript and CSS in above-the-fold content.

We found “Asset Queue Manager” plugin. It doesn’t really help much with solving that Google PageSpeed error message. But what a gem, once we understood what it could really do. Not only can we de-enqueue FontAwesome, we can get rid of Google fonts and other heavy assets like unused sliders that have universal page loads.

Asset Queue Manager 101k compressed, 700 installs.
Description: A tool for experienced frontend performance engineers to take control over the scripts and styles enqueued on their site.

Hey! We are frontend performance engineers! But that name threw us. It didn’t say, “FontAwesome Remover plugin.”

The word “experienced” in the description is scary. But the damage done by novices can be quickly undone with some safety features the authors built-in.

Once the plugin is activated, browse to any page on the front of your site. An Assets link will appear on the top right of the WordPress admin bar. Click that to view and manage all assets globally.

up-in-the-corner
That’s it “Assets” on the front side of the page. Not the dashboard side. Up there in the top right corner of your screen. Click it to open up the windows shown below.

The plugin author explains he put it on the front because the assets only get enqueued on the frontend, so the plugin doesn’t really know anything on the backend. That’s why he decided to only show the link on the frontend. But many people don’t understand this link location. It’s not in the admin dashboard. It dequeues assets globabally – not per page.

What if I dequeued jQuery (or something I shouldn’t have) and now my site is broken. Go to the list of plugins in your admin panel. Find the Asset Queue Manager and click the “Restore Dequeued Assets” link. Nice and easy.

screen-1-assets-queue-mgr
Click to view screen details about assets enqueued in the head or footer. Dequeue them.

 

screen2-assets-queue-mgr
Click to view details about assets that are being dequeued by this plugin. Requeue them if you want.

What a beautiful misunderstood plugin with a lot of hidden speed potential.

Here’s another application example, we recently used Asset Queue Manager plugin to de-enqueue the lazy-load-images function of the Speed Booster Pack plugin. That was a javascript file called sbp-lazy-load.min.js. It was being loaded globally and adding page weight. We wanted the nice other features of Speed Booster Pack plugin but not the lazy load because it caused site drag. That function was loaded even if it wasn’t selected in the plugin control panel. Weird! Our preference was using Rocket Lazy Load which has no site drag at all – a weightless plugin. Piece of cake with Asset Queue Manager!

Oh, and it’s weightless and free. Perfect.

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by - Mike Milano