Three nifty (and free) new performance measurement tools for mobile and third-party content

One of the fun things about Velocity is all the great tools that people unveil over the course of the conference. Here are three that I’ve checked out so far and liked. If you have any to recommend, let me know in the comments.

3PO

3PO is a handy bookmarklet from Stoyan Stefanov that checks pages for integration with common third-party content, such as analytics and social sharing buttons. True to its claim, it was easy to install by just dragging it to my bookmarks. When I visit a page, one click launches the tool, and it generates a nice little report that not only assigns a letter grade to the page but also gives tips on how to fix issues that it identifies.

3PO - Bookmarklet for measuring third-party performanceWith the additional checks Stoyan plans to add, I think 3PO has potential to become part of a solid performance toolkit.

SPOF-O-Matic

Great minds think alike… here’s another third-party measurement tool, this time from Pat Meenan. SPOF-O-Matic is a Chrome extension that detects likely third-party single points of failure (SPOFs) as you browse and allows you to simulate how a page will perform if third-party resources are unavailable. You may recall this post about testing your site’s vulnerability to third-party outages. SPOF-O-Matic makes it easy for you to do this on the fly.

SPOF-O-Matic - Chrome browser extension for measuring third-party performanceI’ve actually been running SPOF-O-Matic for a couple of weeks now, thanks to an early tip from Pat, and one of the cool things about it is that it shows visible alerts any time I’m on a page with potential third-party issues such as blocking JavaScript. I’m now very aware of the fact that the bulk of pages out there are not bulletproof when it comes to their third-party scripts.

WebPagetest for mobile

More good stuff from Pat: WebPagetest now lets you test on two mobile devices, iPhone 4 (iOS 5.1) and Nexus S (Android 2.3), from the Dulles, VA location, thanks to Akamai’s recently open-sourced Mobitest agents. The test agents are also available for people to use for private instances. As someone who’s spent a lot of time hacking processes for simulating page load on mobile devices — and as someone who’s very aware of the difficulty in creating a test that generates reliable, believable mobile results — I for one am incredibly grateful for this new feature. It’s going to get a lot of use.

Webpagetest for mobile performance measurementAs anyone who develops software for a living knows, a lot of creativity, thought, and sweat goes into creating these tools, and I’m always humbled when I think of the generosity of the people who build them and make them freely available. As our industry evolves, our measurement tools are getting bigger and sexier. It’s good to remember that tools like WebPagetest and 3PO — tools that are rolled out nimbly, and that aren’t afraid to experiment with new features — are out there leading the charge.

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