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Web Performance Meetup @ Karlsruhe

by / Friday, 14 December 2012 / Published in Industry News
Web Performance Meetup 1

I had the chance to participate in the Karlsruhe web performance meetup group kickoff meeting on Tuesday.
It started with a presentation by the organizer, Dennis Westermann (SAP Research). He showed an embarrising page load performance comparison between the Amazon.com website and the Mediamarkt online store. Mediamarkt is the German equivalent of BestBuy, and seems to have similar issues adjusting to the Internet age. It wasn’t a surprise that Amazon’s performance blows Mediamarkt’s performance out of the water. But it was surprising how many low hanging “performance improvement” fruits had been overlooked by Mediamarkt before their high profile launch– such as image compression. If the Mediamarkt team stumbles upon this blog, Dennis’ recommended web performance entry points are:

–  http://www.perfplanet.com/
–  SteveSouders
–  VelocityConf.com
–  WebpageTest.org  (for creating waterfall charts and load time videos)

Next, Jackson Gabbard (Facebook engineer, UK) gave his talk on 

“Balancing HTML and Native [Application Development]”.

In his own words: The choice of HTML or native is a crucial one that affects the trajectory of a project. The face-value tradeoffs can lead even the most careful engineer down the wrong path for her or his project. After being an early adopter of HTML as a platform for our mobile applications, Facebook has evolved into a more native system. The reasons for this shift are many and mostly learned at the end of great pains in performance tuning, reliability work, application layout, and user experience. Learn the real-world trade-offs between native application development and HTML from one of the engineers who helped build Facebook mobile.

My grab bag of takeaways:
–  FB internal API was (is?) largely unspec’ed. It grew organically for years.
–  FB goal is to support all mobile devices, at least to an extent.
–  FB users commenting activity is directly related to page (app) performance. If a page loads too slow, users give up commenting quickly.
–  60% of all Facebook logins are on mobile, a dramatic increase compared to last year (I  hope I understood that correctly, if so, a very impressive number).
–  HTML GUI lacks performance vs native app, but wins on flexibility.
–  HTML GUI has a dramatically shorter release cycle (no app store review).
–  His recommendation: HTML for prototyping, native if the feature set is clear.
–  Response times rule of thumb:     200ms -> humans feel something is not instant anymore,  2s -> users get feeling things are too slow.

Useful tools mentioned:
–   http://modernizr.com/
–   http://drupal.org/project/browscap

More information on the Karlsruhe Web Performance Meetup, and the next meeting, can be found at http://www.meetup.com/Karlsruhe-Web-Performance-Group/

 

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