Performance as competitive advantage

Sometimes it’s hard to quantify the benefits of performance improvements. Many tools try to show you data and many rule-based tests and best practices exist to describe the goals, but there is still no clear connection in business people’s heads between particular site’s performance and savings or profits that performance optimization projects will bring.

As part of ShowSlow project I’m working on making it easier to get the technical answers, but my experience with real world web development projects and Web Performance Meetups movement is showing that business answer is often more important then technology answer here as ultimate requirements of performance are not technical (like in scalability, for example), but psychological.

But I’d like to look at this business problem from a new perspective that is different from traditional tweaking / improvements / benefit approach. I think that speed of interaction is such an essential product quality that by breaking traditional web performance barriers companies can create fundamentally new products and make completely new things possible in the cloud-based web application space.

Of course I’m talking about today’s Google Instant announcement. New user experience they introduced completely breaks traditional search paradigm similar to how AdWords broke advertising paradigm. More over, achieving this technical goal and building the system of this complexity is extremely hard, but this is exactly what makes it easier for them to keep competition at bay.

Google is not the first company to bake web performance into a new product. Facebook before them created new experience with their activity feed pages using various innovative technologies like BigPipe and HipHop, for example. Incredible statistics that brought them to the leading positions on the charts of the web heavily depend on ability to deliver next level of quality for their social product. Both Facebook and Google, invested in many backend and front end technologies that improve web performance and that allows them to keep unprecedented levels of user engagement.

It is great to see that competition between the two giants is moving web performance to the next level!

Again, competitive advantage cab be built by close attention to web application performance as well as new kind of products that would be impossible to develop with common latency levels and speed of interaction. To get to next levels of usability and to provide new experiences, companies must embrace web performance as a critical element in their product development.

What do you think? How can other big companies on the web change their products using high performance and get ahead of competition? Can you do that at your company?

Philip Tellis at NY Web Performance, September 15

New York Web Performance Group LogoSummer is over, we’re all vacation-recharged and it’s time for some serious Web Performance! Come out of your sleepy summer mood and join us for next New York Web Performance session.

September 15 at 5:45PM (time is updated) at Logicworks:

RSVP here: http://www.meetup.com/Web-Performance-NY/calendar/14568561/

Philip Tellis (@bluesmoon) will be speaking at New York Web Performance group about Boomerang!

Philip is a self described geek working for Yahoo! who recently presented Latency: Why You Should Worry and What You Can Do About It (video) at Velocity 2010.

His accomplishments include, but not limited to:

Topic:
Philip will be presenting his new open source project Boomerang.js. Why it was written, how to implement it, and what can be done with the data.

For a little background on Boomerang.js:
Boomerang is a piece of JavaScript that you add to your web pages, where it measures the performance of your website from your end user’s point of view. It has the ability to send this data back to your server for further analysis. With boomerang, you find out exactly how fast your users think your site is.< This is an excellent example of RUM (real user monitoring) that allows sites to effectively and actively measure real page performance for their actual users as they see it. Boomerang is open source and released under the BSD license. Agenda: (time is updated)
5:45 – arrive to the event, meet other members
6:00 – Introductions & Boomerang presentation by Philip Tellis
6:45 – Q&A
7:00 – Open Discussion, Networking

Location:
LogicWorks
155 Avenue of the Americas
Fifth Floor
New York, NY 10013

Directions: http://bit.ly/cK9cQx
Entrance View: http://bit.ly/a4DwrM

See you all there!

Drop-in .htaccess is now on Github. Go fork it!

Fork me on GitHubA few people got interested in drop-in web performance .htaccess file so I decided to move it to a separate project on Github and invite all of you to participate in building a simple solution for web site performance that anyone can use!

github.com/sergeychernyshev/.htaccess

Go, fork it! We have a lot of work to do:

Check out the issue tracker, add your own suggestions / bug reports and vote for those that you think are important.

P.S. If you’d like to include sample .htaccess file with your Subversion project, just run

svn propedit svn:externals .

and add following line to it:

sample.htaccess http://svn.github.com/sergeychernyshev/.htaccess.git

I did this in SVN Assets.

Meet for SPEED – hands on web performance sessions!

Time for some serious speeding up for our web sites!
Come join us at Meet for SPEED event at Logicworks next Tuesday, August 24th at 7:00PM!

RSVP: http://www.meetup.com/Web-Performance-NY/calendar/14209517/

Bring your laptop and we’ll work together on optimizing our sites!

You can benefit even if you can’t edit your site right now – we will be happy to share the knowledge.

We’ll all learn how to see what’s slow and how to make it fast!

Directions:
LogicWorks
155 Avenue of the Americas
Fifth Floor
New York, NY 10013

Hope to see you all there!

dynaTrace AJAX Edition at Time Inc. next week

New York Web Performance Group Logo
A special guest, Andreas Grabner is coming to New York City to present new features of upcoming dynaTrace AJAX Edition 2.0 at NY Web Performance Meetup!

dynaTrace AJAX Edition is a free tool that provides full JavaScript, Network, Rendering, DOM and XHR tracing for Internet Explorer 6, 7 & 8. With the latest version the Ajax Edition automatically analysis Best Practices in the areas of Browser Caching, Network Resources, Server-Side Activity, JavaScript/AJAX and also provides additional Key Performance Metrics that are essential for tracking the end-user perceived performance of a web site such as Time to First Impression, Time to onLoad or Time to Fully Loaded.

Agenda:
6:00 – arrive to the event, meet other members
6:30 – intro to web performance, industry updates by Sergey Chernyshev
7:15 – dynaTrace AJAX Edition presentation by Andreas Grabner
8:30 – Q&A
9:00 – Open Discussion, Networking

Time Inc. offered their Watercooler meeting to host NY Web Performance meetup.  Refreshments will be served.

Host contact: Alla Gringaus, Web Technology Fellow
Questions: 646 391 9671

Location:
Rockefeller Center
Time & Life Bldg
1271 Ave of the Americas (entrance 50th St and 6th Ave)
2nd Floor, room #1
New York, NY 10020

Nearest Transit:
50th St – 8th Ave (C, E)
50th St – Ave of the Americas (F, V, B, D)
49th St – 7th Ave (N, R, W)

Get directions on Google Maps: http://bit.ly/cNBZ28
Street View for the Entrance: http://bit.ly/d4FsVf

Come join us for a great presentation and discussion!

Please RSVP on the group page @ Meetup.com