Book Review: High Performance Web Sites, Steve Souders, O'Reilly
Author: Steve Souders
September 2007, 168 pages
O'Reilly's web site:http://oreilly.com/catalog/9780596529307/
Companion web site: http://www.stevesouders.com/hpws/
High Performance Web Sites is written by Chief Performance Yahoo! Steve Souders. The book explains the importance of frontend Performance - what it means for our customers as web users, where does the time go with browser loading and viewing web pages, and summarises this to a Performance Golden Rule:
"Only 10 - 20% of the end user response time is spent downloading the HTML document. The other 80 - 90% is spent downloading all the components in the page. "
Souders also explains the relevant aspects of HTTP protocol what comes to front-end performance such as GET request (also conditional), compression, Expires header and keep-alives. Then the book presents 14 rules what web developers and administrators can follow to improve web site performance, and ends with comparing top 10 US web sites in terms of performance aspects presented in the book.
A. The Importance of Frontend Performance
B. HTTP Overview
Rule 1: Make Fewer HTTP Requests
Rule 2: Use a Content Delivery Network
Rule 3; Add an Expires Header
Rule 4: Gzip Components
Rule 5: Put Stylesheets at the Top
Rule 6: Put Scripts at the Bottom
Rule 7: Avoid CSS Expressions
Rule 9: Reduce DNS Lookups
Rule 11: Avoid Redirects
Rule 12: Remove Duplicate Scripts
Rule 13: Configure ETags
Rule 14: Make Ajax Cacheable
Deconstructing 10 Top Sites
When I had High Performance Web Sites on my hand for the first time, I wondered "Wow, that's a compact book. Is it actually big enough to talk about what it claims to?" and I can assure now, yes it is. The book is compact but it's very informative. Souders has done great job in summarising things without losing the message. Argumentation and examples are clear, and his way of explaining things is fluent.
The message itself is important for any web developer, and I'd say every web developer must read this book. There is no excuse to not to take the lesson. I can also say that many people - even at Microsoft - have taken Souders' message seriously, and that always reflects their products in a way or another.
Awesome book,just go and get it!