Web Performance Community & Conversation
I first started talking about web performance in 2007. My first blog post was The Importance of Front-End Performance over on YDN in March 2007. The next month Tenni Theurer and I spoke at Web 2.0 Expo on High Performance Webpages. I hadn’t spoken at a conference since 1990 – 17 years earlier! This speaking appearance was before YSlow and my book High Performance Web Sites had been released. There was no conversation around web performance at this time – at least none that I was aware of.
Our 3 hour (!) workshop was schedule for 9:30am on a Sunday morning. Tenni and I thought we were doomed. I told her we should expect 20 or so people, and not to be disappointed if the audience was small. I remember it was a beautiful day in San Francisco and I thought to myself, “If I was here for a conference I would be out touring San Francisco rather than sitting in a 3 hour workshop at 9:30 on a Sunday morning.”
Tenni and I were surprised that we’d been assigned to a gigantic ballroom. We were also surprised that there were already 20+ people there when we arrived early to setup. But the real surprise came while we sat there waiting to start – nearly 300 people flowed into the room. We looked at each other with disbelief. Wow!
Constant blogging, open sourcing, and public speaking carried the conversation forward. The first Velocity conference took place in June 2008 with ~500 attendees. Velocity 2012 had ~2500 attendees, and now takes place on three continents. The conversation has certainly grown!
That was a fun look at the past, but what I really wanted to do in this blog post was highlight three critical places where the web performance conversation is being held now.
- Web Performance Meetups – Sergey Chernyshev started the New York Web Performance Group in April 2009. Today there are 46 Web Performance meetups with 16,631 members worldwide. Wow! This is a huge community and a great format for web performance enthusiasts to gather and share what they’ve learned to continue to make the Web even faster.
- Exceptional Performance mailing list - I started the Exceptional Performance team at Yahoo! In doing so I also created the Exceptional Performance Yahoo! Group with its associated mailing list. This group has atrophied in recent years, but I’m going to start using it again as a way to communicate to dedicated web performance developers. It currently has 1340 members and the spam rate is low. I encourage you to sign up and read & post messages on the list.
- PerfPlanet.com – I’ll be honest – I think my blog is really good. And while I encourage you to subscribe to my RSS feed, it’s actually more important that you subscribe to the feed from PerfPlanet.com. Stoyan Stefanov, another former member of the Exceptional Performance team, maintains the site including its awesome Performance Calendar (now in its fourth instantiation). Stoyan has collected ~50 of the best web performance blogs. This is my main source for the latest news and developments in the world of web performance.
It’s exciting to see our community grow. I still believe we’re at the tip of the iceberg. Back in 2007 I would have never predicted that we’d have 16K web performance meetup members, 2500 Velocity attendees, and 1340 mailing list members. I wonder what it’ll be in 2014. It’s fun to imagine.