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 content.
When I picked up Speed Up Your Site: Web Site Optimization, an amazing thing happened: I was captivated by the content and the style. Amazing! A first! I found myself reading every word and every line of code, lest I miss some gem hidden within the letters.
Andy King's basic premise is clearly stated: "At current bandwidth-to-CPU speed ratios, bandwidth is the limiting factor." Therefore, optimization of code is vital for a well-received web site.
Sure, that's easy to write, but how do you do it?! The author meticulously goes through many, if not all of the ways code can be streamlined, addressing HTML, XHTML, DHTML, CSS, and even more.
As for style, you can almost hear the author talking; the conversational tone pervades the tome. The book is a delight to read, and the text is peppered with subtle and not-so-subtle humor like "Link to external style sheets site-wide to cache in." Even code snippets are occasionally injected with nostalgia and rib-ticklers. (There is a reference to Burma Shave signs-search the web if you don't know what that is- and even the Emperor with No Close. (sic))
And for those who wonder why all this optimization is important, the author opens with two chapters on the Psychology of Performance, with well-researched excerpts and citations from human factors writings. The forward is even written by usability guru Jakob Nielsen.
There is a companion site (http://www.speedupyoursite.com) that contains all the code along with all the references, chapter summaries, chapter excerpts, color figures, etc. After all, web sites are living documents, and having all this information on a web site allows it to be updated easily.
The only flaw that I found with the book is that there is no accompanying CD. I would love to be able to search the complete text for suggestions and tips that I probably won't remember when I need them-like when I redo my own web sites, a job that I must undertake now that I have read this book.