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High Performance Web Sites--New from O'Reilly Media: Yahoo's Efficiency Expert Outlines 14 Rules for Faster Pages

September 12, 2007

Sebastopol, CA--As every web developer knows, Internet users don't like waiting for tiresome page reloads. Unfortunately, the features used by popular sites to make their pages appealing--extensive graphics, rich layout, and the inventive Web 2.0 movement with more responsive features and interactive content--have also pushed browsers to their limits. Without optimization, the frustrating result can be turtle-paced, teeth-grinding web site load times.

So where do you turn if you want to learn how to rev things up? High Performance Web Sites ($29.99, O'Reilly) by Steve Souders provides the answer.

"The success of Web 2.0 is dependent on rich applications being fast," says Steve Souders, Yahoo!'s chief performance expert. "And to ensure rich Internet applications provide good user experiences, web developers need to have advanced performance guidelines that go along with these advanced web development paradigms."

Souders has attracted standing-room-only crowds at Web 2.0 Expo and the Open Source Conference by discussing his research and solutions on web performance. He has also racked up an impressive roster of private speaking engagements, including Microsoft, Amazon.com, and other major companies.

Now, in his highly anticipated and important new title, Souder presents what he's learned in an elegant series of engineering steps--14 succinct rules, in fact--that, if implemented, can chip 25 to 50 percent off the response time when users request a page.

Souders developed these rules while optimizing some of the most visited pages on the Web. Even sites already thoroughly vetted, including Yahoo! Search and Yahoo! Front Page, improved from Souders' surprisingly simple performance guidelines. Souders, in his job as Chief Performance Yahoo!, builds tools for performance analysis and evangelizes these best practices and tools across Yahoo!'s product teams.

"The performance best practices I identified at Yahoo! are simple and yet make web pages much faster," observes Souders. "I wanted to share these insights with other web developers to improve the web experience for all users."

"The performance golden rule reveals that only 10 to 20 percent of the user experience is spent retrieving the HTML document, and yet that's where most performance optimization efforts have historically been focused," notes Souders. "The key to dramatically improving web page response times is focusing on the other 80 to 90 percent--the content that is downloaded and the functionality that is executed by the browser after the HTML document arrives. Knowing where to focus is the most important take away from my book."

In his book, each performance rule is supported by specific examples, and code snippets are available on the book's companion web site.

Souders' 14 rules are:

    1. Make Fewer HTTP Requests
    2. Use a Content Delivery Network
    3. Add an Expires Header
    4. Gzip Components
    5. Put Stylesheets at the Top
    6. Put Scripts at the Bottom
    7. Avoid CSS Expressions
    8. Make JavaScript and CSS External
    9. Reduce DNS Lookups
    10. Minify JavaScript
    11. Avoid Redirects
    12. Remove Duplicate Scripts
    13. Configure ETags
    14. Make Ajax Cacheable

Frontend engineers, web designers, and backend developers are sure to find the book full of useful advice. "High Performance Web Sites" is the indispensable guidebook for helping you build pages for high-traffic destinations and improve the experiences of users visiting your sites.

"Sharing these best practices is in the same spirit as the technology Yahoo! is sharing with the Yahoo! User Interface (YUI) libraries and on the Yahoo! Developer Network (YDN)," says Souders. "The idea of so many people around the world benefiting from Yahoo!'s work was the motivation for writing my book."

Early praise for High Performance Web Sites "If everyone would implement just 20 percent of Steve's guidelines, the web would be a dramatically better place."
- Joe Hewitt, developer of Firebug debugger and Mozilla's DOM Inspector

"Steve Souders has done a fantastic job of distilling a massive, semi-arcane art down to a set of concise, actionable, pragmatic engineering steps that will change the world of web performance."
- Eric Lawrence, developer of the Fiddler Web Debugger, Microsoft

About the Author
Steve Souders, in his job as Chief Performance Yahoo!, builds tools for performance analysis and evangelizes these best practices and tools across Yahoo!'s product teams. Prior to Yahoo!, Steve worked at several small to mid-size startups, including two companies he co-founded: Helix Systems and CoolSync. He received an M.S. in Management Science and Engineering from Stanford University.

More information about the book, including table of contents, index, author bio, and samples

High Performance Web Sites: Essential Knowledge for Front-End Engineers
Steve Souders
ISBN: 0-596-52930-9, $29.99
1-800-998-9938; 1-707-827-7000

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