Last year I reviewed Even Faster Web Sites, an eye-opening book that revealed some website performance tricks “hidden in plain sight,” due to their simplicity and reliance on everyday aspects of web technology. I learned this book is actually a sequel to another highly-regarded book, High Performance Web Sites, so I had to review it.
High Performance Web Sites is extremely similar to its successor. Steve Souders authored both books and has the same analytical, left-brained approach to measuring performance and capturing best practices in simple rules. Thorough testing is conducted and reported, and the tests can still be duplicated at stevesouders.com, three years after the book’s publication. There’s nothing as illuminating as conducting tests on your own, with Steve’s clear guidance.
Despite its age, High Performance Web Sites is still very pertinent because it improves performance on essential things such as reducing HTTP requests, structuring external script and stylesheet requests to keep data moving and other very basic tricks. This book is even more simple than its successor and deals strictly with the basics. This makes it a very helpful book for all web designers at all skill levels, which in itself is hard to do.
I don’t give out perfect ratings very often, but I did for Even Faster Web Sites and I will do the same for High Performance Web Sites. The book is clearly written, very effective, almost unprecedented in its usefulness for all designers, and thoroughly researched. The only thing I wish is that it were longer.