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Add critical CSS with wp_enqueue_scripts

Following on nicely from the previous post. One of the things with critical path CSS, is you can’t use wp_enqueue_style. It’s not a huge deal, as the easiest way to get around it is by putting it in your <head> the regular way. Though when you combine that with cookies and <noscript> tags, it can make for quite a messy <head>. Particularly for a Wordpress template, as I have found in the past..

In this post I will show you how to avoid this. It’s similar to the way Wordpress recommends you queue your scripts and styles.

Set up your cookie

The first thing we need is to make sure our cookie is setup. I’m assuming here you know how to do this, if not I have wrote about setting up cookies for Wordpress in detail.

add_action( 'init', 'full_css' );

function full_css()
{
  setcookie('full-css', true, time() + (86400 * 21), '/');
}

Modifying the enqueue setup

It’s possible you’ve already got critical and asynchronous CSS setup, or you’re trying this approach for the first time. What we’re aiming for is all of our CSS and JavaScript to be added to the wp_enqueue_scripts hook.

Enqueuing styles

This function will contain our CSS (and JavaScript, albeit I won’t be discussing it), which are added on the wp_enqueue_style hook. This should be your starting point.

function iamsteve_scripts()
{
  wp_enqueue_style(
    'full',
    get_template_directory_uri() . ‘/dist/css/master.css’,
    array(),
    '1.0.0'
  );
}
add_action( 'wp_enqueue_scripts', 'iamsteve_scripts' );

You can find documentation on the Wordpress Codex.

Setting the cookie and adding our critical CSS

Now you have the basis for your styles and scripts. It’s on to the next step of setting up your cookie, critical CSS, and make sure other CSS is loaded asynchronously.

Basic setup

Here is your basic setup for checking if the cookie exists.

function iamsteve_scripts()
{
  if ( isset($_COOKIE['full-css']) ) :
    // Enqueue CSS regularly
    wp_enqueue_style(
      'full',
      get_template_directory_uri() . ‘/dist/css/master.css’,
      array(),
      '1.0.0'
    );
  else :
    // Include critical and asynchronous CSS
  endif;
}
add_action( 'wp_enqueue_scripts', 'iamsteve_scripts' );

Include critical CSS and load everything else asynchronously

Here’s where it gets a little messy, but the benefit is this is no longer in your template code.

function iamsteve_scripts()
{

  $fonts = 'url/of/fonts.css';
  $master = get_template_directory_uri() . '/dist/css/master.css';

  if ( isset($_COOKIE['full-css']) ) :
    wp_enqueue_style(
      'fonts',
      $fonts,
      array(),
      '1.0.0'
    );
    wp_enqueue_style(
      'full',
      $master,
      array(),
      '1.0.0'
    );
  else :
    echo '<style>';
    include get_template_directory() . '/dist/css/critical.css';
    echo '</style>';

    echo '<script>';
    echo 'function loadCSS(a,b,c){ … }';
    echo 'loadCSS("' . $fonts . '");';
    echo 'loadCSS("' . $master . '");';
    echo '</script>';

    echo '<noscript>';
    echo '<link href="' . $fonts . '" rel="stylesheet">';
    echo '<link href="' . $master . '" rel="stylesheet">';
    echo '</noscript>';
  endif;

}
add_action( 'wp_enqueue_scripts', 'iamsteve_scripts' );

Minor additions

There are a few changes I’ve made. Now we’re in PHP we can add our fonts and CSS to variables, for use in areas it’s repeated.

You may or may not be able to include your fonts this way. If you’re using typekit I would recommend their ‘advanced’ script.

Including critical.css

In the else statement you include your critical CSS, using get_template_directory instead of get_template_directory_uri. This is important as it uses the path, instead of a URL, which can produce errors. This is included between some style tags.

Add loadCSS or alternative asynchronous CSS script

Then we echo our asynchronous CSS. I’m using loadCSS by Filament Group. I’ve excluded the script for readability here, but you can put it in place of the empty function that’s there already.

For when there isn’t JavaScript

Finally our <noscript> fallbacks. You can’t be sure if JavaScript will always be available.

That’s it

This is the most effective way of managing your critical CSS setup for Wordpress, that I have found. It keeps it all together, using the correct Wordpress functions.

However I would like to see a way of inlining CSS in Wordpress. There is wp_add_inline_style, but it doesn’t work as intended.

Next to read

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