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Web Compatibility and Performance Testing in a Multi-Browser World

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This presentation was given at the 2009 AJAX Experience Conference by Gomez's CTO Imad Mouline and Director, Agent Technology....

This presentation was given at the 2009 AJAX Experience Conference by Gomez's CTO Imad Mouline and Director, Agent Technology.

Today’s browser diversity brings new challenges to Web designers and developers. JavaScript loads and performs differently across browsers such as Internet Explorer 7 and 8, Firefox, Safari and Chrome, and can lead to inconsistent content rendering, poor Web performance, and frustrated end-users. Traditional methods for Web performance testing and monitoring cannot find and diagnose browser-specific, client-side performance problems.

This session was designed to help developers learn how to:
• Improve content rendering across multiple browsers and operating systems
• Understand and improve object load order, browser by browser
• Ensure that third-party content doesn’t degrade client-side performance
• Realistically preview performance under load in each browser.

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  • 1. Web Compatibility and Performance Testing in a Multi-Browser World
    Imad Mouline, CTO, Gomez
    Buddy Brewer, Director of Engineering, Agent Technology, Gomez (@bbrewer)
  • 2. Agenda
    The problem and the upside
    Functional validation across browsers
    Performance optimization across browsers
    Raw vs. perceived performance
    Key takeaways and Q&A
  • 3. The Problem
    Building applications is more complex
    Developers now support an interrelated mess of technologies that differ from browser to browser
    Networking stack
    JS engine
    Rendering technologies (CSS, Canvas, SVG)
  • 4. The Upside
    Browsers provide better performance, richer functionality
    The rate of change is accelerating, with competition between vendors leading to massive gains in performance
  • 5. How?
    We need to understand how our applications perform in real browsers on the real network
    We need to know both what users encounter and what they perceive
  • 6. Asymmetric Advantages of Modern Browsers
    Dramatically faster JS engines
    Greater connection parallelism
    Client side storage
    Native CSS selectors
    2D compositing (Canvas, SVG)
  • 7. Testing Presentation
    Bespin determines browser Canvas support at runtime
    Which browsers provide adequate support?
  • 8. Yes: Firefox 3.5, Safari 4
  • 9. No: Firefox 2, Safari 3, Any IE
  • 10. Maybe: Chrome
  • 11. Functional Validation
    As new versions ship, do the expected browsers still work?
    As new browsers are released, do our applications still work?
  • 12. Revisiting Performance Optimization
    Are our old techniques still relevant as the browsers we target evolve?
    Example: Domain sharding
    Legacy browsers allow 2 connections per hostname
    Domain sharding increases parallelism to boost static object performance via pointing multiple hostnames to the same host
  • 13. Optimizing IE6 Behavior
    For older browsers, this could represent an easy 50% load time savings
  • 14. Optimizing IE6 Behavior
    What’s the catch?
  • 15. De-optimizing IE8 Behavior
    In IE8 (and Firefox and Safari and Chrome) using domain sharding leads to a glut of simultaneous connection creation and a dramatic performance hit
  • 16. Lessons
    Optimization techniques must evolve along with the browsers
    So, performance testing should take into account browser differences
    And to do that, we need to know what browsers are visiting our site
  • 17. Performance Differences by Browser
    • Difference between quickest and slowest browser load time equals 13.226 seconds
    • 18. Large sample of US end-users, on broadband connections, visiting a particular page on a web site over a 48 hour period
  • Load Time vs. Perceived Render Time
    • Load time for MS Internet Explorer higher than Firefox
    • 19. Perceived render time for MS Internet Explorer lower than Firefox
    • 20. Perceived render time is the amount of time needed for the page layout to stabilize and for all content visible to the end-user above the fold to be completely rendered
  • Optimizing Perceived Render Time & User Experience
    Most prominent image on site loads almost last
    Changing load order will not impact raw page performance, but will improve perceived render time and user experience
  • 21. What is the download order?
  • 22. Factors that impact object download order
    Browser type / version
    Host latency, concurrency differences
  • 23. San Jose
  • 24. Boston
  • 25. Browser Cache Impact
    Cache Level
    Page Load Time
  • 26. Takeaways – Summary
    Know your end-users
    Identify where and how they use your application, how they connect to the network, when they do it, where they do it from, what browser they use, etc…
    Deliver on their expectations
    Know your entire application
    Build performance into your process
    Improve raw, workflow, and perceived performance
    Continuously evaluate your performance targets
    Measure what matters
    Measure from your end-users’ perspective
    Align your end-users’ web experience with your requirements and ultimate business goals
  • 27. Please complete an evaluation.
  • 28. Questions?