In this episode of the O’Reilly Podcast, Brian Anderson talks with Larry Haig, author of the recent O'Reilly book Frontend Optimization Handbook. They discuss the relationship between web performance and customer experience (and why it’s important), solutions for optimizing web performance, and advice for those just embarking on their web performance journey.
Why web performance matters
Haig, previously a senior consultant and SME at Intechnica, stresses that poor web performance hits your bottom line. Good web performance is an essential and established tool if you’re looking to maximize your revenue and gain traction in the market. A constructive focus on web performance is less about the ambiguous mandate “just make everything fast,” and more about the issue of triage: build an understanding and establish goals, come up with a plan, define what needs to be done within the time frame and budget, and decide what can be put off to the next phase of development.
Optimizing the performance of your app really depends on the nature of the application as well as the degree of sophistication of the sector. According to Haig, your first priorities should be to minimize your pain loads and create lean sites with as few back end database lookups as possible. This way, you’ll be better optimized for whatever circumstance the user finds themselves in with bandwidth and processing power.
Key front end performance developments
The key change over the last few years is the shift to mobile devices, which have also increased in complexity. But there have been additional changes—Haig outlines a few, including:
- Traditional browser-based web apps or native OS-based applications.
- Progressive web applications, based on service worker interactions, to help ensure good user performance, even in irregular network conditions.
- The move to single page applications (SPAs), which, by their nature, pose challenges for traditional monitoring and analysis practice.
It is important, Haig notes, to be able to monetize performance for a specific site using events-based database extensions from an APM solution. Some real-user monitoring tools are emerging that can give you the ability to monitor single-page applications, listen for Angular routing events, and monitor new downloadable resources in a mutable fashion.
Recommendations for starting on the web performance journey
Haig advises starting off on the web performance journey by deciding where you want to go and bringing people on board as early as possible. It’s important to understand what you've got in terms of digital touchpoints and how they stack up in terms of performance under load. Haig suggests looking at your general, business-as-usual state relative to the key competition and relative to the key sites your customers are on when they’re not on yours.
This post and podcast is a collaboration between O'Reilly and HPE. See our statement of editorial independence.