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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fast Read -- Pass It Along
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_High Performance Web Sites_ is one of those books that will get read by more people than buy it because it is both a fast read and organized into clearly differentiated subjects. This makes it easy to pick up for a moment or pass along to team members with different specialties.

Each of these "14 Steps to Faster-Loading Web Sites" (listed in the...
Published on September 17, 2007 by Brett Merkey

versus
52 of 58 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good ideas, poor book
The ideas in the book are excellent. I'm all for an organized checklist of techniques to make web sites faster. The problem, is that once you have read the documentation for Yslow (the firebug plugin that grades sites based on these criteria) you will find the book provides little to no more substantive information. I had looked forward to it, purchased it, and have...
Published on December 22, 2007 by E. Welker


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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fast Read -- Pass It Along, September 17, 2007
By 
Brett Merkey (Palm Harbor, FL United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: High Performance Web Sites: Essential Knowledge for Front-End Engineers (Paperback)
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_High Performance Web Sites_ is one of those books that will get read by more people than buy it because it is both a fast read and organized into clearly differentiated subjects. This makes it easy to pick up for a moment or pass along to team members with different specialties.

Each of these "14 Steps to Faster-Loading Web Sites" (listed in the editorial review above) is itself divided into related tips with practical pointers. The fact that the book is full of these pointers is not the only value I extracted. We also get something a bit more subtle. The fact that the author is a performance expert at one of the mega-companies that define the Web for most of us lends authority to the book. It is easy to have confidence that his practical experience will have immediate lessons for teams with the same problems, if on a smaller scale.

Steve Souders provides a special addition to his tips: his example pages offer direct comparisons and means to make our own tests. This is something rarely encountered in such books. The book ends with a 30-page chapter where he deconstructs 10 of the top Web sites in the U.S. using the rules and tools described in the book.
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52 of 58 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good ideas, poor book, December 22, 2007
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E. Welker (Maryland, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: High Performance Web Sites: Essential Knowledge for Front-End Engineers (Paperback)
The ideas in the book are excellent. I'm all for an organized checklist of techniques to make web sites faster. The problem, is that once you have read the documentation for Yslow (the firebug plugin that grades sites based on these criteria) you will find the book provides little to no more substantive information. I had looked forward to it, purchased it, and have since given it away. I tried to give it the benefit of the doubt, as I love the ideas, but this book just didn't deliver.
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40 of 46 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I expected more..., January 10, 2008
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This review is from: High Performance Web Sites: Essential Knowledge for Front-End Engineers (Paperback)
While the information in the book is good information to know, it is (as others have said) information that pretty much gave a "yeah, I knew that" type of impression. And at only 137 pages of text, it's a very light read. If you are a new web developer, this is a nice collection of tips. As an experienced developer, there's nothing new here. And at $29 for its minimal 137 pages, it's really just an expensive checklist of 14 simple items. Too pricey for what you get in my opinion.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading for performance teams AND web development engineers, October 1, 2007
By 
Bernard Farrell (North of Boston, MA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: High Performance Web Sites: Essential Knowledge for Front-End Engineers (Paperback)
Not only does Steve Souders have the credentials to write this book (he's the chief performance guy for Yahoo!), he's also written a book that is an easy read and will give you everything you need to easily improve your web site performance.

Each of the 14 tips is well explained together with examples from real world sites that show how the tip has been used or how it would have helped. Some are harder to do (Use a Content Delivery Network) if you're just working on a small site or an internal web application. But most are easy to implement (GZip components, Make JavaScript and CSS External) and you'll see the results immediately.

This book should be on your Essential Reading bookshelf if you're a web developer or a member of the performance team for any organization. Keep it a secret and amaze your colleagues by making small changes and demonstrating big performance improvements. Alternately spread the word about this book and let everyone benefit.

Oh, and if you already own Web Performance Tuning, 2nd Edition (O'Reilly Internet), don't be scared by this new book. It's a much easier read and it also is aware of Ajax and new web development techniques.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An outstanding book, December 5, 2007
By 
Michael Slater (Sebastopol, CA United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: High Performance Web Sites: Essential Knowledge for Front-End Engineers (Paperback)
This book is full of information that you just can't find anywhere else. So often, we rely on gross generalizations about what happens when the browser fetches a web page. This book explains, with great clarity, the details of what really happens, and how lots of small details affect performance dramatically. It gives specific recommendations for how to improve performance, and then dissects the top 10 sites and shows how they perform and why.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Practical, organized, detailed, succinct... fantastic, December 31, 2007
By 
Garrett L. Tillotson (Phoenix, AZ United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: High Performance Web Sites: Essential Knowledge for Front-End Engineers (Paperback)
A web, database and compiled application developer of over 7 years, I read a lot. Typically about a thousand pages a week worth of technical books (cover to cover, my wife thinks I'm nuts). Having read this one recently it is the first to have compelled me to write an Amazon book review.

My hat is off to Steve Souders. The book is perfectly organized and packed with his valuable insights into what matters most when working to optimize website performance.

To everyone thinking about buying this book, I encourage you to do so. It's a great read and can give even seasoned web programmers valuable new insights into how to improve site performance. Steve is one of those rare authors that is both smart enough to boil complex subjects down into simple explanations and nice enough to do it for his readers with a consistency that is rare even among the best technical writers. To top it all he manages to do so with a light, frank style.

A joy to read. Thanks Steve. Can't wait for your next book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Guide To Front End Performance, October 31, 2007
By 
J. Pease (Odessa, TX United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: High Performance Web Sites: Essential Knowledge for Front-End Engineers (Paperback)
One of the most noticeable and least expensive improvements you can make to increase the speed of your website is to implement these front-end techniques.

It is true that the 14 principles can be found in the description of the book, or with the excellent YSlow tool delivered by Yahoo! Developer Network.

So why should you buy the book??

The book explains "why" these 14 principles are best, and it does so in a concise format.

If you currently work professionally with the front-end side of a website (or would like to someday) this book should be considered a required read. At less than US$30, it is an inexpensive investment into your on-going education.

Don't settle with just knowing "how" to make your site faster, get the book and learn "why" these steps make your site faster. You'll be a better and more valuable developer for it.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Slim, but lots of good details, November 21, 2007
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This review is from: High Performance Web Sites: Essential Knowledge for Front-End Engineers (Paperback)
This book is small but contains a good collection of basic items everyone should know and use. Especially good in that most of these are simple but make a big difference to end-users, though this is all focused on the HTML/Web front-end and not databases or anything else regarding websites.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Expert-in-a-book, January 20, 2008
By 
D. Stein (Lake Oswego, OR USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: High Performance Web Sites: Essential Knowledge for Front-End Engineers (Paperback)
When optimizing a website, a lot of focus is usually placed on the back-end (databases, server-side code, etc.). That's because most programmers are comfortable with such matters. Once the HTML is emitted, it's easy to think "not my problem".

This book, however, is written by someone (a Yahoo engineer) who knows the front end (how the emitted HTML performs for the user) *is* often the biggest problem.

Instead of vague generalities, you'll find precise prescriptions (14, in fact) that when applied will make your site faster. The prescriptions are well-supported with both the *reasons* as well as examples of live URLs with and without the rules applied.

This book should be required reading for your whole engineering team. If you ran a series of brown-bag lunches and applied 1 rule per week, at the end of a calendar quarter you'd have a much snappier web site.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Short and Sweet Rules to Enhance Performance, November 2, 2007
By 
Jose M. Baeza (Sierra Vista, AZ USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: High Performance Web Sites: Essential Knowledge for Front-End Engineers (Paperback)
When I saw the title of this book regarding high performance in displaying web sites, I surmised correctly that the greatest benefit of this book would be for huge high-traffic commercial web sites. However, after checking the list of the fourteen rules provided to improve the performance of the rendering of the web pages of a web site, I felt
that I could profit from the application of the rules in the book even on the much smaller web sites that I maintain.
Although one does not need to understand the workings of retrieving web documents from a server and properly rendering them to your computer, the author uses the first two chapters in explaining how this is done, focusing mostly on the aspects that affect performance. The workings of the basic HTTP instruction, which requests the HTML document (the web page) from the server and downloads the contents of the document to your computer, is explained in great detail so that we can better understand the fourteen steps presented in the book as the way to obtain faster-loading web sites.
The first rule states that we need to make fewer HTTP requests with some suggestions as how to do this without sacrificing the design of the web site. Other rules show how using header instructions in our HTML code, we can enhance use of cache control and compression to increase document loading performance. Several of the rules involve CSS (Cascading Style Sheets)and Javascript scripting, describing how to design them and where to place them (top or bottom) in the HTML code to enhance
performance. These last rules work just as well for the smaller web sites as they do for the larger web sites. Other rules, like one that involves mutliple web servers to enhance web content delivery, are useful only for larger web sites.
A web developer interested in improving the downloading performance of his web sites will find this book very useful and will find the rules easy to apply. The developer need not understand fully the reasons behind the rules to effectively implement them into the HTML code of his web sites. I would definitely recommend this book to developers interested in improving the downloading performance of their web sites.
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High Performance Web Sites: Essential Knowledge for Front-End Engineers
High Performance Web Sites: Essential Knowledge for Front-End Engineers by Steve Souders (Paperback - September 21, 2007)
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