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Speed Up Your Site: Web Site Optimization Paperback – January 24, 2003
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
King has some amazing insights and tips on how to get your website to respond faster. Your clients will be happy, your ISP company will charge less and your site will be... Read morePublished on July 18, 2004 by Michael Lugassy
Covering a wide variety of techniques, this book describes many of the common causes of slow pages and how to avoid or remedy them. Read morePublished on June 9, 2004 by Michael Czeiszperger
When the GUIguy reviews books, it is usually with the intent of reading fairly quickly to get a sense of the author's approach, their writing style, and the value of the... Read morePublished on April 10, 2004 by Bob McIntyre
This book is well researched, comprehensive (HTML, XHTML, CSS, Multimedia; to name a few) tweaking, and offers lots of "Further Readings" from the web and other... Read morePublished on July 23, 2003 by Darryl Roberts
I recommend it for page designers at all levels. It has up-to-date advice on everything from coding to enticing search engines to rank your page highly. Read morePublished on April 8, 2003 by Leslie G. Harper
In over 8 years of web development, and having sat through countless usability tests and user feedback sessions, I can say without any doubt that a slow site spells disaster if you... Read morePublished on February 17, 2003 by Ashley Friedlein
Although we all know it is important to have fast loading pages few Web developers have a real idea about how users really respond and how long they will wait. Read morePublished on February 5, 2003 by Bruce Morris