The annual Velocity Web Performance and Operations Conference is always a great time to discover new technology, and this year was no different. Here are three interesting (and free) tools revealed at last week's conference that we at Strangeloop are already big fans of:
A handy bookmarklet from Stoyan Stefanov, 3PO checks pages for integration with third-party content such as analytics and social sharing buttons. The tool installs by simply dragging it to your bookmarks, and it launches with just one click.
After a quick analysis, 3PO generates a report for each page – complete with letter grade – that gives tips on how to fix common performance issues. This tool is still in its infancy. Stoyan plans to add additional checks to this tool, but it’s already very useful and has the potential to become much more so.
SPOF-O-Matic is a fast and easy way to test your site’s vulnerability to third-party outages. This third-party measurement tool from Patrick Meenan is a Chrome extension that detects likely third-party single points of failure (SPOFs) while browsing and allows site owners to simulate how a page will perform if third-party resources are unavailable.
One of the interesting features of this tool is its ability to show visible alerts any time a user is on a page with potential third-party issues. With this feature, users can quickly discover that the vast majority of web pages are prone to third-party interference.
Another tool from Pat Meenan, WebPagetest now lets users test on two mobile devices, iPhone 4 (iOS 5.1) and Nexus S (Android 2.3), from the Dulles, VA, location, thanks to Akamai's recently open-sourced Mobitest agents. The test agents are also available for people to use for private instances. Given the difficulty of creating tests that generate reliable mobile results, this new feature will surely get plenty of use.
We at Strangeloop salute the many hardworking and creative developers who so generously make these tools available for free. Their fearless experimentation with new features and platforms is leading the change in our industry.
Consider it a conference in a book. The newly released Web Performance Daybook, Volume Two gathers tips, techniques and advice from 32 of the world's leading web performance experts, including Patrick Meenan, Nicole Sullivan, Estelle Weyl, and Steve Souders.
Strangeloop president Joshua Bixby contributed chapter 24, titled "Why You're Probably Reading Your Performance Measurement Results Wrong (But At Least You’re in Good Company)". The chapter offers valuable advice on how to (and how not to) properly interpret the often complicated data generated by web performance testing.
Performance is critical to the success of any website, and the insight of these industry leaders will help site owners squeeze every ounce of performance from their pages.
Web Performance Daybook, Volume Two is available in print ($19.99) and as an ebook ($15.99) from O'Reilly.
As part of the buildup to the Velocity Web Performance and Operations Conference in June, O'Reilly Media has created a "Velocity Profiles" series, which highlights the work and knowledge of web ops and performance experts. We're very proud that our VP Technology, Hooman Beheshti, is kickstarting the series.
O'Reilly Online managing editor Mac Slocum talked to Hooman about how he got into web ops and performance, the biggest problems he's encountered, and the tools he relies on most. Here's a snippet from their interview, in which Mac and Hooman talk about one of the greatest challenges in the performance industry: measurement.
MAC: What's the toughest problem you've had to solve?
HOOMAN: In the world of web performance, measurement remains a huge challenge. There are way too many tools, metrics, and vendors out there, all doing measurement differently, and ironically, all legit! So, the challenge isn't always finding the right thing to measure, it's to understand which subset of metrics to consider based on the situation.
Add to that the fact that there's a lot of confusion about this propagated by everyone who thinks their way is the only right way, coupled with the possibility that we may not actually have the right measurement yet, and this becomes an incredibly complex issue. I can't say that we've solved it, but I do keep finding myself learning new things and educating people about these complexities. So, the fact that people are listening and wanting to learn is a positive step toward solving the problem.
Read the full interview: Velocity Profile: Hooman Beheshti
Check out Hooman's upcoming Velocity session: The 90-Minute Mobile Optimization Life Cycle