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How many "rules" are really necessary?
05-05-2009, 04:34 AM
Post: #1
How many "rules" are really necessary?
I usually look through the WebPagetest logs daily to get a feel for how the sites people are testing look from an optimization perspective and I'd say well over 90% aren't even doing the basics (I plan on pulling stats together to have actual figures but it's a good ballpark). Part of me wonders if they are getting overwhelmed aand if some of the things that are checked even really matter (in the grand scale of things). I think there's a really big fall-off on impact once you get past the first few rules so I figured I'd spark a little discussion on the topic .


Sort of a mix between YSlow and Pagetest rules, here are the ones that I think have the largest impact and are universal (aka "rules"):

Minimize HTTP requests: Be-it by combining css/js, using image sprites or otherwise, this is absolutley critical to improving performance.

Enable Persistent Connections: Saving a round trip for every request can add up pretty fast and it's scary how often it isn't enabled.

Properly Compress your content: Gzip your text and make sure your images are properly compressed (smush.it or otherwise).

Make your static content cacheable: Only helps for repeat visitors but this one is also very scary how often it isn't done.

I'm kind of on the fence about CDN's. They can hide a lot of sins (particularly around the number of requests) and only apply to sites that are large enough to justify it but that don't have their own geo-distributed infrastructure.


Everything else is kind of interesting to look at if you are trying to squeeze every last bit of performance out of your site but the payoff drops significantly and there are usually going to be a lot of caveats that make them not universally applicable. Once you reach that level of optimization I think you're going to be hand-analyzing the waterfalls and the pages anyway to find your specific bottlenecks (like javascript selectors, etc).

Thoughts?

-Pat
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How many "rules" are really necessary? - pmeenan - 05-05-2009 04:34 AM

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