High Performand Web SitesThis is a well written, well edited book with only a few minor editing issues. That make's it the best of many I've read recently.

So what's in this book.

The first two chapters introduce the problem and give you some background information about HTTP requests and caching which are useful to understand the next 15 chapters.

This book goes through 14 different techniques to improve the amount of time from the first request to the the completion of the page being rendered. Thus improving the perceived responsiveness of the web site.

There's a useful explanation of the difference between HTTP 1.1 and 1.0 with regards to how browsers (IE and Firefox) will limit (based on the standards) the amount of parallel downloads from the server.

The chapters are in order of highest impact to improve performance to least.

Here's the Chapter list:

  1. Make Fewer HTTP Requests
  2. Use a Content Delivery Network
  3. Add an Expires Header
  4. Gzip Components
  5. Put Stylesheets at the Top
  6. Put Scripts at the Bottom
  7. Avoid CSS Expressions
  8. Make JavaScript and CSS External
  9. Reduce DNS Lookups
  10. Minify JavaScript
  11. Avoid Redirects
  12. Remove Duplicates Scripts
  13. Configure ETags
  14. Make Ajax Cacheable

In each chapter the author introduces the issue, explains the rule and solution, and then provides some example pages to demonstrate the effectiveness of each rule.

Nearly every chapter had an "aha" moment for me.

The author worked on the Yahoo properties analyzing and suggesting improvements. It will come as no surprise that in chapter 15, where he looks at the top 10 US sites and analyzes which rules are and aren't being followed for those sites that Yahoo comes out near the top.

If you work on websites, front end or back end, it would be worth your time to read this book. At only 137 pages of content, it won't eat a hugh amount of time, and I think you'll find that your info/time to read ratio will compare favorably to many many other books.