This month’s 20 21 best new web performance links

It’s always interesting to look back at the performance-related articles, posts, and reports I’ve read over the previous month and try to frame them as a snapshot of our industry. If I were to do that now, I’d say that March wasn’t a month of sexy studies and flashy numbers. Instead, it seemed to mostly be about getting our hands dirty — refining our performance measurement tools and getting into the finer nuances of optimization.

How-to’s and case studies

Mobile comparison of Top 11
Steve Souders talks about how to use Jdrop to gather, analyze and share mobile performance data.

Speeding Up Your Website’s Database
Good how-to piece from Smashing Magazine that explains how a database can slow down your site, and how to speed it back up.

YSlow/Chrome hacking
Excellent post from performance expert Stoyan Stefanov on hacking the brand-new YSlow for Chrome.

Automating HTTPWatch with PHP
Another good how-to from Stoyan. This is a three-part post about automating and scripting HTTPWatch to perform various “monitoring-like” tasks.

How You Doin? 5 Free Ways to Check Your Site Performance
Linda Bustos at Get Elastic wrote a great post rounding up free tips and tools for analyzing five different aspects of your website’s health: competitive benchmarks, backlinks, social sentiment, business ratings, and of course, site performance.

Getting ‘mobile-ready’ part 1: Creating a mobile-optimized website
From the Google Mobile Ads blog, a guide for creating your mobile site. Note my favourite, tip #4. Optimize, optimize, optimize.

Testing and Optimizing Single Page Web 2.0/AJAX Applications: Why best practices alone don’t work any more
Andreas Grabner explains why Web 2.0 applications can’t be optimized with best practices alone, and offers some good tips for testing and optimizing.

Faster page loads with image lazy loading
From the Slideshare Engineering Blog comes this great case study demonstrating how the folks at Slideshare implemented lazy loading to postpone loading of thumbnails and other below-the-fold images. The result was pages that loaded up to 10 seconds faster.

Tools and performance measurement

Please welcome YSlow for Chrome
Yahoo! announced the beta release of YSlow for Chrome, which works in much the same way as their Firefox add-on.

Google Page Speed Online
Now you can bypass the extensions and access PageSpeed online to analyze the content of a web page and get suggestions to make that page faster.

Above-the-fold render time (AFT) on WebPagetest
Google’s Jake Brutlag demonstrated this new feature at Velocity Online. It runs in tandem with video capture to analyze screen shots to identify the time/frame at which browser window visible content is rendered.

Measuring Page Performance
Yahoo! performance engineer Shanti Subramanyam’s thoughts on perceived and above the fold timing (AFT) for web page response time.

A great resource for anyone who really wants to get their hands dirty, this open-source archive lets you see and analyze performance data and trends aggregated from almost 18,000 websites. The description from the archive’s mission statement:

In addition to the content of web pages, it’s important to record how this digitized content is constructed and served. The HTTP Archive provides this record. It is a permanent repository of web performance information such as size of pages, failed requests, and technologies utilized. This performance information allows us to see trends in how the Web is built and provides a common data set from which to conduct web performance research.

Velocity news

Velocity online conference – March 2011
Good review of last week’s Velocity Online Conference from Yahoo! performance engineer Praveen P.N.

Velocity Conference 2011
O’Reilly announced the dates for this year’s Velocity Web Performance & Operations Conference (June 14-16) and began to roll out the schedule. Very exciting to note that — in addition to the operations, performance, and culture tracks — there will also be a mobile performance track. Also exciting to note the tagline for this year’s event: “Automated, Optimized, Ubiquitous.”


Gomez’s Best of the Web 2010 Web & Mobile Performance Awards
This is Gomez’s second annual report showcasing the leaders in website and mobile web performance in six major industries nationwide: retail, travel, media, healthcare, government, and financial services.

Cloud performance

The Era of the End User
In the lead-up to Cloud Connect, BitCurrent released a very readable report called The Era of the End User, which discusses the cloud, user experience, and internal productivity. Among other things, the report posits that, in the future, the efficacy of websites and web applications will be measured by a formal metric like “cost per visitor-second.”

Browsers and connectivity

Internet Explorer 9 Network Performance Improvements
From Microsoft’s IE blog: A really good explanation of how browser bottlenecks occur and how IE9 addresses these issues.

The History of Internet Usage And Speeds
A whole bunch of statistics you probably already know, presented in a brand-new set of infographics. If you’ve been looking for a graphic that compellingly illustrates global stats on IP traffic per internet user, your search is over.

Third-party content

Your Web, Half a Second Sooner
Google’s been hard at work addressing known latency issues with their AdSense code. Recently announced on the Google Code blog: New AdSense javascript means that “the latency overhead from our ads is basically gone.”

Just for fun

What If Lag Seeped Into Real Life?
What would your life be like if latency affected everything you do? This animated video addresses this very serious and important question.

You can find all of these links (and many, many more) on the WPO Hub, which Strangeloop launched earlier this month. We’re working hard to keep it up to date with the best performance-related research, case studies, and blog posts we can find.

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