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Zoompf: Or, Why I Left Security To Work On Web Performance


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Zoompf: Or, Why I Left Security To Work On Web Performance
Topic: Miscellaneous 11:52 am EDT, Oct 30, 2009

Today I'm launching Zoompf, a new kind of web performance company. We don't deploy sensors, simulate user load, or monitor your application from data centers around the global. We don't try to answer the question "How fast are my web apps?" We answer the next logical and frankly more important question: "How do I make my web applications go faster?"

Zoompf's technology crawls and identifies over 150 specific problems with your web application that impacts web performance. You can learn more by downloading our Optimizing Web Performance presentation. But this post is not about what Zoompf does. It's about why I'm doing Zoompf.

Why on earth would I leave an amazing career in a successful industry and resign from an awesome job in a down economy? A lot of close friends have asked whether I'm crazy or not in the last month. But after I've explained the incredible opportunity behind what I'm doing their outlook completely changes and they become very supportive, offering time, funding, and recommendations.

The business case for performance is obvious. Faster apps increase revenue. Using resources more efficiently reduces operational costs. This is why the performance testing market is huge. But there is a gap in this market when it comes to performance testing of modern web applications. Talk to anyone about web performance and they start talking about the usual suspects:

-Refactoring, optimizing, JITing, caching application code and data
-Database tuning, queries, store procedures, indexes, denormalizing tables
-Reverse proxies, memcached, Varnish, load balancers, SSL accelerators, etc.

But recent research has found generating dynamic content accounts for typically less than 10% of page load times. The vast majority of page load time is spent downloading, parsing, and rendering all the components that make up a modern application. It is on the front end, and not on the back end, where optimizations can be made that drop seconds off load times. JavaScript code, CSS, the inner workings of browsers, HTTP voodoo. I am a thought leader in exactly this space.

The majority of widely known web performance optimization practices today focus on the application tier or the database tier. Traditional performance testings tools do no front end optimization testing. And yet the front end has the biggest impact on web application performance in modern applications. Do you see the disconnect yet?

This is an enormous opportunity.

This is why I created Zoompf.

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