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Web Performance Tuning, 2nd Edition (O'Reilly Internet) [Paperback]

Patrick Killelea
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 2002 059600172X 978-0596001728 Second Edition

As long as there's been a Web, people have been trying to make it faster. The maturation of the Web has meant more users, more data, more features, and consequently longer waits on the Web. Improved performance has become a critical factor in determining the usability of the Web in general and of individual sites in particular.Web Performance Tuning, 2nd Edition is about getting the best possible performance from the Web. This book isn't just about tuning web server software; it's also about streamlining web content, getting optimal performance from a browser, tuning both client and server hardware, and maximizing the capacity of the network itself.Web Performance Tuning hits the ground running, giving concrete advice for quick results -- the "blunt instruments" for improving crippled performance right away. The book then shifts gears to give a conceptual background of the principles of computing performance. The latter half of the book examines each element of a web transaction -- from client to network to server -- to find the weak links in the chain and show how to strengthen them.In this second edition, the book has been significantly expanded to include:

  • New chapters on Web site architecture, security, reliability, and their impact on performance
  • Detailed discussion of scalability of Java on multi-processor servers
  • Perl scripts for writing web performance spiders that handle logins, cookies, SSL, and more
  • Detailed instructions on how to use Perl DBI and the open source program gnuplot to generate performance graphs on the fly
  • Coverage of rstat, a Unix-based open source utility for gathering performance statistics remotely
In addition, the book includes many more examples and graphs of real-world performance problems and their solutions, and has been updated for Java 2.This book is for anyone who has waited too long for a web page to display, or watched the servers they manage slow to a crawl. It's about making the Web more usable for everyone.

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Web Performance Tuning, 2nd Edition (O'Reilly Internet) + High Performance Web Sites: Essential Knowledge for Front-End Engineers + Building Scalable Web Sites: Building, Scaling, and Optimizing the Next Generation of Web Applications
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Whether you're administering a Web site, managing an intranet, or just browsing the Web, performance should be a chief concern. In Web Performance Tuning, author Patrick Killelea tackles this challenging topic with a methodical string of problems and possible solutions. This title is most beneficial for those maintaining Web sites but offers several browser-related tips and solid technical background for users of any level.

The first part of this book discusses the basic performance challenges for both the browser and server sides of the equation and advises on an overall approach for identifying and attacking performance bottlenecks. The author offers many important questions for you to keep in mind and some useful techniques for measuring Web performance. This section wraps up with a few case studies that exhibit common problems.

The meat of the book is an in-depth look at all of the aspects of Web performance. The author begins with the client browser and operating-system software, discusses network hardware and protocols, and finally addresses the complex nature of server configurations. He finishes with a discussion of Common Gateway Interface (CGI) and Java scripts and some quick coverage of tuning Web databases.

Throughout the book, Killelea addresses popular application software titles, but with an emphasis on Unix servers. While Web Performance Tuning is a helpful tool for tweaking your Web connections, it also serves as an excellent primer on the technical details of the Web. --Stephen Plain --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"This book still scores highly on the sections which are general in their scope, particularly the new chapters which have been written for this edition. The more specific sections feel dates, and are likely to further age extremely quickly. Overall the book is still a good source for advice on identifying performance bottlenecks and suggesting ways to tune the infrastructure to eliminate them." - Joel Smith, News@UKUUG, October 2002

Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; Second Edition edition (March 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 059600172X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596001728
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,328,192 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
(19)
4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Pragmatic and opinionated in the best of old-time O'Reilly style, this book is a colorful guided tour by an old-hand.
The thing is, if you need this book, your website is probably a high-traffic professional/commercial site. And in these days this means (1) dynamic content, (2) database, (3) a content-management/templating system, (4) user identity tracking. Perhaps even interface to legacy client/server systems. Unfortunately, this book goes only as far as CGI, Java, and general DB issues. Messaging middleware is briefly considered. Distributed OO (CORBA, EJB) is discussed and dismissed (a luxury in real world). No coverage of other popular dynamic web technologies (e.g. ASP, ColdFusion) or content-management systems. In particular, a serious discussion of trade-offs between performance and content/workflow manageability would ground the whole discussion in real life.
And the architecture chapter, while very insightful, is simply too thin. After all it is much better and easier to plan for performance from the start, then to try tweaking an existing system. The chapter discusses architectures of varying complexity - <i>without including a single diagram!</i> Complete case studies along the line of the mod_perl white paper .... would be invaluable - perhaps broken down by type (e.g. news/portal/B2C) where unique usage patterns will drive unique architecture and optimization.
Despite the tilt towards monitoring and diagnosis, this is still a very valuable book in an under-served but important area. Generous references enable the reader to explore individual topics further.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
"Web Performance Tuning" delivers a comprehensive overview of the factors that affect Web performance and what you can do about them. While the book presents a few tips for faster browsing, the majority of the text is devoted to Web server tuning. The explanations are clear and informative, and will let Webmasters get to work right away, assuming, unfortunately, that their servers are running either Solaris or Linux. The author provides virtually no specific coverage of other UNIXes, or of Windows NT or Mac OS server platforms; Microsoft IIS is discussed only once in the entire 350-page book. While the book's general concepts and explanations will be useful to most Webmasters, many of the specific details the author presents do not translate well to non-UNIX platforms.
The book's first section, Preliminary Considerations, is an outstanding analysis of the relationships between bandwidth, latency, server memory, CPU speed, traffic levels, user expectations and cost. Along the way, the author highlights the extreme gap between real-world performance requirements and the artificial numbers generated by benchmark tools. He notes that a full T1 line can only carry 33 hits per second (at 4K each), and that a million hits per day translates into a peak server load of only about 25-30 hits per second. These real-world numbers are then contrasted with the hundreds or thousands of hits per second usually quoted by vendors, which the author refers to as "benchmarketing." Refreshingly, the author then describes how to create practical benchmark scenarios for your own Web servers, and how to use them effectively.
The second section, Tuning In Depth, briefly discusses Web client tuning, and then addresses the details of network, Web server, and CGI tuning.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Concise, complete, and credible May 10, 2000
Format:Paperback
This book is both a great reference and superb introductory guide to the essentials of tuning a web site. All the elements are covered, with chapters on client hardware, network protocols, and server software to name a few. How each element affects performance is discussed along with a description of tools to monitor and tune performance. The chapter on content should be required reading for anyone putting together HTML pages no matter how large their site. The prose is readable and each chapter is nicely summarized with several concise "Key Recommendations". Unless you are building your own web site from scratch, you won't have to know everything in this book, but you may want to anyway, if for no other reason than to know who to blame when your web site is not performing well.
As the web is changing every day some of the information is dated, especially the chapters on running server side applications. The chapter on CGI is decent, but the chapters on database and Java tuning are cursory and best covered by books dedicated to those subjects. There is nothing on active server pages. Also a chapter on balancing security versus performance would have been welcome, and hopefully will be included in a second edition.
There is definitely more about UNIX than NT in the book. This doesn't matter when doing hardware and network tuning and Microsoft certainly does not help with their license restriction on the publication of IIS benchmarks. The reality is that there are more web servers running UNIX or Linux variants than NT. However, with the rapid proliferation of active server pages more should be included on NT in a future edition.
Getting usable information on performance tuning is sometimes very difficult.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A classic reference for every engineers library
Published in 1998, this book is one of the best for web performance testing, covering the technical basics for everything you need to know in order to really understand... Read more
Published on June 9, 2004 by Michael Czeiszperger
4.0 out of 5 stars Is not just server performance tuning you know...
This is one book with wide appeal because it is useful to anyone that uses the Internet; so if you are reading this review - chances are very good that you will find this book of... Read more
Published on February 16, 2003 by "websiteowner"
4.0 out of 5 stars Speed Racer
Four years in the making, the second edition of "Web Performance Tuning" is some 30% larger (456 vs. 351 pages) than the first, but don't let the increased size slow you down. Read more
Published on October 28, 2002 by Andrew B. King
4.0 out of 5 stars High Performance Book
Four years in the making, the second edition of "Web Performance Tuning" is some 30% larger (456 vs. 351 pages) than the first, but don't let the increased size slow you down. Read more
Published on June 7, 2002 by Andrew B. King
3.0 out of 5 stars Not for NT/2000
Not much in the book if you are looking for info. on NT/2000 based systems. A lot of the content is basic, and may not be helpful to serious/experienced users.
Published on March 7, 2001 by Pramod Parihar
5.0 out of 5 stars Unix-centric book from a Unix-centric publisher
In response to the review below stating that the book was too Unix-centric, you have to understand that O`Reilly is a publisher that specializes in Unix, Linux, and open-source. Read more
Published on February 27, 2001 by "chutzpah@eudoramail.com"
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent discussion of lots of topics
While this book may be criticized for being too general and not always offering direct recipes and numeric examples, I think this is one of its strengths. Read more
Published on November 29, 2000 by Daniel Buzatu
4.0 out of 5 stars Good tips, needs an update
The book contains a lot of great (albeit basic) information on improving web server performance. As far as addressing specific servers, you're better off getting documentation... Read more
Published on November 21, 2000
5.0 out of 5 stars Patrick Has Done It Again!
Patrick has not only written a fabulouse book but he is an awsome guy! ... His book is really great for a person who wants to know about computers. Read more
Published on June 29, 2000 by NICK
5.0 out of 5 stars Learn a lot
I haven't finished it yet, but it's very interesting, complete approach, methodological and comprehensive. Read more
Published on August 11, 1999
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Web Performance Tuning, 2nd Edition (O'Reilly Internet)
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