Faster Websites

While working at Odopod for the past month or so one thing has become clear, performance! We are striving to make educated decisions about development and think critically about the future of our sites once they are released into the wild. I quickly wanted to share some findings that each have days worth of research behind them. Without further ado, here is my work in progress list of things one should consider when developing and planning for a new site.

• GZIP Compression on HTML,CSS and JavaScript files in .htaccess or IIS server config

• Optimize images using OptiPNG

• Minify and concatenate JavaScript into as little amount of files as possible

• Minify CSS and HTML as much as possible – usually stripping unnecessary whitespace and comments

• Include JavaScript at the bottom of the page just inside the closing body tag

• Load JavaScript asynchronously / or dynamically

• Keep users happy with minimal script execution times < 50ms

• Lazy load images

• Allow your scripts to breath so that they don’t make the UI unresponsive – i.e. processor intensive calculations/looping etc.

• Start with mobile, make content the priority to the user, add functionality and eye candy progressively with more capabilities.

• Use feature detection libraries such as Modernizr instead of browser detection/user agent sniffing

• Limit HTTP requests

• Add an Expires Header on all components – scripts,stylesheets and flash


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