Rules for High Performance Websites

Last week, I attended the Web 2.0 Expo at Mascone Center in San Francisco where I watched Steve Souders of Yahoo speak. His workshop was titled High Performance Webpages and has a yet-to-be published O'reilly book by the same name (though the Rough Cuts version is currently available for download). The basis of his presentation is as follows:

These best practices have proven to reduce response times of Yahoo! properties by 25-50%. We focus on the front-end because that's where 80-90% of the end-user response time is spent. This "80-90% front-end" phenomenon is not isolated to just Yahoo!. It holds true for most web sites, including the ten most-visited U.S. web sites. In any optimization effort it’s critical to profile current performance to identify where the greatest improvement can be made. It’s clear that the place to focus for fast web pages is the front-end:

1.There is more potential for improvement by focusing on the front-end. Making the back-end twice as fast reduces response times by 5-10%, whereas making the front-end twice as fast saves 40-45%.
2.Front-end improvements typically require less time and resources than back-end performance projects.
3.Focusing on front-end improvements has proven to work. Over fifty teams at Yahoo! have reduced their end-user response times by following these 14 Rules for High Performance Websites.

Souders' presentation was especially useful for me because it made me realize that I was spending too much time on speeding up the back-end and not enough time speeding up the front-end. I passed this URL on to my developer-in-crime, Brandon, and we'll be using it as a guideline during the redevelopment of