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A collection of must read articles highlighting the importance of webperformance for your online business

A collection of must read articles highlighting the importance of webperformance for your online business

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    MeasureMatters#7 MeasureMatters#7 Document Transcript

    • MEASUREMATTERS #7
      A collection of must read articles highlighting the importance of webperformance for your online business
    • Web Performance Links
      • What is the “Last Mile” and Why is it Important?
      • Quick roundup: Mobile performance
      • Father’s Day – Site Speed and Page Load Times Vary Widely For Websites Popular with Dads
      • Velocity 2011 Web Performance Conference
      • Facebook increases speed and reliability in Q2
    • What is the “Last Mile” and Why is it Important?
      What is the “Last Mile”?
      When you hear the phrase “Last Mile”, you may think of it as the final leg of delivering connectivity from a communications provider to a customer – the “last mile” from the main cable to your house. That certainly is where the term began. Here at Compuware, we expose how this “final leg” of service delivery can impact end user website performance by using a global network of tens of thousands of computers we call the “Last Mile.”
      Why Measure from the Last Mile View?
      Because for a B2C web applications, customers are the source of your revenue — and your customers are located at the end of the “Last Mile.”
      Measuring from real consumer desktops at the “edge of the Internet,” behind local ISPs and mobile carriers, is the only “real-world” view into the performance of web applications. This “Last Mile” view offers insight into how geographic location and bandwidth constraints affect the way your customers experience your website.
      Measuring from real user desktops means you can detect potential issues in local and regional geographies and with specific customer segments such as broadband or dial-up users and know about issues that are meaningful to your business — before your customers experience problems.
      Monitoring from the “Last Mile” exposes how variables like location, consumer-grade ISPs, CDNs, connection speeds and computer performance all impact end-user website performance. By extending performance insights down to the desktop, you can:
      Identify real-world performance issues, including the impact of bandwidth, Content Delivery Networks (CDNs), local ISPs and wireless carriers
      Measure the differences in the quality of service for existing and new markets
      Proactively test performance from the end-user’s perspective at multiple stages of the development process
      Identify, before deployment, problems in key localities and new regions or with real world variables like connection speeds, (dial-up, DSL, cable broadband, fiber optics, etc.) before users arrive
      Curiously, some organizations (i.e., those without “Last Mile” capability) have called data from the “Last Mile” noisy and erratic. But, that’s exactly the point! All that “noise” is exactly what your customer is experiencing. If you want to see what they’re seeing, you need to “hear the noise,” too. You can’t have a real “Last Mile” capability by testing from computers in data centers. That negates the entire point of the Last Mile.
      Load Testing and the Last Mile
      Load testing from the ‘Last Mile’ is also the only way to generate real-world load to test web application performance across CDNs, third party providers, locals ISPs, etc. When you combine this with high-volume load from the cloud, you learn things about how your applications scales that you literally can’t learn any other way.
      Having “Last Mile” visibility into the operational availability and performance of your key web pages and transactions ensures that they perform properly—all the time, in all locations.
      Source: Eric Schurr, Website Performance Blog, Posted: june 24,2011 http://www.website-performance-blog.com/2011/06/what-is-the-%E2%80%9Clast-mile%E2%80%9D-and-why-is-it-important/
    • Quick roundup: Mobile performance
      Today, our partners at Neustar have invited me to participate in an online panel for the mobile market. I’ll be joining Steve Souders, Patrick Lightbody and Michael Sheehan, and ostensibly we’re going to tell you all about “the opportunities and challenges of managing mobile performance.”
      In light of this topic, I wanted to round up some of the most-read posts on this blog that relate to mobile performance issues:
      Early findings: 97% of mobile end-user response time happens at the front end
      It’s pretty widely known that around 80% of performance issues happen at the front end. We wanted to find out if this number holds true for mobile performance as well, so we dug into our customer database and analyzed five million transactions.
      Review: Blaze Mobile performance measurement tool
      Mobitest is a simple, easy-to-use test for anyone starting out on the performance testing path.
      2011 predictions for the mobile industry
      Mobitest is a simple, easy-to-use test for anyone starting out on the performance testing path.
      Now that the year is almost half over, how right was I?
      Source: JoshuaBixby, WebPerformanceToday,posted: june 22,2011 http://www.webperformancetoday.com/2011/06/22/quick-roundup-mobile-performance/
    • Quick roundup: Mobile performance
      Source: JoshuaBixby, WebPerformanceToday,posted: june 22,2011 http://www.webperformancetoday.com/2011/06/22/quick-roundup-mobile-performance/
    • Father’s Day – Site Speed and Page Load Times Vary Widely For Websites Popular with Dads
      Porsche and Jiffy Lube Race Ahead While NASCAR And Verizon FIOS Fall Behind.
      Father’s Day is a time to celebrate fatherhood and all of its joys. It’s also a time to give thanks – and celebrate fatherhood. For most men, that thanks may come in the form of some of their favorite gifts. For dad, some of the gifts that come to mind include barbeque items, sports tickets and more tangible things like home and auto improvement tools.
      Many fathers and their loved ones are increasingly buying on the Internet. Whether it is on the couch, in front of the TV, out on the deck or in the office, the Web has become an indispensible resource where so much of our time, and money, is spent. Time is money and slow websites can slow down ecommerce, sports scores and other popular reasons for using the web. We thought it might be interesting to look at the site speed and page load times of some of the most popular websites that dad’s might visit.
      Each site was assigned a score which measures several aspects of web page load speed, as experienced by the website visitor. This score factors in how fast the site displays the page title, the time it takes for core content to appear and the time it takes for the page to be fully usable (“time to interact”.) This score ranges from 0 to 100. A higher score means a better page load user experience. Looking at the chart we can clearly see that sites vary greatly in their Web performance. We looked at a diverse set of websites including those of the following companies: Jiffy Lube, Weber, Porsche, NFL, ESPN, Dominos, Ticketmaster, Harley Davidson, PGA, Omaha Steaks, Home Depot, VeriozonFiOS, MLB and NASCAR.
      Source: Coachwei, Yottaa blog , posted: june 21, 2011 http://blog.yottaa.com/2011/06/father%E2%80%99s-day-%E2%80%93-site-speed-and-page-load-times-vary-widely-for-websites-popular-with-dads
    • Father’s Day – Site Speed and Page Load Times Vary Widely For Websites Popular with Dads
      Congrats to Weber, the maker of barbeques, whose site was the fastest in our benchmark.
      Fortunately, Jiffy Lube – whose brand name signals seed and convenience – also had a fast loading site: JiffyLube.com loads in an astounding 1.94 seconds . Other fast websites include Porsche, and the National Football League (NFL). We found it very interesting that while the NFL has a fast website, other sporting sites did not, including the PGA and Major League Baseball (MLB). We find it hard to believe that a service like Verizon FiOS would have a slow website – their promise of speed is not the first impression they make when a visitor goes to their page. It takes over 8 seconds for the FiOS website to load and become usable.
      Meanwhile, the fastest action on TV has the slowest website on the Web at over 12 seconds; NASCAR.com is not living up to its full potential to engage with its online fans. The full benchmark is available at Yottaa.com at http://www.yottaa.com/benchmarks/4de948e54b6b2241af00000f?per_page=25
      For fathers, and their family members, time spent waiting for a web page to load, adds stress and means time away from loved ones.
      Like this benchmark? Are you interested in how fast your website is or the website of your competitor? Find out at www.yottaa.com
      Source: Coachwei, Yottaa blog , posted: june 21, 2011 http://blog.yottaa.com/2011/06/father%E2%80%99s-day-%E2%80%93-site-speed-and-page-load-times-vary-widely-for-websites-popular-with-dads
    • Report: The most common web browsers and browser versions today
      The web browser market is an ever-changing landscape. It can sometimes be rocky ground for web designers and web developers trying to make their websites and services work for all the various browser versions available out there. It’s challenging work, to say the least.
      That’s why it pays to be aware of what the web browser market looks like, and stay up to date. How many are using the various browsers out there? How many are using the latest versions? Which versions are the most common? How big an audience may you be annoying if your site isn’t perfect in a specific browser version?
      Those are all questions you’ll want to answer, and here is what the situation looks like right now, in June 2011, based on the traffic to more than three million websites and billions of page views.
      The most common web browser versions
      We’ve included every single browser version that has 0.2% market share or more. The data is fromStatCounter and is based on visitor statistics from more than three million websites for the first half of June. According to StatCounter their monthly sample size exceeds 15 billion page views, so the data here should be a good international average across websites.
      Source: Coachwei, Yottaa blog , posted: june 21, 2011 http://blog.yottaa.com/2011/06/father%E2%80%99s-day-%E2%80%93-site-speed-and-page-load-times-vary-widely-for-websites-popular-with-dads
    • Report: The most common web browsers and browser versions today
      Observations:
      The top browser, whether you like it or not. IE8 is the most widely used web browser in the world by quite some margin.
      The IE9 situation. We also see that IE9, Microsoft’s latest version of IE, has not yet been able to pass even IE7. It will likely get a good boost at the end of this month, though, since an upgrade will be pushed out through Windows Update. It will have to be approved by the end user, so we’ll see how many actually upgrade. We wrote about this Microsoft dilemma with IE yesterday.
      Safari and Mac… and IE6. The latest version of Safari, version 5, is used only barely more than IE6. Of course, it’s used primarily on Mac, which is a smaller market than the overall Windows PC market. And of course, Mac users also have access to other browsers. IE6 is no doubt closely coupled to the still-common Windows XP.
      Firefox 4 already the top Firefox version. Less than three months after it was released (March 22), Firefox 4 has become the most common version of that browser. The shift to the new version continues to march along quite smoothly, judging by Firefox download stats.
      Beta testing. It’s clear that a ton of users are involved in beta testing various browser versions, especially for Chrome and Firefox. Future versions of browsers are present here, like Firefox 5, and Chrome 13.
      Chrome’s silent upgrades in action. It’s obvious that Google is in the middle of upgrading (automatically, as you know) Chrome 12 users to Chrome 13. Which version are you running right now?
      Wow, iPad. In spite of the iPad being available little more than a year, Safari for iPad has a 0.68% share of the web browsing already.
      Old browser versions. This chart makes it painfully clear how common it is for people to hang on to older browser versions for quite some time. Many probably only upgrade when they upgrade their OS, or their computer, judging by what we’re seeing here.
      Now on to examining how browsers are doing if you ignore the individual versions (which you probably shouldn’t, but it’s an interesting data point).
      Source: Coachwei, Yottaa blog , posted: june 21, 2011 http://blog.yottaa.com/2011/06/father%E2%80%99s-day-%E2%80%93-site-speed-and-page-load-times-vary-widely-for-websites-popular-with-dads
    • Report: The most common web browsers and browser versions today
      The most common browsers
      So what is the overall situation per browser, regardless of version?
      Observations:
      The fall of IE. It wasn’t long ago that Internet Explorer completely dominated the browser market. Before Firefox came around in 2004 it had somewhere around 95% of the browser market. These days the situation is drastically different, with all version of IE together making up “only” 44%.
      Chrome’s amazing growth. It’s also amazing how quickly Google Chrome has become a force to be reckoned with. Chrome was released less than three years ago.
      The rise of WebKit. If you count the WebKit browsers together (i.e. Chrome and Safari), they have almost as big a share as Firefox, 25.35% versus 28.57%. And this is on the desktop. If you look at mobile browsers, the story is a different one, with total WebKit domination.
      Don’t forget your own site stats
      Hopefully you’ve found this report helpful, but let us give you some final advice. It’s something you are hopefully already doing if you’re a web developer or designer, but a reminder couldn’t hurt.
      If you’re designing for an existing website, it’s great to keep the above information above in mind, but don’t forget your site-specific “visitor profile.” In other words, you should of course also look at your own website’s visitor stats to see which browsers they tend to use. That can differ significantly depending on your audience.
      For example, the top browsers in June so far for this blog, Royal Pingdom, are: Firefox (40.86%), Chrome (32.03%), IE (15.50%), Safari (7.23%) and Opera (1.96%). So almost 4/5 of our blog’s visitors use Firefox, Chrome or Safari. A lot of techies read this blog, and they tend to prefer Firefox and Chrome, which explains that. A different site with a different demographic would show different results.
      That said, as soon as you’re designing something that you want accessible to as wide an audience as possible, the overall stats that we presented in this article becomes a very good thing to keep in mind.
      Source: Coachwei, Yottaa blog , posted: june 21, 2011 http://blog.yottaa.com/2011/06/father%E2%80%99s-day-%E2%80%93-site-speed-and-page-load-times-vary-widely-for-websites-popular-with-dads
    • Velocity 2011 Web Performance Conference
      I'm back from my combined business and hiking trip out west, visiting the Velocity 2011 Web Performance Conference in Santa Clara, California. The second part of my trip was devoted to hiking and photography in the great Northwest, which we won't review here. This year's Velocity was bigger and better and yes, sold out again. Here are some highlights. This year's conference was well attended, with more of an emphasis on mobile web performance, although web performance certainly did not get a short shrift. Web-based tools were out in full force, with updated versions of tools making their debut, usually introduced by the authors themselves. I attended as many web performance track talks as I could, including:
      Performance Tools (June 14, 2011)
      This session showed the various performance tools available, introduced by the authors. Steve Souders (Google), Patrick Meenan (Google), AloisReitbauer (dynatrace Software), Sergey Chernyshev (truTV), Craig Conboy (Blaze) were the speakers. Patrick Meenan of webpagetest.org fame gave a great talk, and showed how to do a couple things including creating comparison video film strips to compare before and afters (advanced tab) and filtering out JavaScript (block textarea for .js) to show the effects of deferring or eliminating JavaScript. The difference can be quite dramatic in useful content and total load time. The dynatrace demo was interesting, some tips were if you see 100% CPU utilization, you should do a dynatrace to dig deeper into the code and look for bottlenecks. The dynatrace waterfall graph was especially helpful in isolating problem areas. To really get into the nitty gritty behind the scenes of web page performance, you can do a TCP dump to see how the packets are behaving, and use wireshark to open up your TCP dump.
      iBlazeMobitest
      You can test your site on a mobile device now with Mobitest from iBlaze. Craig Conboy of iBlaze showed the new mobile performance project, which was built on top of the webpagetest.org codebase/instrastructure. The free service loads web pages on different mobile devices from different locations and shows you how they render, including waterfall graphs. Craig gave some details on how the new service works, it first polls a web page test instance, clears the cache, loads the web page, monitors loading of page and resources, using an embedded browser. As part of their development process for mobile optimization they wanted to automate the process and realized they had a good basis for a free service and decided to open it up to the public. Craig talked about how mobile OSes are locked down, so getting page load data is complicated and genearlly unsupported so there are some limitations, iphones, js optimizations/caching are not available in iphones and the tool does not support the full WPT feature set due to mobile limitations (waterfall graphs bars are not broken down, into their component parts for example). The program provides screenshots, loading videos, and waterfall graphs. There are other projects built on same, such as Steve Souders' HTTP Archive which tracks the performance and component size trends of web pages.
      ShowSlow.com
      Sergey Chernyshev showed off the latest showslow.com, a free service that measures and tracks website performance over time. The tool helps you track performance over time = goal is it getting your site faster. Sergey talked about the private label version (an instance) where you can set up your own instance to show your boss the website's story, set up beacons, etc.
      Source: website optimization , http://www.websiteoptimization.com, posted: june 28, 2011 http://www.websiteoptimization.com/speed/tweak/velocity-2011/
    • Velocity 2011 Web Performance Conference
      Nicole Sullivan
      Nicole gave a great talk on CSS3 and HTML5 - Beyond the Hype! Nicole went over the new features of CSS3 including data URIs, border-radius, animations, gradients, offline storage, rgba, and aria roles. Two highlights were the gradient/pattern demo (she showed some backgrounds that looks like custom styled fabric), and CSSLink.net, a free open source tool that shows you what is wrong with your CSS.
      WebPageTest.org
      Patrick Meenan of Google showed off the latest features of WebPageTest.org, which is based on AOL's Pagetest software, which I helped convince Dave Artz to open source when I was working with AOL. Patrick has really taken the service far, adding PageSpeed results, multiple locations, and many useful features (loading progression videos, blocking components to test various optimization techniques).
      Page Speed
      Bryan McQuade and Joshua Marantz both of Google gave a great talk on "Web Site Acceleration with Page Speed Technologies" on Wednesday. They talked about the growing family of Page Speed technologies including mod_pagespeed, and its rapid adoption, and how the best practice rules that Page Speed checks web pages for has evolved as the browsers change (parallel downloads removed for IE8 for example). PageSpeed now helps optimize sites for mobile as well as desktop browsers.Those were the highlights of what I saw at the conference. You really need a few people to see everything, there was a lot to see.
      Book Signing
      One big highlight for me was my very first book signing. In the convention hall where vendors displayed their wares O'Reilly had a booth. I was invited to attend a book signing there with 5 other O'Reilly authors, including Nicole Sullivan, Nicholas Zakasm and Douglas Crockford. Each author was given 25 of their books (mine is Website Optimization Secrets) to sign and give away to lucky attendees. It was fun to watch people come up to me and ask about the book, saying they've read this or that chapter and asking questions. Many of them couldn't believe that the book was free. My stack went away second fastest, with Crockford winning the prize.
      Further Reading
      CSSLint.netCheck your CSS to find and fix problems with this open source tool.WebPageTest.orgFree open source web page performance testing tool based on AOL's Pagetest open source software. Useful for waterfall graphs, before/after videos, and accurate timings. By Patrick Meenan.Velocity 2011 Web Performance ConferenceThe 2011 version of the annual web performance conference started by Steve Souders and Jesse Robbins. See the website for speaker videos and slide shows and the conference schedule. Highly recommended.By website optimization on 28 Jun 2011 PM
      Source: website optimization , http://www.websiteoptimization.com, posted: june 28, 2011 http://www.websiteoptimization.com/speed/tweak/velocity-2011/
    • Facebook increases speed and reliability in Q2
      Facebook continues to demonstrate why it is the number one social network in the world. No, we’re not just talking about its continuous innovation and development of new apps, or even the release of its new Skype-powered video-chat feature, Video Calling. We’re talking about its ability to deliver a high qualityWeb experience to each and every user. We’re talking about its grasp of website performance.
      For yet another consecutive quarter, Facebook ranked as the fastest social network. In fact, its website speed increases with every quarter that passes. In Q2, users visiting the site could expect to wait a mere 0.70 seconds for the homepage to load, down a fraction from Q1.
      What’s more, Facebook delivered 99.98 percent availability in Q2, making it the most reliable network as well. To reach the number one position, Facebook had to overcome YouTube, which had retained the honor for the past two quarters and fell just short this quarter with an equally impressive 99.97 percent availability. LinkedIn, which was ranked as the second most reliable network in Q1, came in third with 99.93 percent availability. Despite dropping in the rankings, both YouTube and LinkedIn improved their availability over last quarter.
      Source Beerman; Gary , AlertSite blog, posted: july 7, 2011 http://blog.alertsite.com/2011/07/facebook-increases-speed-and-reliability-in-q2/
    • Facebook increases speed and reliability in Q2
      LinkedIn and YouTube were also among the fastest social networks in Q2, with 1.34 and 1.58 second response times, respectively.
      To compile the Web Performance Index for Social Networks, SmartBear Software uses AlertSite to monitor the home pages of these sites from 12 U.S. locations, every five minutes between 6 a.m. and 11:59 p.m. EST.
      Source Beerman; Gary , AlertSite blog, posted: july 7, 2011 http://blog.alertsite.com/2011/07/facebook-increases-speed-and-reliability-in-q2/
    • MeasureMatters
      MeasureMatters is the blog of MeasureWorks focusing on the importance of web performance optimization for your online revenue.
      About MeasureWorks
      MeasureWorks provides Web Performance Optimization.
      MeasureWorks measures, analyzes and improves the quality of experience of online retailers, travel agencies, financial institutions and other online services. We observe their visitors closely, find out how they perceive quality, and identify which areas require improvements. We enable our clients to create loyal customers by improving their services proactively from a business perspective.
      Do you want to maximize revenue and drive customer loyalty by identifying problems before customers do? And quantify how web performance impacts your business results? Please view www.measureworks.nl to see what we can do for you!