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Even Faster Web Sites: Performance Best Practices for Web Developers [Paperback]

Steve Souders
2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

June 20 2009 0596522304 978-0596522308 1

Performance is critical to the success of any web site, and yet today's web applications push browsers to their limits with increasing amounts of rich content and heavy use of Ajax. In this book, Steve Souders, web performance evangelist at Google and former Chief Performance Yahoo!, provides valuable techniques to help you optimize your site's performance.

Souders' previous book, the bestselling High Performance Web Sites, shocked the web development world by revealing that 80% of the time it takes for a web page to load is on the client side. In Even Faster Web Sites, Souders and eight expert contributors provide best practices and pragmatic advice for improving your site's performance in three critical categories:

  • JavaScript—Get advice for understanding Ajax performance, writing efficient JavaScript, creating responsive applications, loading scripts without blocking other components, and more.
  • Network—Learn to share resources across multiple domains, reduce image size without loss of quality, and use chunked encoding to render pages faster.
  • Browser—Discover alternatives to iframes, how to simplify CSS selectors, and other techniques.

Speed is essential for today's rich media web sites and Web 2.0 applications. With this book, you'll learn how to shave precious seconds off your sites' load times and make them respond even faster.

This book contains six guest chapters contributed by Dion Almaer, Doug Crockford, Ben Galbraith, Tony Gentilcore, Dylan Schiemann, Stoyan Stefanov, Nicole Sullivan, and Nicholas C. Zakas.


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Even Faster Web Sites: Performance Best Practices for Web Developers + High Performance Web Sites: Essential Knowledge for Front-End Engineers
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Product Description

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.


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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars :( Feb. 25 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
badly written
poorly explained

This book is more related to JavaScript (90% of the book) than web sites (HTML/CSS/images) themselves (about 10% of the book).
The examples are poorly explained and not much useful.

The title is misleading.
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Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  20 reviews
32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Raising the performance bar up a notch June 16 2009
By Here I Am - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book is a follow-on to Steve Souder's first book entitled "High Performance Web Sites". Whereas the first book was authored entirely by Steve Souder, this newer book contains chapters authored by other experts in Javascript, Ajax, and/or Network Performance. Comparatively speaking, I tend to think of the performance tuning techniques discussed in the first book as all relatively straightforward to implement, while those in this newer book as ranging from some that are relatively straightforward to implement (e.g., how to write efficient Javascript and CSS Selector code, how to optimize image sizes, and how to flush documents early to trigger initial web page rendering as soon as possible), to others that tend to be trickier to implement, involving either the use of:

* lesser known http features (e.g., chunked encoding for incremental page rendering or low-latency data transfers from server to browser in support of near-realtime applications such as chat, stock quotes, etc), or

* still evolving technologies (e.g., Google GEAR or Web Worker API for overcoming Javascript's single-threadedness to get more concurrent work done), or

* not yet publicly released technologies (e.g., Microsoft Research's Doloto system that facilitates the "splitting and packaging" of a Javascript-intensive Web Application into a quick-loading initial component or cluster that enables early page rendering, and supporting payloads that are loaded more lazily or on-demand).

One theme that runs throughout this newer book is that in order to squeeze more performance out of a next generation web application, developers would have to become more and more adept with using asynchronous techniques (which could involve tricky issues); by this I don't just mean using Ajax which could involve asynchronously pulling data from server to browser, but also asynchronous techniques for facilitating parallel component downloads, etc.

Given the cutting-edge and more complex nature of some of the discussed techniques, this book is an invaluable aid to anyone itching to experiment: it lays out a problem, suggests approaches and related tools whenever appropriate (e.g., no access to Doloto?, here are alternative do-it-yourself implementation approaches), provides lots of sample code, calls out potential gotchas and how to workaround them, and then with the support of empirical data, tells you the relative pros and cons of each suggested approach. Highly recommended!
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Faster and Faster Aug. 11 2009
By Anthony Holdener - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Today's Web developer knows that the speed of one's site is an important measure to its overall success, and Steve Souders' previous book, /High Performance Web Sites/ (O'Reilly), laid out what seemed to be every way to achieve good performance gains without the sacrifice of functionality or aesthetics. When I began reading Souders' /Even Faster Web Sites/, I therefore wondered how he could possibly demonstrate fresh ways to achieve performance gains without regurgitating the content of his previous book. What I discovered as I read /Even Faster Web Sites/ was it presented all new best practices for making your web sites "leaner and meaner" without repeating the content of his last book.

/Even Faster Web Sites/ takes the latest techniques available to developers and organizes them into three performance areas: JavaScript, network, and browser. Though I believe Souder knows what he is talking about regarding web site performance, I found it refreshing this time around that he had the contributions of other experts in the field to give their ideas on performance gains in these areas.

I thought the chapters on JavaScript, especially those discussing Ajax and asynchronous techniques, were well written and gave good, new best practices to trim time off the loading of content on a site. I also appreciated the chapter dealing with Comet, as these technologies are surely a driving force for future web applications, and having best practices early in their development will only help their progress. Of the two chapters on browser performance, I found the honesty of the discussion on the downsides of using iframes most helpful, especially when their use was discussed as a viable technique for improving performance early in the book. I did find the chapter on CSS selectors extremely useful for analyzing where slowdowns in styling may exist based on browser implementation. The chapters on network performance gave a good background on common hindrances such as connection limits and poor image choices, but also walked through what I felt were performance gains that can be made through less utilized techniques like chunked encoding and better compression.

Souder finished this book with an Appendix on performance tools that can be used to help in the improvement of a web site, which I found to be immensely helpful. While many tools he listed are well known to developers, there are some I was unaware of and began making use of immediately on my own sites.

/Even Faster Web Sites/ is an excellent follow-up to High Performance Web Sites, giving new best practices for making your web sites even faster. As I see it, even hundredths of a second begin to add up when you put all of these techniques together, and most of the techniques presented in this book are practical for any web site being developed. I would recommend this book to any developer looking for ways to improve the performance of his web site, as Souder has certainly demonstrated his knowledge and expertise on improving the speed of a site.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars After You've Mastered High Performance Web Sites May 26 2010
By Rob Szarka - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Steve Souders has been a leader in documenting and evangelizing techniques for improving web site performance, and his previous book High Performance Web Sites: Essential Knowledge for Front-End Engineers (or the web posting from which it evolved) is essential reading. Even Faster Web Sites is not an updating of that book, but a collection of additional advice from Souders and eight contributors. So the first thing to note is that you should probably only tackle this book if you've already mastered the techniques outlined in High Performance Web Sites.

The one exception to the advice above may be if you're a web developer who makes heavy use of Javascript, since over half of this book is devoted to AJAX. The remainder of the book addresses a variety of topics of interest to web development professionals in general--optimizing images, writing efficient CSS, advanced techniques for implementing gzipping, and more.

As with Souders previous book, there is little that will be new to professionals who've kept up with best practices via blogs and the like, but it's still nice to have all the information in one handy book. For those who are just starting to investigate web performance optimization, High Performance Web Sites plus Even Faster Web Sites will get you up to speed quickly.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book - Must Read For Web Developers Jan. 7 2010
By James Ausman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Going beyond the excellent work in his first book _High Performance Web Sites: Essential Knowledge for Front-End Engineers_, this book includes great information on how to parallelize Javascript, minimize images, sprite images and write your web pages so that they don't block on one element. This along with the more basic stuff in his first book, like turning on compression, has speed up our page delivery times by a factor of 50%.

Remember that every 1 second longer your page loads costs you 10% of your users and you can use this book to convince management to invest resources in speeding up your site.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for every web developer Jan. 6 2010
By M. Nabeel - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book was referred to me by a friend. I have been browsing internet for resources that will address the performance of web in simple and easy to implement way. I did find some articles and videos on that subject. All the articles and videos were about one or two particular topics for web site optimization. This books covers the whole science of website speed and performances in detail. The book lays the foundation and tries to make us understand the stake holders and important concepts. Then it takes each aspect and covers in detail. You will get the feeling as if you knew too little in some areas.

This book gives you good understanding and solution for different types of web site. I allows us to think in more web browser perspective. We as developers have always thought of accomplishing the business requirement and not focusing on how a browser will react.

Excellent book. I recommend this to everyone. Must have for any web development shop.

Good Luck!
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