Web site performance

Last week I read Steve Souders’ High Performance Web Sites. While I already have a fairly good understanding of site performance, having completed a fairly extensive performance analysis of tvnz.co.nz a few years ago and being familiar with Yahoo!’s YSlow plug-in for Joe Hewitt’s Firebug plug-in for Firefox, it was good to get into a bit more detail.

But lately, I’ve come across a few sites that have made me cringe; a colleague pointed out a couple of Swiss ones: migros.ch, and gate24.ch, and I came across the new upandgo.co.nz site on newsites.co.nz.

Let’s look at some stats, with vodafone.co.nz (my old gig) thrown into the mix:

Site YSlow score HTTP requests
(unprimed cache)
Size
(kB, unprimed cache)
Size
(kB, primed cache)
gate24.ch F (40) 55 501 49
migros.ch F (39) 85 996 134
upandgo.co.nz F (35) 77 748 284
vodafone.co.nz B (88) 41 195 23

The first three sites are ASPX sites, with bloated, invalid, (W3C) table-based markup, and what appears to be no performance tuning whatsoever. Sure, they are visually heavier than vodafone.co.nz, but being visually heavier doesn’t necessarily equate to looking better, and more often the end-user benefits of the visual components are offset by the performance overhead they introduce.

So, if you’re a web developer and you don’t use, or know of, Firebug and YSlow, stop what you’re doing right now and get familiar with them. Chris Pederick’s Web Developer toolbar for Firefox is also invaluable.

Learn about ETags, far future Expires headers, gzip, script placement, semantic markup, reducing the number of HTTP requests.

These are all vital factors in presenting a great website.
Figure out what you can do to make your site lighter, faster, and more search engine-friendly.

Posted in Coding, Commentary, Design, Tools, Web Standards | 6 Comments

Jason Santa Maria redesigns…

…or rather, rethinks.

Jason’s site is one of my regular reads, and his design work is really solid. As art director at Happy Cog, working with the likes of Jeffrey Zeldman, Jason is up there with the best of them.

It’s very tidy, but I can’t wait to see it get richer with each new post. Read his post about it and you’ll know what I mean.

Posted in Commentary, Design | Leave a comment

Download Day: Firefox 3

Need I say more? Go and get it!

Posted in Link, Tools | 1 Comment

Apple 3G iPhone 2.0

Apple have announced the release of the 3G iPhone, scheduled for the 11th of July.

It will be supported in Switzerland by both Swisscom and Orange, and in New Zealand by Vodafone, as we already knew.

It has GPS, 3G, support for Microsoft Exchange and a few other goodies.

I couldn’t find any pricing for Switzerland, but the Macrumors forum has some speculation.

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Local loop unbundling; Vodafone’s Red Network

I see in this morning’s NZ Herald that Vodafone NZ have announced their unbundled high-speed broadband service.

Marketing head Mark Rushworth explained that the network would not be hobbled, and that customers could expect the best possible performance for available.

“All of the plans on the Red Network are unrestricted on upload and download,” he said.

I’m not sure that speed is not really the issue for the average user. By that, I mean the theoretical cable speed of ADSL (not ADSL2+) is sufficient.

There are two issues: a) Data caps. I had a quick look around at Swiss providers, and I couldn’t find a plan that had a data cap. Most NZ plans do, and b) most people are only getting 2.5 to 3Mbps down, which is less than half the theoretical cable speed of standard ADSL.

Rushworth goes on to say:

Should the network growth outstrip projected capacity, Rushworth said it was a simple case of adding more high speed gear.

“If we run out of high speed capacity, we’ll have some more high speed equipment there the next day,” he said.

…which is great, so why don’t providers just do that with standard ADSL? I’m sure that would satisfy nearly all current customers who complain about speed.

If you’re running a business, using VoIP, or streaming quality, real-time video, then of course more bandwidth is always going to help, but if all you’re doing is using email, hanging out on Facebook, downloading the odd track from iTunes, or playing games online, then open-speed standard ADSL with no data cap would be fine.

ADSL2+? It’s just marketing.

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The Mac arrived yesterday…

…and so, as is obligatory, here are the unboxing pictures:

I thought WordPress made thumbnails, but I can’t seem to get it to work, so you’ll have to make do with the list of links.

Posted in Commentary, Gadgets, Tools | 1 Comment

A MacBook Pro

I’m still doing it all holiday-like here in Switzerland.
I try to make time to leaf through the usual blogs, but I’m really starting to hanker for a bit of work, which is good, because I start my new job on Monday.

And yesterday, my employer very kindly ordered my work machine of choice: a 15″ Apple MacBook Pro (with 4GB RAM and a 7200rpm HDD)

Posted in Commentary, Tools | 1 Comment

I’m still alive

Sorry – twoseven.co.nz has been off the air for a bit.

I finished up at Vodafone NZ on the 7th of May; flew to Hong Kong on the 9th; on to Zürich on the 11th; job interview on the 12th, and job offer on the 13th. It’s been a busy week.
With a final contract yet to be received and signed, it looks like I will become an employee of Liip AG, starting the beginning of June.

So, I’m settling down in Switzerland.
I have a sunrise prepaid mobile connection for my shiny new Nokia E90: +41 076 701 9638 , I bought a Linksys wireless access point with which to share the internet connection where I am staying.

In enjoying the E90, here are some awesome mobile applications that I’ve discovered:

So, it’s been a hectic time. I’ve now got a couple of weeks to get out and about in Switzerland, to go see some sights, and do touristy stuff before I start work.

Posted in Commentary | 3 Comments

Vodafone New Zealand gets the iPhone!

Vodafone announced today that it has signed an agreement with Apple to sell the iPhone in ten of its markets around the world; New Zealand is one of them!
Yay!

The NZ Herald says it could be here in July.

I’m tipping that it will be the new, yet-to-be-released, 3G version that we go live with.

Posted in Commentary, Gadgets | 1 Comment

Another blog

We’ve set up another blog, primarily for the purposes of chronicling our overseas escapade, but Michelle also likes to talk about the garden and stuff. Check it out.

Posted in Commentary, Link | Leave a comment