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April 23, 2002

Get the Best Possible Performance from the Web: "Web Performance Tuning, 2nd Edition" Released by O'Reilly

Sebastopol, CA--Unlike the speed of light, which is constant in all frames of reference (remember Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity), the speed with which your browser loads a web page can vary dramatically owing to a number of performance issues. Any reduction in speed can be further aggravated by your own perception of speed: as most of us know, a red light in heavy traffic is perhaps the only thing slower than a slowly loading web page. In the second edition of "Web Performance Tuning" (O'Reilly, US $44.95), author Patrick Killelea tackles performance issues on the web, focusing on the end user's perception of speed, or how quickly the Web satisfies a user's request.

In the four years since Killelea wrote the first edition of "Web Performance Tuning," sweeping changes have taken place on the Web. Killelea points out that the most significant change is that the Web has moved from novelty to an essential utility for the distribution of information. With the Web now taken for granted, making it easier, faster, and cheaper to communicate than ever, web performance has become a bigger problem than it was four years ago.

"The Web continues to grow quickly," says Killelea, "and now billing is moving to the Web. Web performance will only continue to become more important in the future as new applications are released, such as web-based voting in elections. One of the most important things a business can keep in mind is that people don't buy what you're selling if your site is too slow." Fortunately, Killelea assures us, we know much more about web performance, what works and what does not, how to watch for problems, and how to fix them.

Written for anyone responsible for a web site, from an individual running a personal site on a Linux PC at home to large corporate sites, Web Performance Tuning, 2nd Edition offers practical advice on getting the best possible performance from the Web. It covers more than just tuning web server software; it is also about streamlining web content, getting optimal performance from a browser, tuning both client and server hardware, and maximizing the capacity of the network itself.

The book begins with concrete advice for quick results. Killelea then shifts gears to provide a conceptual background of the principles in computing performance. The latter half of "Web Performance Tuning" examines each element of a web transaction--from client to network to server--to find the weak links in the chain and how to strengthen them.

This new edition has been significantly expanded to include new chapters on web site architecture, security, and reliability, and their impact on performance. Killelea includes detailed discussion of the scalability of Java on microprocessor servers, Perl scripts for writing web performance spiders, instructions on how to use the Perl DBI and the open source program gnuplot to generate performance graphs. He also covers the use of rstat, a Unix-based open source utility for gathering performance statistics remotely. Essential subject matter for anyone involved in web performance, "Web Performance Tuning, Second Edition" is about making the Web more usable for everyone.

What the critics said about the first edition:

"'Web Performance Tuning' doesn't make the reader wait until the middle of the book before it starts providing real world solutions. As with most O'Reilly books, 'Web Performance Tuning' is a book that all conscientious developers should read."
--David Fiedler, webdeveloper.com

"...a handy book for the web professional."
--Freelance Informer

"It seems that the longer we remain in the web development business the more we are required to read and know. If you value your visitors, it's your job to make their visit as enjoyable, or at least as memorable, as possible. By tuning the performance of your web pages, web server, and if possible, the client's web browser, you ensure that you've done everything possible to make their visit a good one."
--Scott Clark, webdeveloper.com

Additional resources:

Web Performance Tuning, 2nd Edition
By Patrick Killelea
ISBN 0-596-00172-X, 456 pages, $44.95 (US), $69.95 (CAN)
order@oreilly.com
1-800-998-9938; 1-707-827-7000

About O'Reilly

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