Welcome!

Release Management Authors: Liz McMillan, Jnan Dash, Lori MacVittie, Gilad Parann-Nissany, Carmen Gonzalez

Related Topics: Java IoT, Microservices Expo, IoT User Interface, 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
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kausik Sridharabalan, founder and CTO of Pulzze Systems, Inc., will focus on key challenges in building an Internet of Things solution infrastructure. He will shed light on efficient ways of defining interactions within IoT solutions, leading to cost and time reduction. He will also introduce ways to handle data and how one can develop IoT solutions that are lean, flexible and configurable, thus making IoT infrastructure agile and scalable.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Sheng Liang to Keynote at SYS-CON's 19th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1-3, 2016 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California.
Just over a week ago I received a long and loud sustained applause for a presentation I delivered at this year’s Cloud Expo in Santa Clara. I was extremely pleased with the turnout and had some very good conversations with many of the attendees. Over the next few days I had many more meaningful conversations and was not only happy with the results but also learned a few new things. Here is everything I learned in those three days distilled into three short points.
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 & ...
So, you bought into the current machine learning craze and went on to collect millions/billions of records from this promising new data source. Now, what do you do with them? Too often, the abundance of data quickly turns into an abundance of problems. How do you extract that "magic essence" from your data without falling into the common pitfalls? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Natalia Ponomareva, Software Engineer at Google, provided tips on how to be successful in large scale machine learning...
An IoT product’s log files speak volumes about what’s happening with your products in the field, pinpointing current and potential issues, and enabling you to predict failures and save millions of dollars in inventory. But until recently, no one knew how to listen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Dan Gettens, Chief Research Officer at OnProcess, will discuss recent research by Massachusetts Institute of Technology and OnProcess Technology, where MIT created a new, breakthrough analytics model f...
The Transparent Cloud-computing Consortium (abbreviation: T-Cloud Consortium) will conduct research activities into changes in the computing model as a result of collaboration between "device" and "cloud" and the creation of new value and markets through organic data processing High speed and high quality networks, and dramatic improvements in computer processing capabilities, have greatly changed the nature of applications and made the storing and processing of data on the network commonplace.
The Internet of Things can drive efficiency for airlines and airports. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Sudip Majumder, senior director of development at Oracle, will discuss the technical details of the connected airline baggage and related social media solutions. These IoT applications will enhance travelers' journey experience and drive efficiency for the airlines and the airports. The session will include a working demo and a technical d...
In this strange new world where more and more power is drawn from business technology, companies are effectively straddling two paths on the road to innovation and transformation into digital enterprises. The first path is the heritage trail – with “legacy” technology forming the background. Here, extant technologies are transformed by core IT teams to provide more API-driven approaches. Legacy systems can restrict companies that are transitioning into digital enterprises. To truly become a lea...
Almost two-thirds of companies either have or soon will have IoT as the backbone of their business in 2016. However, IoT is far more complex than most firms expected. How can you not get trapped in the pitfalls? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Tony Shan, a renowned visionary and thought leader, will introduce a holistic method of IoTification, which is the process of IoTifying the existing technology and business models to adopt and leverage IoT. He will drill down to the components in this fra...
Digital transformation is too big and important for our future success to not understand the rules that apply to it. The first three rules for winning in this age of hyper-digital transformation are: Advantages in speed, analytics and operational tempos must be captured by implementing an optimized information logistics system (OILS) Real-time operational tempos (IT, people and business processes) must be achieved Businesses that can "analyze data and act and with speed" will dominate those t...
If you had a chance to enter on the ground level of the largest e-commerce market in the world – would you? China is the world’s most populated country with the second largest economy and the world’s fastest growing market. It is estimated that by 2018 the Chinese market will be reaching over $30 billion in gaming revenue alone. Admittedly for a foreign company, doing business in China can be challenging. Often changing laws, administrative regulations and the often inscrutable Chinese Interne...
I'm a lonely sensor. I spend all day telling the world how I'm feeling, but none of the other sensors seem to care. I want to be connected. I want to build relationships with other sensors to be more useful for my human. I want my human to understand that when my friends next door are too hot for a while, I'll soon be flaming. And when all my friends go outside without me, I may be left behind. Don't just log my data; use the relationship graph. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ryan Boyd, Engi...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 19th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo Silicon Valley Call for Papers is now open.
Adobe is changing the world though digital experiences. Adobe helps customers develop and deliver high-impact experiences that differentiate brands, build loyalty, and drive revenue across every screen, including smartphones, computers, tablets and TVs. Adobe content solutions are used daily by millions of companies worldwide-from publishers and broadcasters, to enterprises, marketing agencies and household-name brands. Building on its established design leadership, Adobe enables customers not o...
If you’re responsible for an application that depends on the data or functionality of various IoT endpoints – either sensors or devices – your brand reputation depends on the security, reliability, and compliance of its many integrated parts. If your application fails to deliver the expected business results, your customers and partners won't care if that failure stems from the code you developed or from a component that you integrated. What can you do to ensure that the endpoints work as expect...
SYS-CON Events announced today that ReadyTalk, a leading provider of online conferencing and webinar services, has been named Vendor Presentation Sponsor at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. ReadyTalk delivers audio and web conferencing services that inspire collaboration and enable the Future of Work for today’s increasingly digital and mobile workforce. By combining intuitive, innovative tec...
WebRTC adoption has generated a wave of creative uses of communications and collaboration through websites, sales apps, customer care and business applications. As WebRTC has become more mainstream it has evolved to use cases beyond the original peer-to-peer case, which has led to a repeating requirement for interoperability with existing infrastructures. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Graham Holt, Executive Vice President of Daitan Group, will cover implementation examples that have enabled ea...
There is growing need for data-driven applications and the need for digital platforms to build these apps. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Muddu Sudhakar, VP and GM of Security & IoT at Splunk, will cover different PaaS solutions and Big Data platforms that are available to build applications. In addition, AI and machine learning are creating new requirements that developers need in the building of next-gen apps. The next-generation digital platforms have some of the past platform needs a...
Fifty billion connected devices and still no winning protocols standards. HTTP, WebSockets, MQTT, and CoAP seem to be leading in the IoT protocol race at the moment but many more protocols are getting introduced on a regular basis. Each protocol has its pros and cons depending on the nature of the communications. Does there really need to be only one protocol to rule them all? Of course not. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, walk you through how Oct...