Welcome!

Release Management Authors: David H Deans, Liz McMillan, Jnan Dash, Lori MacVittie, Gilad Parann-Nissany

Related Topics: Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Machine Learning , Agile Computing, Release Management , Apache

Java IoT: Article

Top Performance Mistakes: Supersized Content

Top performance mistakes when moving from test to production

Because of the efforts of people like Steve Souders, John Resig, Sergey Chernyshev, Paul Irish, ... a lot has changed when it comes to optimizing web site performance. Browser and Application Performance Vendors built tools to make Web Performance Optimization easier than ever before. Web Frameworks are optimized to generate better web pages.

However, looking at the following chart reminds us that best practices, conferences and tools alone didn't succeed and building optimized web sites is getting even harder. As can be seen, the main problem with modern web sites is the growing number of resources, the size of the content, and the declining user experience that results from the first two items:

Page Size and Number of Objects on an Average Page doubled over a period of 12 months

If your testing efforts are not focusing on these metrics, read this graph as: "Let's test and optimize our page size!"

You don't want to spend endless test cycles optimizing your applications' "business logic" performance when the major impact of page load times come from too much multi-media content, JavaScript files or content from third-party providers. To prevent this from surprising you, all it takes is testing your application from the perspective of your real end user. This enables you to prevent "super-sized" web pages from hitting the public web. In this blog I show some examples of why pages end up being too big and how to identify these problems before moving them to production.

Example #1: Too many resources
Have you ever analyzed the pages of your application using tools such as dynaTrace AJAX Edition, YSlow, Google Page Speed or SpeedOfTheWeb? The following example is taken from a blog I did last year analyzing the page performance of retail web sites. It shows how many resources are loaded for a single page and how loading that many resources from a large number of different domains comes with the additional cost of Connect and DNS time per domain.

Many websites do not follow Web Performance Optimization Best Practices leading to very long page load times

When we compare this to another online retail store, it becomes clear that there is a lot that can be achieved by optimizing resources loaded on the initial page visit.

Testing and optimizing web sites on resources can lead to 5 times faster page load time

It's clear that not every web site can be optimized like this - but there is a lot of room for improvement and there are lots of easy wins we can achieve. Whether it's merging JavaScript files or using CSS Sprites to reduce the number of images, any or all of these are steps that make sure your web pages won't get supersized.

The statistics shown at the beginning of this post clearly highlight that the average web site is growing in size and complexity. To avoid this, it takes a testing team that focuses on Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) such as # of Images, # of CSS Files, # of external domains, # of used JavaScript Frameworks ... The Best Practices are out there; so are the tools. Now it only takes effort to implement them.

The good news is that testing and verifying these KPIs can be automated and integrated in your continuous performance test process. This avoids manually looking over the results of every single tested page of your application. Here's what it takes to implement it:

  1. Testing Tools that use real browsers in order to test downloads of dynamic content, JavaScript Times, ...
  2. Browser Diagnostic tools that analyze tested pages based on these performance metrics
  3. A Smart Performance Repository that automatically alerts on performance regressions

The following screenshot shows what continuous testing on these KPIs looks like and how to identify regressions immediately by monitoring these metrics for every page and for every test:

Analyzing Key Performance Indicators for every tested page identify regressions early on

Example #2: Heavy Third-Party Content
As already highlighted in the first example, it's not only your own content that can blow up your pages. You probably rely on third-party content such as Ads, Social Platform Widges or Map Services. If that's the case you want to make sure that:

  • Your pages only load the third-party content that is really needed, e.g, global includes in web projects may load third-party content on pages where not necessary
  • You include this third-party party content in an optimized way, e.g., why provide an interactive world map when all you want to do is show a static image of your address?

Klaus Enzenhofer wrote a great blog about Third Party Content Management applied - where he highlights the impact of third-party content and also how to test it. The key message is that you need to understand what type of third-party content you really need, how much impact it has on your page load times, and how to optimize it. Klaus did some testing with Standard Google Maps vs. Static Maps and how this one change can optimize your page load time while still relying on third-party content. The following table shows the difference when using these two ways of including the Maps Services on your page:

KPI

Standard Google Maps

Static Google Maps

Difference in %

First Impression Time

493 ms

324 ms

-34%

Onload Time

473 ms

368ms

-22%

Total Load Time

1801 ms

700 ms

-61%

JavaScript Time

563 ms

0 ms

-100%

Number of Domains

6

1

-83%

Number of Resources

43

2

-95%

Total Pagesize

636 Kb

77 Kb

-88%

For measuring the overhead of third-party content simply take the same tools as explained in the previous example. The following shows the timeline view of dynaTrace where the overhead of Facebook and Google+ are easy to spot:

Analyze your page load times to spot slow third-party content

Call-to-Action
Let's make sure that all the great work that has been done to optimize web site performance is not just left to the browser vendors - they won't be able to speed up your web sites by building a new JavaScript engine or by allowing the browser to download more content on more parallel network connections. Keep the following list in mind:

  • Make sure that these Best Practices are enforced early in the development cycle as well as throughout your performance testing
  • Monitor the critical Key Performance Indicators to ensure that your web sites don't end up super-sized
  • Test using real browsers and don't exclusively rely on protocol-based performance testing

More Stories By Andreas Grabner

Andreas Grabner has been helping companies improve their application performance for 15+ years. He is a regular contributor within Web Performance and DevOps communities and a prolific speaker at user groups and conferences around the world. Reach him at @grabnerandi

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
The explosion of new web/cloud/IoT-based applications and the data they generate are transforming our world right before our eyes. In this rush to adopt these new technologies, organizations are often ignoring fundamental questions concerning who owns the data and failing to ask for permission to conduct invasive surveillance of their customers. Organizations that are not transparent about how their systems gather data telemetry without offering shared data ownership risk product rejection, regu...
Multiple data types are pouring into IoT deployments. Data is coming in small packages as well as enormous files and data streams of many sizes. Widespread use of mobile devices adds to the total. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will look at the tools and environments that are being put to use in IoT deployments, as well as the team skills a modern enterprise IT shop needs to keep things running, get a handle on all this data, and deli...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Grape Up will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct. 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Grape Up is a software company specializing in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market across the U.S. and Europe, Grape Up works with a variety of customers from emergi...
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Super Micro Computer, Inc., a global leader in compute, storage and networking technologies, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Supermicro (NASDAQ: SMCI), the leading innovator in high-performance, high-efficiency server technology, is a premier provider of advanced server Building Block Solutions® for Data Center, Cloud Computing, Enterprise IT, Hadoop/...
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
Amazon has gradually rolled out parts of its IoT offerings in the last year, but these are just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to optimizing their back-end AWS offerings, Amazon is laying the ground work to be a major force in IoT – especially in the connected home and office. Amazon is extending its reach by building on its dominant Cloud IoT platform, its Dash Button strategy, recently announced Replenishment Services, the Echo/Alexa voice recognition control platform, the 6-7 strategic...
Bert Loomis was a visionary. This general session will highlight how Bert Loomis and people like him inspire us to build great things with small inventions. In their general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Architect at IBM Bluemix, and Michael O'Neill, Strategic Business Development at Nvidia, discussed the accelerating pace of AI development and how IBM Cloud and NVIDIA are partnering to bring AI capabilities to "every day," on-demand. They also reviewed two "free infrastructure" pr...
Judith Hurwitz is president and CEO of Hurwitz & Associates, a Needham, Mass., research and consulting firm focused on emerging technology, including big data, cognitive computing and governance. She is co-author of the book Cognitive Computing and Big Data Analytics, published in 2015. Her Cloud Expo session, "What Is the Business Imperative for Cognitive Computing?" is scheduled for Wednesday, June 8, at 8:40 a.m. In it, she puts cognitive computing into perspective with its value to the busin...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Hitachi, the leading provider the Internet of Things and Digital Transformation, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Hitachi Data Systems, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi, Ltd., offers an integrated portfolio of services and solutions that enable digital transformation through enhanced data management, governance, mobility and analytics. We help globa...
Cognitive Computing is becoming the foundation for a new generation of solutions that have the potential to transform business. Unlike traditional approaches to building solutions, a cognitive computing approach allows the data to help determine the way applications are designed. This contrasts with conventional software development that begins with defining logic based on the current way a business operates. In her session at 18th Cloud Expo, Judith S. Hurwitz, President and CEO of Hurwitz & ...
Financial Technology has become a topic of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities. Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming 20th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York, June 6-8, 2017, will find fresh new content in a new track called FinTech.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute, owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Interoute is the owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform which encompasses 12 data centers, 14 virtual data centers and 31 colocation centers, with connections to 195 add...
The age of Digital Disruption is evolving into the next era – Digital Cohesion, an age in which applications securely self-assemble and deliver predictive services that continuously adapt to user behavior. Information from devices, sensors and applications around us will drive services seamlessly across mobile and fixed devices/infrastructure. This evolution is happening now in software defined services and secure networking. Four key drivers – Performance, Economics, Interoperability and Trust ...
Grape Up is a software company, specialized in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market across the USA and Europe, we work with a variety of customers from emerging startups to Fortune 1000 companies.
Cybersecurity is a critical component of software development in many industries including medical devices. However, code is not always written to be robust or secure from the unknown or the unexpected. This gap can make medical devices susceptible to cybersecurity attacks ranging from compromised personal health information to life-sustaining treatment. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Clark Fortney, Software Engineer at Battelle, will discuss how programming oversight using key methods can incre...
The Internet of Things is clearly many things: data collection and analytics, wearables, Smart Grids and Smart Cities, the Industrial Internet, and more. Cool platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel's Galileo and Edison, and a diverse world of sensors are making the IoT a great toy box for developers in all these areas. In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists discussed what things are the most important, which will have the most profound e...
@ThingsExpo has been named the Most Influential ‘Smart Cities - IIoT' Account and @BigDataExpo has been named fourteenth by Right Relevance (RR), which provides curated information and intelligence on approximately 50,000 topics. In addition, Right Relevance provides an Insights offering that combines the above Topics and Influencers information with real time conversations to provide actionable intelligence with visualizations to enable decision making. The Insights service is applicable to eve...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM Company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. SoftLayer, an IBM Company, provides cloud infrastructure as a service from a growing number of data centers and network points of presence around the world. SoftLayer’s customers range from Web startups to global enterprises.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Super Micro Computer, Inc., a global leader in compute, storage and networking technologies, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Supermicro (NASDAQ: SMCI), the leading innovator in high-performance, high-efficiency server technology, is a premier provider of advanced server Building Block Solutions® for Data Center, Cloud Computing, Enterprise IT, Hadoop/...