You are previewing High Performance Web Sites.

High Performance Web Sites

Cover of High Performance Web Sites by Steve Souders Published by O'Reilly Media, Inc.
  1. High Performance Web Sites
    1. SPECIAL OFFER: Upgrade this ebook with O’Reilly
    2. Praise for High Performance Web Sites
    3. Foreword
    4. Preface
      1. How This Book Is Organized
      2. Conventions Used in This Book
      3. Code Examples
      4. Comments and Questions
      5. Safari® Books Online
      6. Acknowledgments
    5. 1. The Importance of Frontend Performance
      1. Tracking Web Page Performance
      2. Where Does the Time Go?
      3. The Performance Golden Rule
    6. 2. HTTP Overview
      1. Compression
      2. Conditional GET Requests
      3. Expires
      4. Keep-Alive
      5. There's More
    7. 3. Rule 1: Make Fewer HTTP Requests
      1. Image Maps
      2. CSS Sprites
      3. Inline Images
      4. Combined Scripts and Stylesheets
      5. Conclusion
    8. 4. Rule 2: Use a Content Delivery Network
      1. Content Delivery Networks
      2. The Savings
    9. 5. Rule 3: Add an Expires Header
      1. Expires Header
      2. Max-Age and mod_expires
      3. Empty Cache vs. Primed Cache
      4. More Than Just Images
      5. Revving Filenames
      6. Examples
    10. 6. Rule 4: Gzip Components
      1. How Compression Works
      2. What to Compress
      3. The Savings
      4. Configuration
      5. Proxy Caching
      6. Edge Cases
      7. Gzip in Action
    11. 7. Rule 5: Put Stylesheets at the Top
      1. Progressive Rendering
      2. sleep.cgi
      3. Blank White Screen
      4. Flash of Unstyled Content
      5. What's a Frontend Engineer to Do?
    12. 8. Rule 6: Put Scripts at the Bottom
      1. Problems with Scripts
      2. Parallel Downloads
      3. Scripts Block Downloads
      4. Worst Case: Scripts at the Top
      5. Best Case: Scripts at the Bottom
      6. Putting It in Perspective
    13. 9. Rule 7: Avoid CSS Expressions
      1. Updating Expressions
      2. Working Around the Problem
      3. Conclusion
    14. 10. Rule 8: Make JavaScript and CSS External
      1. Inline vs. External
      2. Typical Results in the Field
      3. Home Pages
      4. The Best of Both Worlds
    15. 11. Rule 9: Reduce DNS Lookups
      1. DNS Caching and TTLs
      2. The Browser's Perspective
      3. Reducing DNS Lookups
    16. 12. Rule 10: Minify JavaScript
      1. Minification
      2. Obfuscation
      3. The Savings
      4. Examples
      5. Icing on the Cake
    17. 13. Rule 11: Avoid Redirects
      1. Types of Redirects
      2. How Redirects Hurt Performance
      3. Alternatives to Redirects
    18. 14. Rule 12: Remove Duplicate Scripts
      1. Duplicate Scripts—They Happen
      2. Duplicate Scripts Hurt Performance
      3. Avoiding Duplicate Scripts
    19. 15. Rule 13: Configure ETags
      1. What's an ETag?
      2. The Problem with ETags
      3. ETags: Use 'Em or Lose 'Em
      4. ETags in the Real World
    20. 16. Rule 14: Make Ajax Cacheable
      1. Web 2.0, DHTML, and Ajax
      2. Asynchronous = Instantaneous?
      3. Optimizing Ajax Requests
      4. Caching Ajax in the Real World
    21. 17. Deconstructing 10 Top Sites
      1. Page Weight, Response Time, YSlow Grade
      2. How the Tests Were Done
      3. Amazon
      4. AOL
      5. CNN
      6. eBay
      7. Google
      8. MSN
      9. MySpace
      10. Wikipedia
      11. Yahoo!
      12. YouTube
    22. Index
    23. About the Author
    24. Colophon
    25. SPECIAL OFFER: Upgrade this ebook with O’Reilly
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Blank White Screen

This section shows two web pages that differ in just one respect: whether the stylesheet is at the top or bottom of the page. What a difference it makes to the user experience!

CSS at the Bottom

The first example demonstrates the harm of putting stylesheets at the bottom of the HTML document.

Notice how putting stylesheets near the end of the document can delay page loading. This problem is harder to track down because it only happens in Internet Explorer and depends on how the page is loaded. After working with the page, you'll notice that it occasionally loads slowly. When this happens, the page is completely blank until all the content blasts onto the screen at once, as illustrated in Figure 7-1. Progressive rendering has been thwarted. This is a bad user experience because there is no visual feedback to reassure the user that her request is being handled correctly. Instead, the user is left to wonder whether anything is happening. That's the moment when a user abandons your web site and navigates to your competitor.

The blank white screen

Figure 7-1. The blank white screen

Here are the cases where putting stylesheets at the bottom of the document causes the blank white screen problem to surface in Internet Explorer:

In a new window

Clicking the "new window" link in the example page opens "CSS at the Bottom" in a new window. Users ...

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