Earlier this year, I offered a Performance Clinic for early attendees at STPCon. As part of this, we conducted a performance diagnostic session on a live e-commerce website, and after our first initial glance at their landing page we saw the usual performance suspects – no surprise to me or the members of the company in the room.
The members of the company that I connected with have tried hard over the last few months to highlight these problems to their engineering and business teams, but have repeatedly found their concerns falling on deaf ears. So, one of my goals today is to re-raise awareness for a few very basic Web Performance Optimizations (WPOs). Whether you use browser built-in diagnostics tools or extensions, it doesn’t matter. These tools are available for every developer, web designer and tester and absolutely must be used as a final sanity check before checking on or releasing code.
Some of the highlights we found on the website we analyzed during the performance clinic are below.
1. Key Metrics: Size, Resources and Load Times
An illustration of our analysis of the e-commerce website is below, making a number of potential improvements quite obvious. There is a basic golden rule of WPO to follow here: reduce roundtrips, reduce content size, leverage CDNs, minimize and merge content, and use proper caching.
2. Timeline/Waterfall: Learn How Your Pages Are Designed
4. Bad Caching and No Merging
5. Server-Side Performance
In our Performance Clinic at STPCon we only analyzed the front-end performance of this website, but I soon learned that these guys are also using an APM tool on the server-side and by using such tools they also found “The Classics” on the backend: too many database roundtrips, bad server-side coding, multi-threading issues with blocking resources, etc.
So, this is a shout-out to anyone concerned about performance and user experience - look beyond what’s happening in the browser and use performance management tools to look behind the scenes as well.
Andreas Grabner is Performance Advocate at Dynatrace.