Bram Pitoyo, Portland Creative/Tech Event Review

Beer and Blog – Make your blog load fast and save the environment: An Event Review

Beer and Blog – Make your blog load fast and save the environment

When: Friday, June 6, 2008, 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Where: Green Dragon Bistro & Brewpub

What It’s About: Jason Grigsby from CloudFour talks about optimizing website, then shows you how to do it. Unfortunately, I am not technical enough to fully comprehend the latter part of the presentation, but any web developer and geek worth her salt should know these. Anyway, on to the notes.

*** BEGIN PARTIALLY COMPLETE EVENT NOTATION ***

2003, John and I worked at another company. Our datacenter reached max capacity, and the power company wouldn’t give us more electricity. We end up spending a lot of times optimizing 60 customers site to make them run faster. This is the kind of stuff that a lot of web dev don’t pay a lot of attention to today, or even back in 2003.

Recently, I realized how important this is for the environment. In California, datacenters can’t get more electricity. How people deal with thes: companies that have big network are load balancing to another country.

What about the regular web developer? We can do things to make site use less CPU time and bandwidth. It’s like recycling a can: not big, but if everybody is doing it, then it will make a difference.

In a Google survey, only 5% of the page is HTML document. The other 95% is CSS, JS, images and other stuff. So, really, the vast majorities of what the user will feel to be different is the parts that loaded after HTML. Another research showed that the size of typical pages have tripled since 2003, and the objects contained within it have doubled.

Clearly, then, there is a lot that developers can do to optimize the way they currently do things—if not for performance’s sake (which can be a non-factor with high-speed internet connection), then for the environment’s.

Yahoo! has guidelines on improving web pages performance. Jason discussed 13 of them. Some notable ones:

  1. Install YSlow for Firebug, which will give you metrics and score to judge and improve your site against.
  2. Make fewer HTTP Requests. This is the one of the most important thing that you can do to optimize your site. Firefox 2 and below only make 2 HTML requests per website at a time.
  3. Sites that has a lot of CSS and JS files should combine them in a single file. Images, on the other hand, can be hosted on several domains to balance the load.
  4. Use content delivery network: things that will allow you to geographically put content closer to the user. For instance, Google launched the AJAX Libraries API last week.
  5. The simplest thing to do—but one that not enough people does—is Gzip your files.
  6. Every time a site is loaded, a browser will check its header for update. This is important, but only if it’s updated. But elements like header graphics, and things that don’t change for a while don’t need to be updated and ‘checked’ by browsers all the time. Therefore, setting your header to expire in the future is a big deal.
  7. This one is common practice: but put stylesheets on the top and script on the bottom.
  8. Minify Javascript, particularly if you’re doing mobile web development.

*** END EVENT NOTATION ***

Technicality: ☝ ☝ ☝ ½
Translation: The fact that I only had enough aptitude to take note of the first part of the presentation—and not the second—should tell you. However, don’t let this deter you from learning and attending more presentations by this local mobile web dev maven.

Interestingness: ☝ ☝ ☝ ½
Translation: All suggestion is simple and practical—indeed, much like recycling a can to help the environment. In fact, I’m doing it on my professional website as we speak.

What I Learned From The Event In Six Words:
Change the world. Optimize your HTML.

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