SXSWi Day One - Book Reading: High Performance Web Sites

Panel blurb: Want your web site to display more quickly? This book presents 14 specific rules that will cut 25% to 50% off response time when users request a page. Author Steve Souders, in his job as Chief Performance Yahoo!, collected these best practices while optimizing some of the most-visited pages on the Web. Even sites that had already been highly optimized, such as Yahoo! Search and the Yahoo! Front Page, were able to benefit from these surprisingly simple performance guidelines. The rules in High Performance Web Sites explain how you can optimize the performance of the Ajax, CSS, JavaScript, Flash, and images that you've already built into your site -- adjustments that are critical for any rich web application. Other sources of information pay a lot of attention to tuning web servers, databases, and hardware, but the bulk of display time is taken up on the browser side and by the communication between server and browser. High Performance Web Sites covers every aspect of that process.

Panelist: Steve Souders, formerly Chief Performance Yahoo!, now at Google
A slower version of Souders's presentation that incorporates his slides is available at Yahoo! Developer Network Theater. A complete list of the rules and short explanations are also available at the Yahoo! Developer Network.
Ahhh, yes. My second SXSW panel, and it was mostly over my head. I thought that was great. Yep, I'm at a technology conference. My notes are quite short for this one:

  • Souder's book contains 14 best practices for speeding up webpages
  • Speed matters
  • Bug checking tools: Firebug and YSlow (YSlow was originally developed in-house for Yahoo, and is now also available as a Mozilla add-on.
  • Keep scripts as far down as possible on pages, and put style sheets above scripts - MySpace pages break these rules [no surprise there!]
  • Stuff about caching
  • Focus on front-end
  • Two quick fixes: add expires headers and use Gzip components
The book reading sessions were fast-paced half-hour segments that took place in the day stage, a room that had both a traditional audience set-up and scattered tables and chairs. There was a small cafeteria line set up in one corner, where I incidentally got the best food I've ever had at a convention center: a (non-Taco Bell) taco. It was a convenient and comfortable place to casually drop in, get a snack, and check email while listening to snippets of interesting content. I popped into a couple others, but this is the only one I took notes on.


Rebecca Hickman: March 30, 2008 at 10:45:00 PM EDT  

Interesting. The more I know the more I know I don't know.

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