Tags: performance

A device agnostic approach to inlining CSS | Blog | Decade City

I very much agree with Orde’s framing here: I don’t think it makes much sense to talk about “above the fold” CSS …but it makes a lot of sense to talk about critical CSS.

And, yeah, it’s another example of progressive enhancement.

How we make RWD sites load fast as heck

Scott shares the code that Filament Group are using to determine which style declarations are critical (and can be inlined) and which are non-critical (and can be loaded asynchronously). It makes quite a difference in perceived performance.

By the way, I really, really like the terminology of “critical” and “non-critical” CSS, rather than “above the fold” and “below the fold” CSS.

RWD Bloat - daverupert.com

Dave wanted to figure out if having a responsive site necessarily meant taking a performance hit, so he ran the numbers on his own site. It turns out all of performance-related issues are not related to responsive design.

GitHub’s CSS · @mdo

Mark Otto talks through the state of Github’s CSS and the processes behind updating it. There’s a nice mix of pragmatism and best practices, together with a recognition that there’s always room for improvement.

Monday, 7 July 2014 – The Pastry Box Project

Words of wisdom from Scott on the clash of brand guidelines and the flexible nature of the web:

One thing I am pretty sure of though, is that having a fast, accessible, user-friendly site can reflect incredibly well on a company, and I’d love to see more guidelines and expectations that prioritize these aspects of a service as branding requirements in addition to the usual visual details.

Comparing two ways to load non-critical CSS

Scott’s trying to find out the best ways to load critical CSS first and non-critical CSS later. Good discussion ensues.

Section for peer-reviewed Custom Elements · Issue

Some sensible thoughts from Addy on how Web Components might be peer-reviewed.

Aerotwist - Web Components and the Three Unsexy Pillars

A healthy dose of scepticism about Web Components, looking at them through the lenses of accessibility, security, and performance.

I share some of this concern: Web Components might look like handy ready-made out-of-the-box solutions, but the truth is that web developers have to do much more of the hard graft that was traditionally left to the browser.

Spotlight – a pure JavaScript application for GOV.UK Performance | Technology at GDS

A nice tale of progressive enhancement from gov.uk, talking about how they made their analytics dashboards (which are public, by the way) using JavaScript on the server and on the client.

I believe this is what the kids are calling isomorphic JavaScript.

Device-Agnostic by Trent Walton

A terrific post from Trent, touching on all the important facets of building for the web: universality, progressive enhancement, performance …great stuff!

Aerotwist - My Performance Audit Workflow

Excellent tips and tools from Google’s Paul Lewis on performance testing.

Notes on a responsive Guardian redesign – Lozworld™

A great write-up of the design process behind The Guardian’s responsive site. It’s really gratifying to see UX designers talking about performance.

Fast Enough - TimKadlec.com

Some sensible thinking from Tim on measuring performance gains.

“Now with Responsive!,” an article by Dan Mall

Dan gives some insight into what it took to make his personal site responsive. Stay tuned: there’ll be more of this.

Issue 18850005: Disable double tap zoom on mobile sites, to remove 300ms click delay - Code Review

Well, this is interesting: it looks like Chrome might stop waiting 300ms for potential double-tap-to-zoom events if the site is using a meta viewport declaration that sets the width to device-width.

Progressive enhancement is still important by Jake Archibald

Another great post on using progressive enhancement for JavaScript, this time by Jake. He does a great job of explaining the performance bottleneck that is created when you start doing everything on the client side.

Web Fonts and the Critical Path - Ian Feather

The battle between web fonts and performance. Ian Feather outlines some possible solutions, but of course, as always, the answer is “it depends”.

Request Quest

A terrific quiz about browser performance from Jake. I had the pleasure of watching him present this in a bar in Amsterdam—he was like a circus carny hoodwinking the assembled geeks.

I guarantee you won’t get all of this right, and that’s a good thing: you’ll learn something. If you do get them all right, either you are Jake or you are very, very sad.

Deep dive into the murky waters of script loading

Jake casts a scrutinising eye over the way that browsers load and parse scripts …and looks at what we can do about it.

Sensible jumps in responsive image file sizes

Some good thinking from Jason here. In a roundabout way, he’s saying that when it comes to responsive images—as with just about every other aspect of web development—the answer is …it depends.

joshje/svg-for-web · GitHub

If, like me, you’ve been using the “export to SVG” plugin for Fireworks and then opening up the resultant file to trim it down, Josh has got you covered: here’s a version of “export to SVG” that will result in much slimmer files.

I’m done with the web by Randy Luecke

I find it hard to agree with any part of this. To me, it shows a deep misunderstanding of the web—treating the web as just another platform, without understanding what makes it so special.

I think I may have found my polar opposite.

The hilarious obsession with file size is the start of my frustrations with the web community.

How to lose weight (in the browser)

A handy one-stop-shop for tips on improving front-end performance.

A List Apart Issue № 371

This issue of A List Apart is a great double-whammy. Lara Swanson has a ton of practical tips for front-end performance enhancements, and Brian dives deep into making your own icon fonts.

For discussion: viewport and font-size data in client hints

The “client hints” proposal looks really interesting: a way for user-agents to send data to the server without requiring the server to have a library of user-agent strings. But Scott has a few concerns about some of the details.

Anatomy of a responsive page load

The slides from Andy’s excellent pragmatic talk on performance and aggressive enhancement at the Responsive Day Out.

Responsive design – have we come full circle?

Everything old is new again. Ross noticed that many of the themes recurring at the Responsive Day Out hark back to best practices from over a decade ago: progressive enhancement, performance, good ol’ information architecture…

The Vanilla Web Diet by Christian Heilman

I like the sound of the book that Chris is writing for Smashing Magazine. It sounds like a very future-friendly approach to front-end development.

Test your app under slow network speeds

Some handy tips for simulating slow network speeds on your machine.

Setting a performance budget by Tim Kadlec

Tim talks about the very useful technique of setting a page-weight limit; something that Mark wrote about on the Clearleft blog recently.

On layout and web performance by Kelly Norton

This is handy: a look at which DOM properties and methods cause layout thrashing (reflows).

Performance as design by Brad Frost

Amen, Brad, Amen.

It’s time for us to treat performance as an essential design feature, not just as a technical best practice.

Speed up your site using prefetching by Jon Fox

More details on DNS prefetching, page prefetching and, controversial, page pre-rendering.

Front-end performance for web designers and front-end developers by Harry Roberts

A really good introduction to front-end performance techniques. Most of this was already on my radar, but I still picked up a handy tip or two (particularly about DNS prefetching).

At this stage it should go without saying that you should be keeping up with this kind of thing: performance is really, really, really important.

Implementing off-canvas navigation for a responsive website by David Bushell

This off-canvas demo is a great practical example of progressive enhancement from David. It’s also a lesson in why over-reliance on jQuery can sometimes be problematic.

Page Weight Matters | Chris Zacharias

An excellent tale of performance optimisation …complete with a coda on looking behind the numbers when it comes to analytics data.

Deploying New Image Formats on the Web - igvita.com

A well-reasoned argument for tackling image optimisation on the server, using content-type negotiation.

The Vanilla Web Diet | Smashing Coding

I wholeheartedly agree with Christian’s diagnosis of the average web page: it’s overweight to the point of obesity. Fortunately Dr. Heilmann has some remedies.

Trimming the Fat — Paul Robert Lloyd

A great in-depth description by Paul of how he optimised his site. More of this please!

Retina revolution

You’ve probably seen this already, but it’s really worth bearing in mind: when you’re scaling up JPGs for retina display you can safely reduce the image quality by quite a lot—to the point of getting the exact same file size as a higher quality image that’s half the size.

A List Apart: Articles: Mo’ Pixels Mo’ Problems

The kickass articles just keep on comin’. This one from Dave is a great overview of options for dealing with images in responsive designs.

JPEGmini - Your Photos on a Diet!

This looks like a really handy tool for reducing the file size of JPEGs without any perceptible loss of quality (in much the same way that ImageOptim works for PNGs)—available as a Mac app or an installable web service.

Latency: The New Web Performance Bottleneck - igvita.com

This is just wonderful! It combines almost all of my recent obsessions into one unified post: website performance (particularly on mobile) and the locations of undersea cables. The interactive map is the icing on the cake.

bandwidth (tecznotes)

Mike compares the bandwidth usage of the sites he most frequently visits. The results are grim.

The worst sins of the Flash years are coming back with a vengeance, in the form of CSS Frameworks and the magic dollar sign. There has seriously got to be a better way to do this.

filamentgroup/Southstreet

This is excellent! Scott, Wilto, and the gang at Filament Group have released the tools they use to help them craft performant responsive sites. Lots of excellent resources for conditional loading here.

How We Improved Page Speed By Cleaning CSS, HTML and Images | Dyn Blog

Some good practical advice on improving performance. This should all be familiar to you, but it’s always worth repeating.

Twitter Engineering: Improving performance on twitter.com

Well, well, well. It turns out that building your entire application, content’n’all, in JavaScript isn’t so good for performance.

Sweep the Sleaze | Information Architects

Some sensible advice from Oliver Reichenstein. Cluttering your social media icons isn’t helping and may actively be hindering your audience.

» The real conflict behind picture and @srcset (Cloud Four Blog)

Jason outlines the real challenge to every proposed solution for responsive images: they just don’t jibe with the way that browsers (quite rightly) pre-fetch images.

LukeW | Data Monday: E-commerce Performance

Time is money …especially when it comes to performance on the web.

HTTP Compression use by Alexa Top 1000 | Zoompf

An in-depth analysis (graphs! data!) of how popular sites are using—or not using—compression.

Highly optimized images for the web in 3 steps | pasz.nl/blog

Some practical advice for optimising your images on the web.

The state of responsive images | Feature | .net magazine

Wilto gives a thorough explanation of the state of things with responsive images, particularly the work being done at the Responsive Images Community Group at the W3C.

Mobile Battery Performance

This is my short explanation of Remy’s explanation of a BBC news article which is an explanation of an academic paper about battery performance of mobile devices when accessing websites.

Modern Web Development Part 1 – The Webkit Inspector

This is a very in-depth look at how to become a power user of the Web Inspector in Webkit browsers. I’m sitting down with a nice cup of tea to go through all of this.

10 questions about web performance – Jeremy Keith at Clearleft

I had a chat with the guys from Pingdom about performance’n’stuff. If I sound incoherent, that’s because this is a direct transcription of a Skype call, where, like, apparently I don’t, y’know, talk in complete sentences and yeah.

An Ajax-Include Pattern for Modular Content | Filament Group, Inc., Boston, MA

Scott walks through the code and thinking behind the conditional loading pattern on The Boston Globe site. This is such a useful and valuable pattern!

Pingdom Tools

A handy performance testing tool from Pingdom, similar to Google’s offering.

First thing you should do to optimize your desktop site for mobile « Cloud Four

Jason reiterates Bruce’s rallying cry: Performance First!

If you could only do one thing to prepare your desktop site for mobile and had to choose between employing media queries to make it look good on a mobile device or optimizing the site for performance, you would be better served by making the desktop site blazingly fast.

Bruce Lawson’s personal site  : What Users Want from Mobile, and what we can re-learn from them

Bruce hammers home the importance of speed and performance on mobile (and frankly, everywhere).

So perhaps some of the time and effort put into media queries, viewports, avoiding scrolling, line length would actually be better employed reducing HTTP requests and optimising so that websites are perceived to render faster.

ImageAlpha — lossy compression for 24-bit PNG images

From Kornel, the genius who gave us ImageOptim, comes another Mac desktop tool for optimising PNGs, this time converting 24-bit PNG to 8-bit with full alpha channel.

nathanford/pngy - GitHub

A script that attempts to detect connection speed (by requesting a test file three times in a row) in order to determine whether hi-res images should be requested or not.

What We Don’t Know // Speaker Deck

The slides from Chris’s presentation on the known unknowns of the web.

Sirens | Aaron Mentele

Some very interesting results from testing background image downloads contained within media queries or overridden with media queries: it turns out that, in iOS at least, the browser is getting smarter and smarter.

On designing content-out (a response to Zeldman and others) | Stephanie Rieger

Stephanie details all the things we have to know about when designing for today’s broad range of devices: performance, capabilities, form factor, pixel density, and network latency.

These are all good points but I worry that if we just concentrate on the current device landscape, our processes won’t adapt to the future.

REDbot: <>

Oh, this is very handy indeed: a quick lint tool for HTTP so you can see what kind of headers are being sent. There’s a bookmarklet in the footer too.

Polyfilling The HTML5 Gaps With JavaScript

An in-depth look at browser polyfills: what they are, how they work, and how you can make your own.

Post Web site loads too slowly - The Washington Post

Performance matters. Here, the Washington Post compares its own weak performance (hampered by ads and tracking shite) to the optimised experience of porn sites.

Stubbornella » Blog Archive » Don’t Style Headings Using HTML5 Sections

Nicole provides a step-by-step explanation of why it will probably benefit you to add classes to your headings to ensure consistent styling without writing overly-verbose CSS.

Jake Archibald - Font-Face - Good vs Legal on Vimeo

Jake’s talk at DIBI earlier this year was absolutely fantastic. It features a rape reference, a story about pissing, and a Human Centipede metaphor.

It’s also very, very informative. Watch this.

Appcache Facts

A handy one-page cheatsheet for using HTML5’s appcache manifest file for offline storage.

mySociety » Blog Archive » Mobile operators altering (and breaking) web content

In an attempt to “optimise” performance, T-Mobile and Orange are actually breaking jQuery.

Page Speed Service Home

Performance shit just got real.

You can now sign up with Google to have your site pass every request through them and get your documents served up optimised.

Responsive web design from the future — Warpspire

I really like the thinking that’s gone into the design of Github, as shown in this presentation. It’s not really about responsive design as we commonly know it, but boy, is it a great deep dive into the importance of URLs and performance.

Don’t use IDs in CSS selectors? ❧ Oli.jp (@boblet)

I agree with Oli’s conclusion:

Save IDs for fragment identifiers or JavaScript hooks.

loads.in - test how fast a webpage loads in a real browser from over 50 locations worldwide

A handy tool for checking page load times.

Book of Speed

An online book about website performance by Stoyan Steganov, released into the public domain. Excellent!

CSS Lint

Nicholas and Nicole have unveiled the CSS companion to JS Lint. And yes, it will your hurt your feelings.

JoshEmerson.co.uk · Blog · Base64 and the tiling background

Josh explains the pros and cons of embedding background images in your CSS using base 64 encoding.

Google Analytics Blog: Measure Page Load Time with Site Speed Analytics Report

Great news! Google Analytics now tracks page load times.

Page Speed Online

A supremely useful tool from Google for measuring performance.

HTTP Archive

This is wonderful stuff: a long-term project to track the performance of high-traffic sites over time: oodles of lovely data and some quite shocking stats.

filamentgroup/Responsive-Images - GitHub

Some very smart ideas here for responsively enhancing image requests.

Mobile Web Application Best Practices

This W3C document is done and dusted: proposed recommendation. Every one of the guidelines for optimising for mobile also holds true for "desktop" sites.

HTML Resource Packages

An interesting performance proposal from mozilla that will degrade nicely in legacy browsers.

10K Apart | Inspire the web with just 10K.

I'll be sitting in judgement on the entries to this neat competition which harks back to the good ol' days of 5k.org.

Web fonts test

Test cases for font-linking.

High Performance Web Sites :: @font-face and performance

Steve Souders does the research and reveals the sad truth about the effect font-linking has on performance.

Make Photoshop Faster

Two little tips courtesy of Dan.

Let's make the web faster - Google Code

A whole heap of optimisation techniques from Google for faster CSS, JavaScript, markup and PHP.

Google Code Blog: Introducing Page Speed

GSlow.

Douglas Crockford: "Ajax Performance" on Yahoo! Video

An excellent overview of Ajax and optimisation.

Thirteen Simple Rules for Speeding Up Your Web Site

The justification behind YSlow. If you've heard Nate Koechley speak, some of this will be familiar to you. It's all solid advice as far as I can tell.

YSlow for Firebug

The YUI folks have released an add-on for Firebug that will analyse your pages and suggest ways of speeding it up.

U2's City of Blinding Lights

William Gibson gives a first-hand account of U2's redristribution of the future.