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Web Performance Tuning, 2nd Edition by Patrick Killelea

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Elements

In this section, we take a look at the basic elements that make up web site architecture.

Browser

The web browser is a nearly ideal Graphical User Interface (GUI) because it is standard, simple, and ubiquitous. Most of what you need to show users is available: text, graphics, buttons, fill-in boxes, etc. The design of a GUI with HTML is about as easy as it gets. Other GUIs, such as those created with Visual Basic or Java, require much more training to create, and usually interface with the back-end in a non-HTTP way, greatly complicating testing and requiring each user to download a GUI just for that one application. Pretty much every PC in the world now has a browser, and they all read HTML, so it’s crazy not to take advantage of that.

It is a particularly bad idea to make any site “Optimized for Internet Explorer” or “Optimized for Netscape.” The entire value of the Web lies in its ubiquity and portability. If you start imposing requirements on users that are not strictly necessary, you not only alienate those who do not use your recommended browser, but you also expose yourself to the danger of platform dependence. Once you are dependent on a particular browser, you have given up the freedom of your users as well as your own freedom to look at your content in any other way. Why give up your freedom?

With the emerging Document Object Model (DOM) standard, browsers can do essentially everything you can do with other GUIs, such as column sorting, downloading just ...

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