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High Performance Web Sites: Essential Knowledge for Front-End Engineers Paperback – Illustrated, October 2, 2007
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About the Author
Steve Souders works at Google on web performance and open source initiatives. His books High Performance Web Sites and Even Faster Web Sites explain his best practices for performance along with the research and real-world results behind them. Steve is the creator of YSlow, the performance analysis extension to Firebug with more than 1 million downloads. He serves as co-chair of Velocity, the web performance and operations conference sponsored by O'Reilly. Steve taught CS193H: High Performance Web Sites at Stanford, and he frequently speaks at such conferences as OSCON, Rich Web Experience, Web 2.0 Expo, and The Ajax Experience.
Steve previously worked at Yahoo! as the Chief Performance Yahoo!,where he blogged about web performance on Yahoo! Developer Network. He was named a Yahoo! Superstar. Steve worked on many of the platforms and products within the company, including running the development team for My Yahoo!. Prior to Yahoo! Steve worked at several small to mid-sized startups including two companies he co-founded, Helix Systems and CoolSync. He also worked at General Magic, WhoWhere?, and Lycos.
- Publisher : O'Reilly Media; 1st edition (October 2, 2007)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 170 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0596529309
- ISBN-13 : 978-0596529307
- Item Weight : 9.9 ounces
- Dimensions : 7 x 0.43 x 9.19 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #336,738 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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The detailed examples and associated discussions yield a lot of very useful tips - you'll definitely want to have this book near you. Likewise, the examples of dissecting the 10 most popular websites at the end of the book are very helpful, as they highlight the method, and also show how these practices have been adopted by different organizations.
Only word of forewarning: if you've read the YSlow documentation, then you won't find all that much new content in this book. Corollary: you can read the YSlow documentation to get many of the same tips and best practices, for free.
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.
The book is a quick read containing some good hints and tips. Many are fairly easily investigated and implemented in most companies.
Seemingly out of place, however, is Rule 2: Use a Content Delivery Network. While it's certainly a good way to improve performance, it's not something every company can afford.
Overall, an interesting book.
It's great how this book is in distilling the best optimizations to do for a website into 14 simple rules, that doesn't take up hundreds of pages; it really speaks volumes to the author's writing ability.
It's also an added bonus that the author provides the free tool YSlow to help analyzing your website. Overall I'm really glad I read this book :).
The main problem is that you can EASILY find this information all over the Internet. In fact, as it turns out the author of this book is the author of a plugin for Firefox (in conjunction with the Firebug extension) called YSLOW. He has also written the online help for YSLOW on the Yahoo Developer Network. Consequently a large portion of the essential information in this book is actually available online for no cost whatsoever.
Top reviews from other countries
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.
I improved our website by a factor of 5 by following the tips here and using a website too GTMetrix, which basically tests your website based on YSLOW and the google website optimiser).
The only thing to be wary of is you probably won't need federated content (Content Delivery Networks) or ETTags unless your site is truly huge. Otherwise a quick recommendation and some explanation in each chapter is perfect, too many tech books bloat out to convince you that you've got your money's worth.
Not sure if gzipping on the fly works in IIS, it didn't work for me in IIS 6 days and like a lot of O'Reilly books this favours open source over the Microsoft stacks.
The chapters are arranged in decreasing order of utility, so the second half of the book will be little use to most developers. If you have the yslow plugin and a bit of common sense, then you will be able to tune your application without reading the book (although it will take longer).
I think Yslow was developed by Sounders, so it's worth purchasing the book as the plugin is free.