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High Performance Web Sites: Essential Knowledge for Front-End Engineers [Paperback]

Steve Souders
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
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Book Description

21 Sep 2007 0596529309 978-0596529307 1

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.

Each performance rule is supported by specific examples, and code snippets are available on the book's companion web site. The rules include how to:

  • Make Fewer HTTP Requests
  • Use a Content Delivery Network
  • Add an Expires Header
  • Gzip Components
  • Put Stylesheets at the Top
  • Put Scripts at the Bottom
  • Avoid CSS Expressions
  • Make JavaScript and CSS External
  • Reduce DNS Lookups
  • Minify JavaScript
  • Avoid Redirects
  • Remove Duplicates Scripts
  • Configure ETags
  • Make Ajax Cacheable

If you're building pages for high traffic destinations and want to optimize the experience of users visiting your site, this book is indispensable.

"If everyone would implement just 20% of Steve's guidelines, the Web would be adramatically better place. Between this book and Steve's YSlow extension, there's reallyno excuse for having a sluggish web site anymore."

-Joe Hewitt, Developer of Firebug debugger and Mozilla's DOM Inspector

"Steve Souders has done a fantastic job of distilling a massive, semi-arcane art down to a set of concise, actionable, pragmatic engineering steps that will change the world of web performance."

-Eric Lawrence, Developer of the Fiddler Web Debugger, Microsoft Corporation

Frequently Bought Together

High Performance Web Sites: Essential Knowledge for Front-End Engineers + Even Faster Web Sites: Performance Best Practices for Web Developers + Building Scalable Web Sites
Price For All Three: £57.02

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highly recommended to all Web developers seriously interested in improving their site visitors' experiences.
-- Michael J. Ross, Slashdot.org, October 2007

Book Description

14 Steps to Faster-Loading Web Sites

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
For once, it's nice to have an dev book not full of useless screenshots and blatitudes going beyond 500 pages. This little gem is a delightful stroll through a field I see ignored in most projects too often.

While the authors does not say everthing there is to say about web site optimization, the advice here will be more than enough to out do competitors, to set you a level or two above fellow developers and to show some light on issues that you will probably never find out for yourself unless you do a lot of testing, which you never have time to do, considering the strict deadlines imposed on most projects. Fortunately, Steve Souders has already done this for us.

I love the concept of just doing 14 chapters, each for a given solution, explanining it concisely, giving real world metrics and sticking to the point. Good also that he shows how he did the tests and how he analysis top web sites.

To sum it up, I think this should be a must not only for the front-end engineers, as the book suggests, but also for any developer having to do with the web (asp.net, php, whatever) and architects, project leads, whatever. The book is short and plain, so you have no excuse. It will benefit you no matter what.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Set to become a Classic 23 Nov 2007
By Hudba
The book I reviewed is called High Performance websites ( Essential Knowledge for Frontend Engineers ). It is written by Steve Souders who is Chief Performance at Yahoo. The book explains common causes of pages taking a long time to display then offers 14 performance rules for front end engineers to consider implementing .

I am reviewing this book having been involved in front-end development since 1998 and worked on some of the most visited sites in the UK.

I was sceptical when I heard about this book. I feared it would be a rehash of hoary old advice such as optimise images by using jpegs for photographs, however the high quality of the O'Reilly library persuaded me that Mr Souders might have something more to offer.

When the book arrived on my desk I was pleasantly surprised by its size. It is only 145 pages long. Considerably shorter then my credit card statements and a much more enjoyable read.

The first two chapters are introductory. The first chapter ( 5 pages) explains the importance of front end development. This is useful because it concisely presents the technical case for investing time and resources in optimising the front end layer of a website.

The second chapter explains what happens to a server when a html page loads and where the major delays are. I enjoyed reading it. It bought to together bits of information I'd picked up from a disparate range of sources. It was nice to see them together and in context. The restricted focus on the effects of code on performance (and not databases meant) that I could extract useful information quickly.

The remaining 14 chapters each described one point in a 14 point plan to increase the speed of a website. Obviously this plan is available on-line.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow. What a great book. 24 Nov 2007
Wow. What a great book.

I took this book, because it is very short, just 168 pages. I asked myself, what this guy can say in just 168 pages about performance? Maybe some introduction to the topic? First two chapters just confirmed my assumptions. There is nothing new, just some general information that I already knew.

How big was my surprise when I finished chapter 3 - first rule (out of 14). Author was able to explain what is the problem with too many http requests and how to make fewer requests. Even I am not a performance guru (just a developer) it was clear enough how should I build my web pages in the future. Even more, he gave me a felling that I should change my current pages.

Next couple chapters are even better, especially description how important is to put css and js imports in the correct place on web page, and how big impact they might have when they are in wrong place. The chapters about Expiry headers and ETags are also awesome. Author describes how cache in web browser works, what are conditional gets and how to make a proxy more efficient.

I finished a book with a feeling that I can easily change my pages to work much faster than they are today. And you know what - I will not spend much time for that one.

I recommend this book for everybody who writes web pages even for personal use. You will be surprised how big amount of knowledge you can get from 168 pages.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I work full time in the field of website delivery performance, and spend much of my time examining commercial websites of large and small companies for issues hindering their performance in the browser. There are a select few people out there who have their sites well designed and optimised (perhaps they have already read this book?). However, for every one of these there are at least nine who have left considerations about page loading times to one side and let their web developers have full reign to implement the functional design driven primarily by the creatives with little if any heed paid to how this might perform in a browser at the end of an unreliable Internet connection, perhaps half way around the globe. This is fine by me, as it leaves a lot of scope for me to provide services which give instant improvements and shore up their poor design. However, if you really want to give the best possible user experience, you need to start with the fundamentals, before you start turning to third parties for help. This short, but incredibly useful book covers all you need to know about designing your website to load as swiftly as possible in the browser for a given page design, and its contents are nuggets of pure gold. If you design, develop or manage websites and you haven't read this book, you really are missing a very big trick indeed. Buy it. Read it. Do it!
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