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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:
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.
Steve Souders works at Google on web performance and open source initiatives. His book High Performance Web Sites explains 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. He is also co-chair of Velocity 2008, the first web performance conference sponsored by O'Reilly. 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.
In the early 80's Steve caught the Artificial Intelligence bug and worked at a few companies doing research on Machine Learning, including several publications and conference appearances. He received a BS in Systems Engineering from the University of Virginia and a MS in Management Science and Engineering from Stanford University .
Steve's interests are varied. He sits on the board of Freehand Systems and Fremont Hills Country Club . He teaches Sunday School at First Lutheran Church in Palo Alto. He's played basketball with several NBA and WNBA players. He was a member of the Universal Studios Internet Task Force. He participated in setting a Guinness world record. He rebuilt a 90-year-old carriage house. He has a wonderful wife and three daughters.
The animal on the cover of Even Faster Web Sites is a blackbuck antelope (Antilope cervicapra), an endangered species found mainly in India, also known as the Indian antelope. The V-shaped horns of the male blackbuck are ringed with several spiral twists and can be as long as 28 inches. The male's upper body is black or dark brown, and its belly and the rings around its eyes are white. The female is light brown and does not normally have a horn. Blackbucks roam the plains in herds of 15 to 20, feeding on grasses, flowers, and fruits. On the open plain, the blackbuck is one of the fastest animals on earth, able to reach speeds of 45 mph and outrun most predators over long distances.
From the 18th through the early 20th centuries, the blackbuck antelope was the most hunted wild animal in India. In 1932, several species of Indian deer and antelope, including the blackbuck, were introduced to Texas for hunting and breeding. Today, these species live on private hunting ranches and roam the surrounding hill country.They are so plentiful-having multiplied to 19,000 throughout the state-that many have been shipped to India to repopulate the native habitat.
Now protected in India by the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972, the blackbuck population is steady at 50,000 native animals, plus 43,000 descended from Texas and other populations. Although poaching is still a problem and humans have encroached on its land, its protected status gained attention in 2006 when Indian film star Salman Khan was sentenced to five years in jail for killing two blackbucks. According to Hindu mythology, the blackbuck is considered to be the vehicle of the moon god, Chandrama, and is believed to bestow prosperity wherever it lives.
The cover image is from the Dover Pictorial Archive. The cover font is Adobe ITC Garamond. The text font is Linotype Birka; the heading font is Adobe Myriad Condensed; and the code font is LucasFont's TheSansMonoCondensed.
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.
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.
Excellent Follow Up, Recommend Part One Be Read First
Comments about oreilly Even Faster Web Sites:
This book is a solid follow up from the first book titled High Performance Web Sites (O'Reilly) and a similar style is used through out.
In the first book several more basic points were made about web performance and I think those were low hanging fruit that should be very easy to implement. Examples include using compression/minification, organizing page content for faster loads, and avoiding redirects/double loads.
The coverage of newer browser behavior was appreciated since these browsers behave significantly differently from the last version. IE 6 and 7 are fairly close in behavior while IE 8 has more significant changes. A similar comparison can be made between Firefox versions.
Other sections cover compression (following up from teh first book again), optimizing the loading of images, and allowing CSS and JS scripts to work faster. Additionally more coverage is given to optimizing CSS and using CSS in effective ways.
Overall this is a nice "part 2" in what I consider a series. The information was both helpful as a web developer and worked as stated. The information was presented plainly enough that amatuer developers should have no trouble following the text.
I would recommend reading "High Performance Web Sites" also and using the two books together for maximum results.