Tips for Maximizing Your Web Application Performance

What with how quickly software is developing, it’s often difficult for IT staff to keep up. An ideal IT team, most managers would agree, would be able to stay on top of the newest applications, learn how to use them, and keep them running smoothly. There are a number of issues that could go wrong – from too many users at once to a poor connection – that would cause applications to slow down and become less efficient. The thing is that for web applications, optimal performance is often more dependent on planning ahead rather than troubleshooting. Here are a few things that could make your website applications run more smoothly.

Go Easy on the Images (and Other Requests)

Hosting a lot of images on your website means your site has a lot of HTTP-based requests. Each image results in a separate request sent to the server, which could easily cause performance to lag. This is also true of CSS stylesheets and Javascript. Instead of serving these images on your site, try using an image map to merge images together – hosting one image is always better than hosting multiple. CSS sprites could also be used to merge images together. Furthermore, merge all your CSS-based classes and avoid inline CSS classes. Avoid inline Javascript files as well.

Use HTTP Compression

Lucky for you, most browsers now support HTTP compression, which means a few simple steps could improve your web application performance manifold. There are many online resources that detail what compression entails, which browsers support it, and how you can compress your site; it’s certainly something to consider looking into.

Pay Attention to Image Formats

Believe it or not, it matters whether you’re using a JPG, PNG, or GIF. It’s recommended that JPGs/JPEGs are used as background images, smaller graphics such as buttons are in PNG format, and any images that aren’t intended to be high-res should be GIF.

Pay Attention to CSS and Javascript Locations

To put it simply, CSS links should be at the top of the website layout and Javascript should be at the bottom. When Java is at the top it can cause the site to lag due to its load time; CSS at the top allows users to see what they’re looking for even before the page is fully loaded. It’s more user friendly and creates less of a lag when set up in this fashion.

Minimize the Size of your Cookies

Cookies are commonly used in web development, but bear in mind that they’re sent along with almost every HTTP request. Therefore, the smaller in size they are, the more quickly requests will go through. Don’t use any cookies that aren’t necessary, and set the site up as such that they will expire when they are no longer useful.

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