Even Faster Web Sites

If you’ve spent any time making Web sites faster, you’ve undoubtedly come across the work of Steve Souders. In addition to working at Google, speaking about Web performance across the world, and teaching a class at Stanford, he finds time to write books!

Steve’s first book, High Performance Web Sites, was one of the first of its kind to assemble and codify the best-practices for improving Web site front-end performance. His latest book, Even Faster Web Sites, picks up where the first left off, and dives even deeper into performance optimization techniques.

Steve mixes things up a bit in the new book, bringing in guest writers, each experts in their fields, to contribute chapters. Doug Crockford (JavaScript: The Good Parts) helps with understanding Ajax performance. Ben Galbraith and Dion Almaer (Ajaxian) discuss aspects of responsive Web applications. And the ins and outs of image optimization are ably explained by Stoyan Stefanov (Object Oriented JavaScript) and Nicole Sullivan.

How to write efficient JavaScript is covered by Nicholas Zakas (Professional JavaScript for Web Developers). While Tony Gentilcore explains why many Web users don’t receive compressed content, and what to do about it. And Dylan Shiemann talks about techniques to support asynchronous communication at really large scale.

In the balance of the book, Steve gets down to business with discussions of techniques to improve page load times, both perceived and actual. Four chapters dive deep on how to optimize script loading (inline and external). Another discusses performance gains and penalties of splitting content across domains (domain sharding) and finding the right balance.

Perceived performance can often be enhanced by getting initial content to users more quickly. Steve explains how to achieve this by flushing buffers early and using Chunked Transfer Encoding. Finally, Steve discusses the pros and cons of IFRAME use, and wraps up with a chapter surveying CSS selector efficiency and which ones to avoid.

In the Appendix, Steve has assembled a list of performance tools (many free), describing the strengths of each, and providing a checklist view of how they all stack up to measuring performance best practices.

As with his first book, the new Even Faster Web Sites should be on the shelf of anyone who makes Web sites faster.