3 Essential Tools to Speed Up Your Web Page

By | 2012-03-21

From the user’s point of view, what matters most is how long a page takes to show up, as if complete, on a screen.  Longer than as second or two and the user will likely have a bad impression of you. Notice  that I said for the page to show up, as if complete, on the screen. There are JavaScript techniques to download and replace content after everything is fleshed out on the screen. That is another story.  Following are tools to get you on the path to speedy page downloads.

1.  Google’s Page Speed Onlinehttps://developers.google.com/pagespeed/) is your quickest way to evaluate the time it takes to complete a page  is to go to and enter in the URL of the page in question. Try it on your main domain name for a first impression. This will give a score for your page, based on “best practices”, which are known and established ways of speeding up load time.

2. Firebug (http://getfirebug.com/) is an “addon” for the Firefox web browser.  As a serious web developer, you must have Firefox — with Firebug — on your machine.  It will help you optimize your pages.  If there’s slowness from your back-end services, Firebug gives you a timeline of each downloaded element of the page, so you can start making intelligent guesses (or experiments) to determine what back-end part of your system might be slowing down the page.

3. YSlow (http://developer.yahoo.com/yslow/) is an addon for Firefox as well, and there is a YSlow web application for Google’s Chrome browser. It also grades your page according to best practice requirements.

Sidebar:

Best-practices have been succinctly encapsulated in  “HTML5 BoilerPlate”.  Even if you’re not designing for HTML5, it’s the best code base with which to start.  Paul Irish lives on the A-List of web development best practices and he gives a YouTube presentation of  his work at http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=qyM37XKkmKQ.

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