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Cover of High Performance Websites

High Performance Websites Review

Steve Souders

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Steve Souders wrote this book after hands-on work with Yahoo Performance team during the early 2000s. It contains a mixed bag of tricks for tweaking HTTP headers, transformations that can be done on assets such as minifying and unifying stylesheets and scripts, gzipping, parallelizing downloads, etc. The tips are written lucidly to make websites fast when a context for application of the tips presents itself.

The author had to choose a tech stack based on the time of writing for constructing a ground to provide practical tips. As a result, some of the tips have become obsolete as they had to undergo fast paced iteration rates of the web development landscape and evolution of standards governing them. The prose could have gained a greater mileage by assuming a stack agnostic perspective and thus dealing with general operational principles than stack specific tweaks.

The author certainly could not have foreseen the development of lambda architecture, JAMStack, or the impending buzzword deluge about to dawn on the unsuspecting web developer. Hence, the evolution of the web technology cannot be held as a metric to evaluate the writing. Moreover, these very ideas got assimilated into the developer milieu as a library called YSlow because of Soulders’ work.

All in all, a breezy read about measures to consider when improving your website’s performance. It has some level headed insights gained after working in the industry that cannot be so easily intuited on a cursory excursion of the web development land. The ideas here act as good benchmarks to strive against and to be surpassed when the context or your reasoning about the problem demands it.