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Web performance – Weekend must-read articles #29

web performance

This is our collection of must-read articles for the weekend.  There’s something about SPDY, caching, Google Octane, mobile web, Facebook and 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, web performance, security, and other geeky topics.

This week’s suggested reading

Caching HTTP POST Requests and Responses

The basic purpose of HTTP caching is to provide a mechanism for applications to scale better and perform faster. But HTTP caching is applicable only to idempotent requests, which makes a lot of sense; only idempotent and nullipotent requests yield the same result when run multiple times. In the HTTP world, this fact means that GET requests can be cached but POST requests cannot.

Visualizing SPDY vs HTTP

When we were developing SPDY, we wanted to know if SPDY was always faster or just sometimes faster than HTTP. The following chart is what convinced us that SPDY is indeed almost always faster. I didn’t publish this at that time because I didn’t like looking at web performance as a single number. “Is it faster” includes many variables, such as the network simulated (bandwidth & latency), the packet loss rate, the content chosen, and the measurement (total PLT, first PLT, second PLT, or time-to-first-render). You’d really want a whole stack of these charts, rather than just a single combination.

Taming the mobile beast

Presentation by Matt Welsh and Patrick Meenan from Google on tools and things to be aware of when developing for the mobile web.

Google Octane: the JavaScript benchmark suite for the modern web

The web is evolving and so should the JavaScript benchmarks that measure its performance. Today, we are releasing Octane, a JavaScript benchmark suite that aims to measure a browser’s performance when running the complex and demanding web applications that users interact with daily. Most of the existing JavaScript benchmarks run artificial tests that were created on an ad-hoc basis to stress a specific JavaScript feature. Octane breaks with this tradition and extends the former V8 Benchmark Suite with 5 new benchmarks created from full, unaltered, well-known web applications and libraries. A high score in the new benchmarks directly translates to better and smoother performance in similar web applications.

Web Performance Power Tool: HTTP Archive (HAR)

When it comes to analyzing page performance, the network waterfall tab of your favorite HTTP monitoring tool (e.g. Chrome Dev Tools, Firebug, Fiddler, etc) is arguably the single most useful power tool at our disposal. Now, wouldn’t it be nice if we could export the waterfall for better bug reports, performance monitoring, or later in-depth analysis? Well, good news, that is precisely what the HTTP Archive (HAR) data format was created for. Even better, chances are, you favorite monitoring tool already knows how to speak in HAR, which opens up a lot of possibilities – let’s explore.

Facebook is collecting your data — 500 terabytes a day

With more than 950 million users, Facebook is collecting a lot of data. Every time you click a notification, visit a page, upload a photo, or check out a friend’s link, you’re generating data for the company to track. Multiply that by 950 million people, who spend on average more than 6.5 hours on the site every month, and you have a lot of information to deal with.

Setting up SPDY Protocol over NginX for your Rails App

Many of us have heard of SPDY – the newest protocol from Google to serve secured content faster. Not heard of it? Here is a nice white paper from Google and a wiki to start with. Detailed protocol specifications are given here. SPDY is said to lower page-load time by almost 50% on secure http, ala https. Since @bubbles is served entirely encrypted it made sense for us to explore SPDY. And here is what we learned.

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Image (top) via Shutterstock.