Cloud Four Blog

Technical notes, War stories and anecdotes

Speaking at Velocity Conference

I’m speaking today at the Velocity Conference in San Francisco. Back in 2003 when John and I spent weeks working on performance, we never thought performance would reach the point where a whole conference would be focused on it. It’s an amazing thing.

We’re going to be presenting our Mobile Concurrency Test and the initial results we’ve received.

Make Your Blog Faster & Help Save the Environment

For those in the Portland area, I’m going to be leading an informal session at this week’s Beer and Blog on how to optimize your blog for performance and why doing so is good for the environment.

More on how performance is connected to the environment in a moment, but first, the details on when and where:

Beer and Blog – Make Your Blog Load Fast & Save the Environment
Green Dragon Bistro & Brewpub
928 SE 9th Ave.
Portland, Oregon 97214
RSVP | Add to Calendar | Map

The Impact of Data Centers on the Environment

HP Efficient Computing at SNWEveryone is aware that our ability to reduce our energy consumption is a key component to reducing the impact we have on the environment.

However, it wasn’t until I was asked to speak to the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) at Storage Networking World last fall that I realized how important this is for those who run data centers.

At the time, I observed:

Several businesses are now being told that they cannot bring any more power into their data centers. The power company is simply refusing to provide them with more capacity.

In many cases, the cost of powering and cooling a data center exceed the costs of the hardware within two years.

The people in the storage industry get it. The SNIA has started the Green Storage Initiative to foster innovative ways of reducing power consumption in data centers.

The question is are those of us who are web developers doing our part? Sadly, no.

Web Site Gluttons

Web developers live insulated lives. We have broadband at our homes and our offices and it shows. We’ve stopped paying attention to the size of web pages.

Andrew King recently highlighted research showing that the average size of web pages has doubled since 2003. “Longer term statistics show that since 1995 the size of the average web page has increased by 22 times, and the number of objects per page has grown by 21.7 times.”

Growth of Average Web Page Size and Number of Objects


In addition to the size of web pages, few sites are optimized to ensure that browsers cache the files and don’t request the same files repeatedly.

Steve Souders recently conducted a thought experiment on how much CO2 would be saved by optimizing the Wikipedia home page. He used the estimate that “three minutes on a Web site generates three grams of CO2 – roughly equal to the amount one person generates by breathing for 4.5 minutes.”

Steve estimated that the optimization could save “5,000 kilowatt-hours per year or approximately 500-1000 pounds of CO2 emissions.”

Why Now?

I’ve been interested in web optimization for ever since it saved my prior company tens of thousands of dollars a few years ago. I’ve been speaking on the topic whenever possible and trying to help web developers understand how much benefit they can get by optimizing their pages and how easy it is to do.

A couple of weeks ago, I finally watched An Inconvenient Truth. At the conclusion of the film I started thinking about what more I could do. I’m getting a bike ready to use for my commute to work. I’m reducing the energy I use. I’m contemplating a vegetarian diet.

And I’ve redoubled my commitment to getting web developers to take site performance seriously. It saves money, improves the experience for your customers, and it’s easy to do.

Most importantly, if you care about global warming, optimizing your site is a moral imperative.

So come join us tomorrow at the Green Dragon to make your blog faster and reduce the energy it consumes.

Going Fast on the Mobile Web

A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of speaking at Web Visions on two topics that I am passionate about: mobile and web performance.

The presentation was entitled Going Fast on the Mobile Web. Included in the presentation is the first results from our Mobile Browser concurrency test and some of the conclusions we’ve been drawing from the test results.

The response from people who attended the session was positive:

Alsymer: Really enjoyed @grigs’ optimizing mobile session … most useful of all the sessions I’ve been to so far at WebVisions=

davemerwin:@grigs needs to do a workshop next year

mfriesen: @grigs mobile session was excellent. Much useful knowledge.

buchino: mobile web presentation was great… guy (@grigs) knows a lot.

I was extremely pleased to hear that people enjoyed the presentation. I’ve been attending Web Visions for years and have seen both good and bad sessions. I was determined to make sure no one walked out of the room without learning something.

(As an aside, how wonderful is it to have feedback via Twitter for presenters to know what they’ve done right and what they need to improve on?)

Speaking at WebVisions alone would be remarkable, but something truly unexpected happened after the slides got posted online. They seemed to strike a cord with people. The presentation was selected as Slideshare’s Slides of the Day. It was featured on the O’Reilly Radar, Ajaxian and quite a few other sites.

A comment made during the presentation even made it to the top of Fast Company’s home page as their Big Idea of the Day.

There will be one mobile phone per child long before there is one laptop per child.

To date, the slides have been viewed 9,598 times, downloaded 677 times, favorited by 69 people, and embedded on 47 web sites.

I’m very grateful and humbled by the attention the presentation has received. I’m most excited about the conversations that it has spurred. I’ve got much more to write about and share based on the conversations during Web Visions and after.

Thanks to everyone who attended the session or read the slides online. I appreciate you taking the time to take a look at what we’re doing and why we believe the mobile web is so important.

Here are the slides themselves: