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Web performance – Weekend must-read articles #24

web performance

This week we focus on web performance. There’s something about SPDY and how it’s gaining traction, high performance HTML 5, latency as a constraining factor in achieving faster web browsing, and much more.

Every week we bring you a collection of links to places on the web that we find particularly newsworthy, interesting, entertaining, and topical. We try to focus on some particular area or topic each week, but in general we will cover Internet, web development, networking, performance, security, and other geeky topics.

This week’s suggested reading

Google’s SPDY wins new allies in plan to rebuild Web plumbing : Cnet

SPDY hasn’t carried the day yet, but it has gained traction on the real-world Internet: when Mark Nottingham, leader of the HTTP working group, opened the IETF’s discussions about HTTP 2.0 in March, he called SPDY the “elephant in the room.” Other formal proposals include Microsoft’s HTTP Speed+Mobility, which shares some of SPDY’s approach, and Network-Friendly HTTP, which tackles the issue from the perspective of intermediate software that’s widely used to help smooth connections between Web browsers and Web servers.

Facebook gives SPDY a thumbs up : Facebook on W3C mailing list

We at Facebook are enthusiastic about the potential for an HTTP/2.0 standard that will deliver enhanced speed and safety for Web users. Of the three proposals, we recommend the use of SPDY as the basis for development of the HTTP/2.0 specification, but feel that the requirement for a secure transport must be added. We plan to continue developing and optimizing our HTTP, TLS, and SPDY implementations and are deploying them on a global scale. We look forward to sharing our experiences with the community.

HTTP Pipelining is a Hit and Miss: Subbu Allamaraju

Finding data with consistent patterns to prove benefits of pipelining is hard to come by. The first set of charts below show total time requests were in the queue for each connection. The red circles show requests made without pipelining and green circles show requests made with pipelining enabled. The size of each circle is proportional to the number of resources requested for each connection. The results show 100 runs made from a pool of private instances of WebPagetest on Windows XP with Firefox over DSL profile.

Latency: The New Web Performance Bottleneck : Ilya Grigorik

If we want a faster browsing experience then reducing the round trip time (RTT) should be near the top of our list. Or, as Mike Belshe put it: more bandwidth doesn’t matter (much). Now, let’s be clear, higher bandwidth is never a bad thing, especially for use cases that require bulk transfer of data: video streaming, large downloads, and so on. However, when it comes to your web browsing experience, it turns out that latency, not bandwidth, is likely the constraining factor today. As a consumer, did you consider this when you picked your ISP? Likely not, I’m yet to see any provider mention, yet alone advertise latency.

Steve Souders at Google I/O 2012, “High performance HTML5″ : Video

For years we built web apps that far outpaced the capabilities of the browsers they ran in. Just as the browsers were catching up HTML5 came on the scene – video and audio, canvas, SVG, app cache, localStorage, @font-face, and more. Now the browsers are racing to stay ahead of the wave that’s building as developers adopt these new capabilities. Is your HTML5 app going to ride the wave or be dashed on the rocks leaving users stranded? Learn which HTML5 features to seek out and which to avoid when it comes to building fast HTML5 web apps.

Fine, it’s a video and this is “must-read” articles, but we think you’ll indulge us.

Mastering the Application Cache Manifest for Offline Web Apps and Performance: Facebook’s HTML5 blog

Modern browsers offer a lot of new APIs to create amazing web apps on both desktop and mobile. One of the things these new APIs enable is the ability to build offline-capable websites. The application cache manifest (ACM) offers developers a way to make their apps work offline, reduce bandwidth consumption, and load pages much faster. Local storage and WebSQL databases are also great ways to cache data on the client side, and this post will talk about the pros and cons of using each.

Taking Your Web Performance’s Temperature Using a Heat Map

In this Heat Map example, web site’s Performance data is overlay with color, where red means “slowest” and green means “fastest” (with various color grades in between). I added this Heat Map example because the chart data was difficult to “crunch”, to analyze for patterns; adding color made this easier. Download the Excel sheet here. Otherwise, see the below “Before” and “After”.

And, in the unlikely event you missed it, Windows 8 will be available on October 26, 2012.

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Image (top) via Shutterstock.

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I'm a big fan of html 5 mainly because so many developers are releasing great free games using it.