Welcome!

Java Authors: Carmen Gonzalez, Pat Romanski, Paige Leidig, Liz McMillan, Trevor Parsons

Related Topics: Java, SOA & WOA, AJAX & REA, Web 2.0, Open Web, Apache

Java: 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 more than a decade of experience as an architect and developer in the Java and .NET space. In his current role, Andi works as a Technology Strategist for Compuware and leads the Compuware APM Center of Excellence team. In his role he influences the Compuware APM product strategy and works closely with customers in implementing performance management solutions across the entire application lifecycle. He is a frequent speaker at technology conferences on performance and architecture-related topics, and regularly authors articles offering business and technology advice for Compuware’s About:Performance blog.

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
SYS-CON Events announced today that Harbinger Systems will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Harbinger Systems is a global company providing software technology services. Since 1990, Harbinger has developed a strong customer base worldwide. Its customers include software product companies ranging from hi-tech start-ups in Silicon Valley to leading product companies in the US and large in-house IT organizations.
The only place to be June 9-11 is Cloud Expo & @ThingsExpo 2015 East at the Javits Center in New York City. Join us there as delegates from all over the world come to listen to and engage with speakers & sponsors from the leading Cloud Computing, IoT & Big Data companies. Cloud Expo & @ThingsExpo are the leading events covering the booming market of Cloud Computing, IoT & Big Data for the enterprise. Speakers from all over the world will be hand-picked for their ability to explore the economic strategies that utility/cloud computing provides. Whether public, private, or in a hybrid form, clo...
SYS-CON Events announces a new pavilion on the Cloud Expo floor where WebRTC converges with the Internet of Things. Pavilion will showcase WebRTC and the Internet of Things. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices--computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors – connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in software-defined storage (SDS) purpose-built for Windows Servers and Hyper-V, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Gridstore™ is the leader in software-defined storage purpose built for virtualization that is designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Using its patented Server-Side Virtual Controller™ Technology (SVCT) to eliminate the I/O blender effect and accelerate applications Gridsto...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Red Hat, the world's leading provider of open source solutions, will exhibit at Internet of @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Red Hat is the world's leading provider of open source software solutions, using a community-powered approach to reliable and high-performing cloud, Linux, middleware, storage and virtualization technologies. Red Hat also offers award-winning support, training, and consulting services. As the connective hub in a global network of enterprises, partners, a...
As the Internet of Things unfolds, mobile and wearable devices are blurring the line between physical and digital, integrating ever more closely with our interests, our routines, our daily lives. Contextual computing and smart, sensor-equipped spaces bring the potential to walk through a world that recognizes us and responds accordingly. We become continuous transmitters and receivers of data. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Andrew Bolwell, Director of Innovation for HP’s Printing and Personal Systems Group, will discuss how key attributes of mobile technology – touch input, senso...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is making everything it touches smarter – smart devices, smart cars and smart cities. And lucky us, we’re just beginning to reap the benefits as we work toward a networked society. However, this technology-driven innovation is impacting more than just individuals. The IoT has an environmental impact as well, which brings us to the theme of this month’s #IoTuesday Twitter chat. The ability to remove inefficiencies through connected objects is driving change throughout every sector, including waste management. BigBelly Solar, located just outside of Boston, is trans...
Connected devices and the Internet of Things are getting significant momentum in 2014. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, will examine three key elements that together will drive mass adoption of the IoT before the end of 2015. The first element is the recent advent of robust open source protocols (like AllJoyn and WebRTC) that facilitate M2M communication. The second is broad availability of flexible, cost-effective storage designed to handle the massive surge in back-end data in a world where timely analytics...
Internet of @ThingsExpo Silicon Valley announced on Thursday its first 12 all-star speakers and sessions for its upcoming event, which will take place November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in California. @ThingsExpo, the first and largest IoT event in the world, debuted at the Javits Center in New York City in June 10-12, 2014 with over 6,000 delegates attending the conference. Among the first 12 announced world class speakers, IBM will present two highly popular IoT sessions, which will take place November 4-6, 2014 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, Calif...
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to evolve the way the world does business; however, understanding how to apply it to your company can be a mystery. Most people struggle with understanding the potential business uses or tend to get caught up in the technology, resulting in solutions that fail to meet even minimum business goals. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO / President / Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., will show what is needed to leverage the IoT to transform your business. He will discuss opportunities and challenges ahead for the IoT from a market and tec...
SYS-CON Events announced today that TeleStax, the main sponsor of Mobicents, will exhibit at Internet of @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TeleStax provides Open Source Communications software and services that facilitate the shift from legacy SS7 based IN networks to IP based LTE and IMS networks hosted on private (on-premise), hybrid or public clouds. TeleStax products include Restcomm, JSLEE, SMSC Gateway, USSD Gateway, SS7 Resource Adaptors, SIP Servlets, Rich Multimedia Services, Presence Services/RCS, Diame...
From a software development perspective IoT is about programming "things," about connecting them with each other or integrating them with existing applications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Yakov Fain, co-founder of Farata Systems and SuranceBay, will show you how small IoT-enabled devices from multiple manufacturers can be integrated into the workflow of an enterprise application. This is a practical demo of building a framework and components in HTML/Java/Mobile technologies to serve as a platform that can integrate new devices as they become available on the market.
SYS-CON Events announced today that O'Reilly Media has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. O'Reilly Media spreads the knowledge of innovators through its books, online services, magazines, and conferences. Since 1978, O'Reilly Media has been a chronicler and catalyst of cutting-edge development, homing in on the technology trends that really matter and spurring their adoption by amplifying "faint signals" from the alpha geeks who are creating the future. An...
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.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Aria Systems, the recurring revenue expert, has been named "Bronze Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Aria Systems helps leading businesses connect their customers with the products and services they love. Industry leaders like Pitney Bowes, Experian, AAA NCNU, VMware, HootSuite and many others choose Aria to power their recurring revenue business and deliver exceptional experiences to their customers.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is going to require a new way of thinking and of developing software for speed, security and innovation. This requires IT leaders to balance business as usual while anticipating for the next market and technology trends. Cloud provides the right IT asset portfolio to help today’s IT leaders manage the old and prepare for the new. Today the cloud conversation is evolving from private and public to hybrid. This session will provide use cases and insights to reinforce the value of the network in helping organizations to maximize their company’s cloud experience.
As a disruptive technology, Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC), which is an emerging standard of web communications, is redefining how brands and consumers communicate in real time. The on-going narrative around WebRTC has largely been around incorporating video, audio and chat functions to apps. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Alex Gouaillard, Founder and CTO of Temasys Communications, will look at a fourth element – data channels – and talk about its potential to move WebRTC beyond browsers and into the Internet of Things.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gigaom Research has been named "Media Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Ashar Baig, Research Director, Cloud, at Gigaom Research, will also lead a Power Panel on the topic "Choosing the Right Cloud Option." Gigaom Research provides timely, in-depth analysis of emerging technologies for individual and corporate subscribers. Gigaom Research's network of 200+ independent analysts provides new content daily that bridges the gap between break...
We certainly live in interesting technological times. And no more interesting than the current competing IoT standards for connectivity. Various standards bodies, approaches, and ecosystems are vying for mindshare and positioning for a competitive edge. It is clear that when the dust settles, we will have new protocols, evolved protocols, that will change the way we interact with devices and infrastructure. We will also have evolved web protocols, like HTTP/2, that will be changing the very core of our infrastructures. At the same time, we have old approaches made new again like micro-services...
The Industrial Internet revolution is now underway, enabled by connected machines and billions of devices that communicate and collaborate. The massive amounts of Big Data requiring real-time analysis is flooding legacy IT systems and giving way to cloud environments that can handle the unpredictable workloads. Yet many barriers remain until we can fully realize the opportunities and benefits from the convergence of machines and devices with Big Data and the cloud, including interoperability, data security and privacy.