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101 Essential Checklists

Illustration: Deliver First Class Web Sites

Continuing my series of posts on Web performance guidelines, today I'm reviewing one chapter of a new book -- Deliver First Class Web Sites: 101 Essential Checklists [Sitepoint] -- by Shirley Kaiser of SKDesigns, published by Sitepoint in July 2006.

Sitepoint's practical publications are well known among Web developers, and Kaiser deserves credit for devoting a full chapter to site performance alongside all the useful advice on other topics. As its title states, this book does not cover topics in great depth. Each checklist item is stated, then discussed briefly.

Kaiser includes enough detail to justify each recommendation, and often includes examples of how to do it. Chapter 11 (Web Site Optimization) is 19 pages long, presenting 41 recommendations arranged into six checklists:

  • Creating Clean, Lean Markup
  • Minimizing URLs
  • Optimizing CSS
  • Optimizing JavaScript
  • Supporting Speedy Server Responses
  • Optimizing Images, Multimedia, and Alternative Formats

However, once I started reviewing the contents of Kaiser's checklists, I soon noticed a remarkable similarity between her choice of topics and those covered in Andrew King's book, Speed Up Your Site -- the subtitle of which also happens to be Web Site Optimization.

Spreadsheet comparing '101 Essential Checklists' and 'Speed up Your Site'

A bit more scrutiny, summarized in this spreadsheet (click to view details), revealed similarities in the naming, wording, and organization of the checklist items too. Although Kaiser cites Speed Up your Site in her first paragraph, she does not actually recommend it explicitly, or mention any collaboration with Andrew King. But she seems to have relied heavily on that one source as the main inspiration for her Web Site Optimization chapter.

To give Kaiser her due, rather than simply parroting all of King's recommendations, she has ignored the more extreme ones. All the same, her material still shares most of King's limitations and omissions, many of which I listed earlier when I reviewed his book, and which I plan to cover in future posts in this series.

In conclusion, if you'd like a handy summary of the material in King (except for his excellent discussion of the psychology of performance), Kaiser's book has it, plus about 300 more pages of useful checklists on other topics. I recommend it, because I don't think you can go far wrong with any book from Sitepoint. If you want to read more about the same topics, you can find Speed Up your Site on sale at Amazon.com these days under half price. But don't assume that either book will give you a well-rounded picture of Web Site Optimization issues and techniques.

For more ideas about that, continue reading Performance Matters, and I'll do my best to fill in the holes.

[This post was first published on Blogger on August 27, 2006.]

Posted on Sunday, August 27, 2006 at 11:36PM by Registered CommenterChris Loosley in , | CommentsPost a Comment

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