How Google Makes GMail Mobile Fast (Web Performance)
By Sophia Perl (Producer, PicPredict)
When I saw the title of the Meetup talk “High Performance Mobile” and that it was in the south bay, I was sold in an instant. Who doesn’t want to know how to make their mobile web apps go faster? The SF Web Performance Meetup talk took place at LinkedIn who graciously provided space, drinks (non-alky), some appetizers, and a foldable water bottle with LinkedIn on it. Not too shabby.
The speaker, Steve Souders, is a Head Performance Engineer at Google and previously worked at Yahoo! as Chief Performance Yahoo!. He’s written a couple of O’Reilly books and created many performance tools. You can tell that he is very passionate about web performance. In fact, you would think that he was talking about kids because of how excited he was talking about performance.
Let’s get started about the talk take aways.
Why web performance is important? If your web application is slow, this can cost you money. Fred Wilson from Union Square Ventures said about successful web apps, “Speed is the most important feature.” NetFlix turned on gzip and saved about half of their outbound traffic. Just about all smart phone ads talk about fast this, fast that. These companies know what sells phones.
Mobile in general is exciting because there is so much more growth to be had. If you compare the same relative point in time of when mobile web browsers were introduced versus desktop web browsers were introduced, mobile web is almost 5 times the number of desktop browsers. In 2010, 2.6% of eCommerce purchases were made via mobile.
Souders says web performance optimization will drive traffic, improve user experience, increase revenues, and cut costs. A lot of the tips that he covered are applicable to desktop web also.
Here are the top 3 tips for web performance:
- Make fewer http requests — Combine files into fewer files, use sprites, inline images, canvas, and SVG.
- Reduce DNS lookups — The number of DNS lookups is equal to the number of unique hostnames in the web page. Reducing the number of unique hostnames reduces the number of DNS lookups.
- Avoid redirects — Shouldn’t have different URLs for different clients (desktop, mobile, tablet), should be same URL for all, “it’s a mistake to have different best practices for mobile and desktop”.
This post was originally posted at Sophia Perl’s blog.
Editor’s note: Got a question for our guest blogger? Leave a message in the comments below.
About the guest blogger: Sophia Perl is a product manager for a database server and client administration tool at IBM. She has over 10 years of combined software development, product management, and research experience. Sophia is the iOS developer for iPhone apps PicPredict and Eventabulous. She is an avid blogger on topics of Silicon Valley startups and technology at www.sophiaperl.com. Sophia holds a B.S. in Computer Science from University of Southern California and an MBA from University of California at Davis. Follow her on Twitter at @sounalath.