Six Tips for Optimizing Your Website/Web Application
Ever since I started moving on from just developing websites to more complex web applications, I’ve learned different ways of optimizing your web application for speed and efficiency. It’s important to keep your web application running snappy, because as LinkedIn has found out: the likeliness at which visitors bounce is directly related to the performance of your web application. You can find out more about their story with how they kept their Bumper Sticker application running snappy by watching this video hosted on Joyent:
Tip 1: Use Image Sprites Whenever Possible, Especially On Common Graphics
This has been advised many times in blog articles but for those who do not know, utilizing one larger image file instead of multiple image files is better. Of course, there is always a point when the benefit can become lost if you go overboard with it, but the rule of thumb is: if a graphic is used multiple times across a sprite, especially in the use of a CSS background, add it into a common sprite.
Why is it more efficient? The bottom line is that you save on the amount of HTTP requests that have to be made between the client and the server. For more information on sprites and how to implement them, check out the awesome “how-to” article over at CSS-Tricks.
To help see which files can be combined, YSlow for Firebug is a great extension for Firebug that analyzes page loads and script execution to see where your website/web application is performing slowly.