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This Week in Website Performance

website-performance-weekly-monitorusThis Week in Website Performance is a weekly feature of the Monitor.Us blog. It summarizes recent articles about website performance. Why? Because your friends at Monitor.Us care.

The Chronology of a Click, Part I

Author: Warren Gaebel, B.A., B.C.S.This article details what happens behind the scenes from the time the user clicks on a link to the time the new web page is fully downloaded and ready for use. The material is presented chronologically, with interspersed comments that show how website performance is affected. This post is the introduction, which provides an overview of the entire process. The real meat is in the follow-on parts. This article is a must-read for every developer (and I’m not just saying that because I wrote it).

How bad outdated JavaScript libraries are for Page Load Time

Author: Andreas Grabner.This article can be summed up in one sentence: Update your third-party JavaScript libraries (e.g., jQuery).


Whatever Happened to Build Time?

Author: Warren Gaebel, B.A., B.C.S..This article tells us that builds happen as part of the deployment process, and therefore do not execute while the user is waiting for a page to download. It asks the question: Why are we doing so many things at download time when they can be done at build time. Several of the examples listed have been identified as performance-critical by various authors. The article is incorrectly attributed to the wrong author because of a technical glitch. Perhaps that error will be corrected before you read this.

Twitter crashes itself with commas

Author: Hallvord R. M. Steen, Opera Core Quality Assurance.Do you like horror stories? Once upon a time a few days ago, Twitter no longer worked in Opera. The tweet box was gone and the retweet box didn’t work properly. Analysis showed that the EcmaScript compiler died – the code never even started to execute!!! The e-mails started flooding in. Four hours go by. And all because people like using commas instead of semi-colons. So they changed a comma to a semi-colon and lived happily ever after.

Best Ways To Optimize a Website While Using a CDN

Author: Zhirayr.This article encourages us to use optimization techniques when using a content delivery network (CDN). Relying on the CDN alone doesn’t go far enough. Eight tips are included.

Improving ASP.NET Performance Part 9: State Management

Author: Ard-Jan Barnas.This article is part 9 in the series. It identifies three approaches to maintaining state: cookies, query strings, and hidden fields. Not discussed is HTML5’s new localStorage, which is just starting to catch on.

Node.js: JavaScript on the Server

Author: Ryan Dahl, creator of the node.js open-source project.High-performance servers need event loops rather than threads. Single-threaded Javascript is designed specifically for evented I/O. The glove seems to fit quite nicely. This presentation explains node.js’s design and how to get started with it on your server.

Running Large Graph Algorithms: Evaluation of Current State-Of-the-Art and Lessons Learned

Author: Dr. Andy Yoo.This presentation is specific to the performance of graphing algorithms, so it’s not for everyone. Beginners and the faint of heart are advised to skip it, but the experts out there may appreciate it. Originally presented in 2010, it was just recently posted to Best Tech Videos.Graphing can have very complex structures, and sizes are now unprecedented. Many graph algorithms are computationally expensive, which makes scaling all the more important. This talk discusses performance and scalability studies of graph algorithms in various computing environments. Tests were conducted at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Larrabee lives! 50-core Intel Xeon Phi unveiled, lures supercomputers away from Nvidia Tesla

Author: Sebastian Anthony.This article praises the soon-to-be-released Intel Xeon Phi processor, which has more than 50 onboard coprocessors. The reasons for the praise are well explained. So too are the dissenting opinions in the comments.

How the density and distribution of data in the leading key column of an index affects the degree of parallelism chosen for index operations targeting that index?

Author: Nacho Alonso Portillo.  Publisher: Microsoft.Does SQL Server rebuild indexes in parallel or one-at-a-time? The answer: Sometimes in parallel, sometimes in series. If rebuilt in series, we have a performance problem. This article shows why it seems random and tells us how to fix it.


SQL Server and Duplicate Indexes

Author: Martin Thwaites.  Publisher: The Code Project.This article reminds us that unused database indexes slow us down because they still have to be updated every time the underlying data is changed or new rows are added. It offers a way to find unused indexes in SQL Server.

The Windows Disk timeout value: Less is better

Author: Bruce Langworthy.  Publisher: Microsoft.This article advises us that the default for disk timeout (HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\Disk\) is inappropriately high on most machines. It tells us what values are too high and too low, and more importantly, it tells us why. This article is written from a server perspective.

thread_concurrency doesn’t do what you expect

Author: Miguel Angel Nieto.  Publisher: MySQL Performance Blog.This article reminds us that MySQL’s thread_concurrency configuration variable is deprecated and now has no effect. Links are provided for information about innodb_thread_concurrency.

Velocity Conference Speaker Sees Major Web Performance Gain

Author: Ed Robinson.  Publisher: Latin to English Translation.This self-promoting article tells us about Aptimize, which automatically applies compression, caching, and resource merging to our website without us having to change our code. Ed Robinson will be at Velocity.

How expensive is USER_STATISTICS?

Author: Baron Schwartz.  Publisher: MySQL Performance Blog.Since USER_STATISTICS provides such valuable information, Percona wanted to see what impact it has on performance. This article publishes those test results, which are a little surprising. Performance doesn’t appear to be affected at all. The test load was 53 transactions per second.

Thesis: Concurrent Programming For Scalable Web Architectures

Publisher: High Scalability.

This article introduces Benjamin Erb’s thesis, Concurrent Programming for Scalable Web Architectures, including the abstract, table of contents, a short list of topics, and a link to the thesis, which is an in-depth 157 pages about concurrency and scalability.

Load Test the Production System

Author: Chris Merrill.  Publisher: Web Performance.

This article argues that testing should take place in the production system, not just the test system.

RTM’d today: Understanding IPv6, Third Edition

Author: KimSpilker.  Publisher: Microsoft.

This article details some of the benefits (including performance benefits) of IPv6 as compared to IPv4. The world-wide switch was flipped June 6th. IPv6 is now live.

MySQL Innovation Day Highlights

Author: Keith Larson.  Publisher: Planet MySQL.

This is a quick list (point form, no details) of features in the GPL Community Version and plans for MySQL Cluster v7.3.

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About Warren Gaebel

Warren wrote his first computer program in 1970 (yes, it was Fortran).  He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Waterloo and his Bachelor of Computer Science degree at the University of Windsor.  After a few years at IBM, he worked on a Master of Mathematics (Computer Science) degree at the University of Waterloo.  He decided to stay home to take care of his newborn son rather than complete that degree.  That decision cost him his career, but he would gladly make the same decision again. Warren is now retired, but he finds it hard to do nothing, so he writes web performance articles for the Monitor.Us blog.  Life is good!