Velocity – fully programmed

June 16, 2009 3:57 pm | 2 Comments

With my book and Velocity hitting in the same month, I’ve been slammed. Even though we started the Velocity planning process eleven months ago, we’ve been tweaking the program schedule up to the last minute, making room for new products and technology breakthroughs. I’m happy to say that the slate of speakers is nailed down, and it looks awesome. Here’s a rundown of the what’s happening in the Performance track, including the most recent additions.

Workshops (Mon, June 22)

At this year’s conference, we added a day of workshops. I kick things off talking about Website Performance Analysis, where I’ll take a popular, but slow, web site and show the tools used to make it faster. Nicholas Zakas is getting into deep performance optimizations with Writing Efficient JavaScript, relevant to any web site that uses JavaScript (which is every one). I’m psyched to sit in on Nicole Sullivan’s workshop, The Fast and the Fabulous: 9 ways engineering and design come together to make your site slow. We worked together at Yahoo!, so I can vouch for her guru-ness when it comes to CSS and web design. The workshops end with Metrics that Matter by Ben Rushlo from Keynote Systems. This was a topic that was brainstormed at the Velocity Summit held earlier this year – the importance of identifying the metrics that you just have to be watching to track and improve your site’s performance.

Sessions Day 1 (Tues, June 23)

We had so many good speaker proposals, we decided to kick things off a bit earlier, starting at 8:30am. We’ll cover the exciting stuff right out of the gate – new product announcements! (My lips are sealed.) One of the most important talks of the conference is The User and Business Impact of Server Delays, Additional Bytes, and HTTP Chunking in Web Search – where Eric Schurman from Live Search (‘scuse me, Bing) and Jake Brutlag from Google Search co-present the results of experiments they ran measuring the impact of latency on users. Are you kidding me?! Microsoft and Google, presenting together, with hard numbers about the impact of latency, talking about experiments run on live traffic! This is unprecedented and can’t be missed. Eric and Jake are two of the smartest and nicest guys around, so grab them afterwards and ask questions.

There’s a reprise of last year’s popular browser matchup, What Makes Browsers Performant, with representatives from Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Chrome. Doug Crockford is talking about Ajax Performance, painting the landscape of how developers should view and optimize their Web 2.0 applications. Michael Carter’s presentation on Light Speed Comet will present this newer technique for high volume, low latency Ajax communication. Other performance-related presentations include a demo of Google’s new Page Speed performance tool, A Preview of MySpace’s Open-sourced Performance Tracker, The Secret Weapons of the AOL Optimization Team, Go with the Reflow by my good buddy Lindsey Simon, and Performance-Based Design – Linking Performance to Business Metrics by Aladdin Nassar.

Sessions Day 2 (Wed, June 24)

We start early again, and jump right into the good stuff. Marissa Mayer starts with a keynote talking about Google’s commitment to fast web sites, followed by lightning demos of Firebug, HttpWatch, AOL PageTest, YSlow 2.0, and Visual Round Trip Analyzer. In Shopzilla’s Site Redo, Phil Dixon delivers more killer stats about the business impact of performance, such as a “5% – 12% lift in top-line revenue”. These are the numbers developers need to be armed with when debating the priority of performance improvements within their company. The morning closes with Ben Galbraith and Dion Almaer talking about the Responsiveness of web applications.

Several afternoon sessions come from Google. Kyle Scholz and Yaron Friedman present High Performance Search at Google. These guys have to build advanced DHTML that works across a huge audience; it’ll be important to find out what worked for them. Tony Gentilcore, creator of Fasterfox, gets the conference’s Sherlock Holmes award for his discoveries about why compression doesn’t happen as often as we think, in Beyond Gzipping. Brad Chen talks about a new tact on high performance applications in the browser using Google Native Client.

Matt Mullenweg is presenting some of the recent performance enhancements baked into WordPress. It’s a real treat to have Matt on the program. Developers that have to monitor performance will want to hear MySpace.com’s talk Fistful of Sand. In addition to hearing from Google Search, we’ll also get a glimpse of Frontend Performance Engineering in Facebook. Eric Mattingly is demoing a new tool called neXpert. And the day closes with me talking about the State of Performance, and a favorite from last year, High Performance Ads – Is It Possible?.

One of the most rewarding things about Velocity 2008 was the amount of sharing that took place. Everyone was talking about the pitfalls to avoid and the successes that can be had. I see that happening again this year. All of these speakers are extremely approachable. They have great experience and are smart, too, but the key for Velocity is that you can walk up to any one of them afterward and ask for more details or share what you’ve discovered. The Web is out there. Velocity is where we work together to make it faster.

See you at Velocity!

[If you haven't registered yet, make sure to use my "vel09cmb" 15% discount code.]

2 Responses to Velocity – fully programmed

  1. I’m really excited to be giving a workshop and can’t wait to see all the others too! Really solid lineup all around.

  2. I’m excited for next week! Last year’s Velocity conference was really good. The schedule looks awesome.