Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Whoooosh! Part 2

Making it happen

YSlow gave this site a solid 'B' for performance, but I knew it could be better.


The main culprit was the lack of expiry headers on resources, meaning the browser had to reload them each page visit. Dumb. I was shocked to find that Tomcat had no easy way to get this going, but this has now been rectified in Tomcat 7.


Next up was optimising my images. YSlow can helpfully slurp your site through Yahoo's smush.it service which saved me a good 25% in download cruft. Win.


"Sprited" CSS images were something I knew I wanted to do, but had yet to find a nice tool to make it happen. Now that SmartSprites is a reality, I've been using it to both optimise the images and generate the CSS that controls them. I'm also planning on using JAWR (which utilises SmartSprites) as part of my standard toolchain for Java web development, pushing out minified, optimised, spritified HTML/CSS/JS content whenever the build target is not "dev".


Things were going well, and I was up to 'A' Grade, but my "favicon" was still being re-downloaded each-and-every page visit. I had to tell Tomcat that it was an image, and then the Expires Filter could deal with it as per all the others:

  (in conf/web.xml):

  <mime-mapping>
    <extension>ico</extension>
    <mime-type>image/x-icon</mime-type>
  </mime-mapping>


The final step was getting in under Pebble's covers and tweaking the page template, such that:

  • Javascript sits at the bottom of the page; and
  • Practically-useless files (like an empty print.css) are not mentioned


And with that, I'm currently scoring 95%. I'm losing the 5% for not gzipping my content (which will probably have been remedied by the time you read this), and having too many separate JavaScript files (a fact I need to investigate further - where is this blog even using JavaScript?) - but I'm happy; my little corner of the web is a snappier place.

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