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Review High Performance Web Sites

Discussion in 'Articles, Reviews and Interviews' started by tripwire45, Jan 14, 2008.

  1. tripwire45
    Honorary Member

    tripwire45 Zettabyte Poster

    Author: Steve Souders
    Format: Paperback, Paperback: 168 pages
    Publisher: O'Reilly Media, Inc. (September 11, 2007)
    ISBN-10: 0596529309
    ISBN-13: 978-0596529307

    Review by James Pyles
    January 14, 2008

    This highly streamlined text doesn't have a "Who Should Read this Book" section but I guess it should be obvious that anyone who designs websites for a living needs to read it. "High Performance Web Sites" is literally a list of 14 steps (one chapter per step) on techniques you can use to get your web pages to load more quickly and generally improve the performance of your sites on the web. The author has the qualifications to write such a book with authority. He's responsible for performance management at Yahoo! You'd have to assume he knows what he's talking about.

    The Preface contains all of the introductory information regarding the subject of website performance to get the reader warmed up for what comes next. Then, Rule 1 starts in Chapter 1 which in this case is "Make Fewer HTTP Requests". Souders wastes no time (he doesn't have it to waste with only 168 pages to play with in the entire book) but launches into this mini-tutorial (eleven pages for Chapter 1) at rocket-speed. He provides references for all of the code examples used in the chapter directly in the text and cites highly trafficked sites (Amazon, CNN, Google, and of course, Yahoo) in terms of the concepts and practices he's illustrating. Don't blink, or you'll miss the end of this chapter and the beginning of the next one.

    At the very minimum, you need to know the basics of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript and have built and published several websites. General web programming experience is helpful but not absolutely necessary in order to make good use of this book. As I've suggested, chapters are brief and to the point but not mysterious or too abbreviated for the reader to get the full intent of each Rule. You also don't have to search in each chapter for the links to the code examples as they are all collected (including which link goes to which chapter) in the Preface section. Chapter 15 is a bonus and offers a detailed examination of the top 10 websites based in the US and compares them to the Rules the book presents.

    Steve Souders has written a very "handy-dandy" book that will help just about any web developer create sites that are optimized for performance in ways that are straight forward but might not occur to most of the folks. I certainly will be making use of Souders' rules in the near future but I do have one question for him...if he's the performance guru for Yahoo!, how come Yahoo! Mail is so much slower to load in my browser than gmail or most other web-based mail clients?
    Certifications: A+ and Network+
  2. Stoney

    Stoney Megabyte Poster

    Nice review Trip, the web bods at work may like to read that.

    I may buy one myself and send it over to the Cisco web development team as well! :twisted:
    Certifications: 25 + 50 metre front crawl
    WIP: MCSA - Exam 70-270

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