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Book review: Even Faster Web Sites, by Steve Souders (and others)

Martes, 4 de agosto de 2009

Even Faster Websites

Even Faster Websites


Thanks to the O’Reilly Facebook group I got the chance to review the book ‘Even Faster Web Sites‘, by Steve Souders. Please read below to get an idea on what to expect about this new title from O’Reilly ($34.99).

Synopsis:

This book is a collection of practical tips and advice on how to optimize web pages, focusing in client side optimizations. It explains how to reduce downloading times through coding techniques, CSS and image optimization, speed up page rendering and code instrumentation so it will definitely will appeal developers and designers that work with Ajax or regular JavaScript sites.

The book is written by several authors (the main one is Steve Souders), and it was specially nice to read Tony Gentilcore (the author of the popular plugin ‘Fasterfox‘) writting about some gotchas of the use of Gzip to serve web pages, among other things.

How is it organized:

The book is organized in 14 chapters, each one of them can be read independently (more or less) from each other. They are packed with good examples that are brief but illustrate each technique, which makes this book a good reference guide. Also the appendix (which is so big it should be called the chapter 15) is loaded with really useful tools that can be used to detect and diagnose problems on a website (the majority of them are free).

Missing things:

Not everything is perfect. The book focus almost on Javascript optimizations and loading techniques but doesn’t mention what can be done with other important technologies like Flash, SilverLight or even Java Webstart (JavaFx is gaining traction these days).

Forgets to mention server side techniques like connection and thread pools, page caching (server side not client side), among others, or common tricks used in well known frameworks like Ruby & Rails, Java Servlets (PHP is mentioned briefly though).

Also missing is the coverage of server side tools like vmstat, mpstat, top, free, tcpdump or ethereal (Linux, Solaris, BSD or UNIX tools) which could be really useful to diagnose performance issues on the web application.

To be fair this is a book focused on client side techniques and talking about server side optimizations will make it pretty big, so maybe the tittle of the book should be changed to ‘Even Faster Web Sites, client optimizations’ (I am pretty sure the authors have tons of server side techniques to share as well, so maybe this could be a second book on the subject? :))

Conclusion:

It is another solid title from O’Reilly that delivers concrete techniques that can be used to speed up websites that rely on Javascript, images and CSS to present the content to the end users. The lack of the mention of the existence of server side techniques is a minor glitch but still there is great value on each one of the chapters of this reference book (I am going through them to make this blog to load faster ;))

Kodegeek stars: 4 of 5.

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  1. Martes, 4 de agosto de 2009 a las 20:40 | #1
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