Is Your Company's Web Site Delivering The Goods? - InformationWeek

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6/5/2009
04:12 PM
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Is Your Company's Web Site Delivering The Goods?

Want to know whether your company's Web site is working hard or hardly working? A new Firefox extension can deliver the answer.

Want to know whether your company's Web site is working hard or hardly working? A new Firefox extension can deliver the answer.Google developed its Page Speed tool to test and optimize the performance of its own Web pages. Now, Google has released Page Speed as an open-source Firefox extension that anyone can download and put to work.

Page Speed works by testing a page against a set of rules based on Google's own site-development expertise: When you profile a web page with Page Speed, it evaluates the page's conformance to a number of different rules. These rules are general front-end best practices you can apply at any stage of web development. We provide documentation of each of the rules here, so whether or not you run the Page Speed tool  maybe you're just developing a brand new site and aren't ready to test it  you can refer to these pages at any time. We give you specific tips and suggestions for how you can best implement the rules and incorporate them into your development process. The Page Speed extension actually loads as part of Firebug -- another highly-regarded Firefox extension that provides a number of Web development and debugging tools. Once Page Speed analyzes a page, it creates a report that scores the page against key best-practices criteria:

Another key feature will create a running timeline that shows exactly how a browser interacts with various page elements, including network activity and script processing. The results can reveal problems that may delay page-load times, and they also provide before-and-after snapshots of page performance after a developer implements Page Speed suggestions:

This description really just scratches the surface. Page Speed can also dig into JavaScript function calls, for example, delivering a blow-by-blow account of a page's JavaScript performance, and it can change the user-agent string to simulate how a page interacts with other Web browsers.

If your company outsources its Web site development, all of this may sound like a bit much. Page Speed is powerful and very thorough, but it isn't designed to give non-developers a high-level "report card" on a site's overall performance.

Yet it still isn't too hard to grasp, in basic terms, how Page Speed works and what it can tell you about Web page performance. Such information, in turn, can alert you to performance issues before they affect -- and annoy -- your customers.

And if you're paying an outside developer to build and maintain your company's Web site, Page Speed can also ensure that you get the most for your Web-development buck.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
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