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So you’ve designed an awesome website packed full of nifty features, but it doesn’t seem to be loading fast enough on people’s browsers. What’s the deal? The features used by most popular sites to make their pages appealing, such as extensive graphics, rich layout and various interactive web 2.0 functionalities have pushed browsers to their limits. The end result can lead to painfully slow loading times unless you’re optimizing your web sites. O’Reilly Media’s High Performance Web Sites by Steve Souders (US$ 29.99) should give you much-needed assistance on this topic. "The success of Web 2.0 is dependent on rich applications being fast," says Steve Souders, Yahoo!'s chief performance expert. "And to ensure rich Internet applications provide good user experiences, web developers need to have advanced performance guidelines that go along with these advanced web development paradigms.” Souders is no stranger to the game of website optimization; he’s attracted standing-room-only crowds at Web 2.0 Expo and the O'Reilly Open Source Conference by discussing his research and solutions on web performance. He’s also spoken at private engagements for big league companies like Microsoft and Amazon.com. High Performance Web Sites is based around the 14 most important rules that Souder discovered during his research and work on site optimization. If these rules are followed, he claims they can chip 25 to 50 percent off the response time when users request a page. However lofty that sounds, the man has the prerequisites to give weight to his claims. Souder's techniques have, after all, improved the functionality of such sites as Yahoo! Search and Yahoo! Front Page. "The performance golden rule reveals that only 10 to 20 percent of the user experience is spent retrieving the HTML document, and yet that's where most performance optimization efforts have historically been focused," notes Souders. "The key to dramatically improving web page response times is focusing on the other 80 to 90 percent - the content that is downloaded and the functionality that is executed by the browser after the HTML document arrives. Knowing where to focus is the most important take away from my book." Each performance rule is supported by specific examples, and snippets of code are available on the book’s companion website. Here's a handful of Souder's golden rules: * Make Fewer HTTP Requests * Use a Content Delivery Network * Add an Expires Header * Gzip Components * Put Stylesheets at the Top ...and that's just a taste. If it sounds like you could benefit from this book, then mosey on down to the O'Reilly website for more information and to order your copy.