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Soudersize the Web

If you're a web developer, you probably already know about Steve Souders. He's quite possibly the most influential proponent of high performance websites out there.

Who's the man? Steve Souders

Steve's Stuff

Steve Souders has founded and participated in a number of projects, most of which involve making websites faster, making software faster, or promoting other open source projects and developers. See how many of these you already use, and try those you don't — you might even find a new favorite!

  • Browserscope: Profiles actual web browsers to track performance, support, adherence to web standards, and a host of other features.
  • Compare: Pits any two websites against each other in a performance battle.
  • CS193H: Lectures from the Stanford course Steve taught. Uses High Performance Web Sites as the textbook.
  • Cuzillion: Quickly test a variety of components (images, stylesheets, scripts) in any order, and determine that order's effect on page load time.
  • Episodes: An open source "framework for timing web pages", including Web 2.0 apps. (Starting to see a trend?)
  • Hammerhead: A Firebug add-on which provides more precise website load time measurement and stress testing.
  • Link Walker: Loop through and open a list of URLs extracted from your current webpage.
  • SpriteMe: Automatically generates CSS sprites using your website's images.
  • Velocity: Annual web performance and operations conference.
  • Web Exponents: Speaker series covering web development innovations and best practices.
  • YSlow: A Firebug add-on which tests websites against several high performance best practices. Also incorporates a ton of other dev-friendly tools.

Yahoo!

In 2004, Steve became "Chief Performance Yahoo!" at, well, Yahoo! His goal was to measure and improve performance across every Yahoo-run product. It was then that he discovered that over 80% of the time spent waiting for a webpage to load is spent on the front end, not the back end. This research led Souders to create 14 Rules for Faster-Loading Web Sites, the cornerstone for what would become Yahoo's own Exceptional Performance and YSlow.

Two books on website performance by Steve Souders.

Google

In January of 2008, Souders left Yahoo for Google. They have since released many of their own products and enhancements based on improving website performance. Coincidence? Perhaps. Although Google has had a history of shaving bytes to save their own bandwidth, there hadn't been a major effort to improve website performance everywhere until about a year ago.

  • New Slogan: Let's make the web faster
  • Asynchronous Analytics: Ending the reign of a notoriously picky and occasionally sluggish analytics script.
  • Closure: A JavaScript optimizer/compiler and a modular JavaScript library, as well as a set of templates for dynamically generating HTML.
  • Page Speed: A Firebug add-on which evaluates website performance against a huge variety of factors.
  • SPDY: An experimental transport protocol (like HTTP and FTP) to reduce website latency. Their target is to be twice as fast as HTTP.
  • Tutorials and Articles: An ever-growing list of ways to reduce bandwidth usage and page load time.

"Soudersize"? That's not even a word.

No, you got me. But with the "speed up the web" mantra being thrown around these days, it seems appropriate to credit one of the movement's key players. How do you Soudersize your website? Are there any best practices or performance hacks you use to keep it running smoothly?

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