Day One of Velocity Conference 2011

I promise to take as many notes as possible team since only I could attend this year. The conference starts in about 25 minutes. It’s a sell-out for a 2nd year in a row, which is great considering this started 4 years ago as a tiny workshop. My plan is to attend these 4 sessions today:

Performance Tools

WebPagetest (Patrick Meenan) – Most people only graze the surface of what you can do with WebPagetest for analyzing pages. In this session I’ll go beyond the basic page load times and demonstrate how to get the most from the tool, including:

  • Evaluating the impact of components on the load time by blocking content on the fly
  • Testing interactive applications or multi-step paths to make sure you measure the full user experience, not just individual pages
  • Effective use of the video capture built into WebPagetest, including advanced customizations
  • Identifying code hot spots quickly and drilling into them with the Dynatrace Ajax Edition integration
  • Packet captures for verifying network/server performance

Mobitest (Guy Podjarny) – Mobile browsing is on the rise, and many website owners would tell you mobile web performance is critical to their success. However, most of those owners would not know how their own sites perform on mobile, largely due to an extreme lack of mobile performance tools. In this workshop we’ll show how to fix that problem using Blaze Mobitest, a free hosted mobile performance measurements. We’ll show how to quickly and easily measure your site’s performance on a variety of mobile devices, such as iPhone and Android. We’ll also review the full feature set, ranging from simple measurements to detailed HAR files, and answer any questions on the underlying technology and more.

ShowSlow (Sergey Chernyshev) – Next we’ll set up ShowSlow for metric tracking and go over various options for configuring custom instance to fit your needs. We’ll look at configuration of testing tools like YSlow, Page Speed and dynaTrace AJAX to send data to your instance of Show Slow and see how it can be used for documenting and helping with decision making during day to day web performance optimization efforts.

Dynatrace Ajax Edition (Alois Reitbauer) – We will cover at a whole range of performance engineering approaches using dynaTrace Ajax Edition. We start by looking at JavaScript and Rendering analysis. Next we dive into cross browser performance comparison between Internet Explorer and Firefox. Then we look into automating performance testing of Web 2.0 application using Selenium’s page objects with dynaTrace timers and how to integrate performance testing into an automated build environment as well as regression analysis.

Decisions in the Face of Uncertainty or Just Enough Statistics to be Dangerous

How many machines will we need for Q4? How big should our next datacenter build be? What are the odds this project will be completed on time? What does a network packet loss rate of 1% mean for my application? Do you feel like you ought to have a working knowledge of statistics, but don’t know where to begin? If you took a statistics class in college, but have forgotten most of it, or you’ve never had any formal training in statistics, this class is for you. My goal is to give you a basic toolset to begin reasoning statistically through a series of interactive examples.

We’ll do an exercise in estimation, where you’ll learn how well calibrated you are as an estimator. We’ll use the data we get from the estimation exercise to explore one of the most useful ideas in statistics: the binomial distribution. We’ll conduct a key statistical test, the chi-square test, which use can to tell if the data you’re observing match what you’d expect or if the pattern is different. And last, we’ll solve a problem in decision theory and along the way learn about the normal distribution.

Though I’ll use a little bit of scary looking math, you should still attend if you’ve forgotten all the math you learned in school. I show how to use software like excel and sage to do all the mathematical heavy lifting.

Analyzing the Performance of Mobile Web: Challenges and Techniques

While many developers use proven best practices to ensure that the performance of web applications is acceptable, further tuning and tweaking are useless without real measurement data. A wide range of analysis tools are available for major desktop browsers, however the situation is different on the mobile space as there is very little instrumentation possibilities. This talk will highlight several techniques which can be utilized to find out what the mobile browser is doing (at almost real-time), covering network proxy server, remote JavaScript debugger, event automator, and few other tricks.

Automated Web Performance Testing

The goal of this talk is to help you build a performance testing framework for your web application in under a day. We will explore two of the popular open source browser automation technologies (Selenium and Watir), how they work, common pitfalls, and how tools such as Fiddler and the new Web-Timings standards (as supported in IE9, Firefox 4, and Chrome) can be used to gather performance metrics. We will also show you how to design your site in such a way to make automation and metrics gathering easier.

With web performance being critically important, organizations need to adopt performance monitoring as early as possible in their development life-cycle. Performance engineers and Operations require this data to monitor potential problems and the current state of the system, while developers and QA need this information to prevent regressions and get instant feedback on any code changes.

This presentation is aimed at teams new to automated browser testing tools, or at least the free, open source options. An attendee will walk away knowing what to test and how to get there. The tools available today are powerful and simple enough to get even a novice up and running in under a day.

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