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Speed Up Your Site: Web Site Optimization Paperback – January 24, 2003

4.2 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Andy King has put together a book that is packed densely with information. If you have a web site, you'll find something helpful in this book. From the psychology of user satisfaction on the web; to CSS, JavaScript, HTML, and XHTML optimization tips; to graphics, audio, and video; and finally, search engine optimization and case studies of real web sites, you'll find information that will help you speed up your site. And a faster site equals happier users and longer visits to your site. We hope you'll find this book a key resource for optimizing your site.

From the Author

I wrote this book to help speed up the web. As a webmaster and teacher of webmasters at WebReference.com, I learned that site speed is critical to online success and happy users. Articles alone are not enough; this subject needs a book. I also wanted to give something back to the community that has nurtured my career for the last decade. This book is the result of years of collaboration and research. I'd like to thank everyone who selflessly shared their insights with me. I hope you find this information useful.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: New Riders Press; 1 edition (January 24, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0735713243
  • ISBN-13: 978-0735713246
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,970,562 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By David Rose on November 22, 2005
Format: Paperback
I can't argue with the strengths of the book which is detailed in the number of excellent reviews here, as they are all true. I bought the book based on those reviews, and while they are true, I still feel cheated.

In today's world, where "standards based" coding is becoming more prevalent and adherance to the W3C standards for HTML coding is being recommended, this book just grated on me. While there is a great deal of great information, there are also a large number of "gotchas" to watch out for as well.

The book proposes to use HTML tags without their corresponding closing tags, not to use required elements whenever possible, avoid using quotes in HTML tags, and many other ways of creating "non-valid" code. This will "optimize" your code a bit more by reducing the characters in it, but it will also create problems for you in the future.

In summary, while the book does give alot of good information, it often steers you away from standard code. If you are unsure what is considered "standard" and required for creating valid XHTML/CSS, you are best served skipping this book as it will teach you to create invalid code. If you know enough about XHTML/CSS to ignore those parts, it's a great book.
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Format: Paperback

The book has six parts.

The first part says that because web users are willing to wait for at most eight seconds and many use a 56.6Kbps modem, web pages should be at most 30KB in size.

The second part lists tricks how to write shorter html.

The third part lists tricks how to write shorter css and javascript.

The fourth part discusses graphics and multimedia optimization.

The fifth part explains methodically how to make your web come up high in search engines.

The sixth part details some server-side tricks for Apache.


This book concentrates almost exclusively on sending fewer bytes from the server to the browser. It gives a large collection of tricks how to write shorter html, xhtml, css, and javascript. Some of these tricks are useful. Others however go against standards, and some seriously go against maintainability. I'd be reluctant to give this book to my team. One may be tempted into shaving off bytes, spending a big effort and yet producing unmaintainable code. Unless one has a strong sense of relevance, one can be caught up in technical dispersion.

If you want to send fewer bytes, standard gzip-compression is far better than eliminating line-breaks and indentation.

The book does not go into server-side programming. It is oriented towards optimization of static pages.

With this orientation, King makes some bad recommendations. For example, he recommends writing javascript without comments, rather then recommending server-side comments that are not sent to the browser.

The book predates AJAX-like techniques.

Who should read it?

The book is useful for the person that writes the html that will be sent to the browser, if that person has a good sense of relevance.
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Format: Paperback
Andy King, the guru behind WebReference.com and JavaScript.com, sent me a review copy of his new book "Speed Up Your Site: Web Site Optimization" a few weeks ago, and it absolutely knocked my socks off.
If you aren't familiar with Web site optimization (WSO), it's a series of techniques that minimize Web page file sizes and maximize page display speeds. In other words, WSO is simple stuff you can do to the Web pages you create to make those pages load faster. After all, people HATE waiting for slow Web pages.
What King has done in "Speed Up Your Site" is not only assemble pretty much every WSO technique known to man, he's also collected the research and conducted the interviews explaining WHY these techniques actually work.
While the entire book is exceptional, the four chapters in "Part II - Optimizing Markup: HTML and XHTML" are absolutely worth their weight in gold. It is in these four chapters that King shows you, step-by-step, how to clean up HTML bloat; minimize HTTP requests; tighten up comma-delimited attributes; speed up table rendering; and much, much more. And the results will ASTOUND you.
For example, using the techniques in just these four chapters alone, I was able to make my NetSquirrel.com homepage 26.5% smaller and load 42.9% faster. Words can't describe how cool that is.
The four chapters in Part II of King's book are accessible to ANYONE who knows simple HTML. That's not quite true for the next five chapters. In "Part III - DHTML Optimization: CSS and JavaScript," King shows you how to optimize your CSS and speed up your JS download and execution speeds. Of course, if [like me] you don't know CSS or JS from a hole in the ground, these five chapters aren't going to be much help to you.
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Format: Paperback
This book deserves 4 1/2 or 4 3/4 stars. A small star is clipped only because of the first two chapters focused on psychology of performance, theory, and background. Some people love the stuff like marketing professionals, but I'm not one of them. The rest of the book is solid gold... actually, platinum.
When we speak of usability, we typically speak of navigation, architecture, legibility, linking, screen size, and browsers. Also key is optimizing your site for fast downloads and this is more than just optimizing gif and jpg images. More people on broadband? Maybe, but not necessarily. Even broadband users have their limits in how long they will wait for a page to load. It's a business problem since it impacts revenue.
Been designing for less than a year? More than four years? Not even a designer, but involved somehow? The book is for all levels and anyone who has a hand in a Web site including decision makers. Experienced designers may have many of the optimization techniques down, but the book brings up others you may not have thought about. I've had my own Web site since 1993 and learned a few new tricks.
Andrew King has written about Web design for a long time and walks the walk as well as talks the talk. He has used his own Web site, Webreference.com, as a case study many times to show how to improve the site design. One reason he and Webreference.com have been well-respected is because everything is in reader friendly English.
Another book? No time to read it? The book is organized to make the most of your time. Use it while you're working on the Web project and refer to it often. You'll understand what King writes the first time and not have a need to re-read it until it makes sense.
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