As part of this workshop, we will cover the creation and establishment of a web performance dashboard with the ultimate goal of leaving the room with a working, if somewhat limited, portal using a variety of free and/or open source projects and resources.
Starting with WebPageTest, we will cover public and private instances, the API, scheduling jobs, running synthetic tests, configuring relays, as well as the collection and storage of the results for later display in aggregate form. Additionally, we will discuss the primary difference between synthetic and real user monitoring (R.U.M.) and how they relate to each other.
With the introduction to R.U.M., we will further explore the insights that R.U.M. can provide by linking key business metrics (such as conversion, engagement, bounce rates, etc.) to site performance using a tool like Google Analytics & Google Webmaster Tools. More specifically, inside Google Analytics we will provide an overview of the available performance data, limitations on the number of measurements, and how to increase the sample rate for smaller sites using _setSiteSpeedSampleRate(). Moving beyond Google Analytics we will also introduce boomerang.js, how it works, its configuration and management, the complexities surrounding the calculation of page performance without support from the Navigation Timing specification, creating a beacon server, collecting data, and processing the results. As an aside, we will emphasize the synergy between R.U.M. and synthetic testing in which R.U.M. thresholds are used to trigger synthetic tests to provide additional insight and analysis.
As part of the above presentation, we will also discuss some of the other tools and community resources available and how someone might leverage them for simple long term trending with a minimum of overhead such as the HTTP Archive and ShowSlow.
Specific technologies and software discussed in the presentation includes, but is not limited to, both the public and private instances of WebPageTest, Google Analytics (and by extension Google Webmaster Tools), boomerang.js, ShowSlow, and the HTTP Archive.
Under the best and most ideal circumstances, we would like to provide or distribute a working virtual machine running Linux which can be run via the free VirtualBox.org to allow the audience to follow along as well provide working installations of the above which they can experiment with right there in the hall and use for basic testing. This will hopefully allow the audience to better focus on the material and methods rather than the configuration of open source packages and their dependencies.
Aaron Kulick is an guerilla engineer currently working inside the @platform team of WalmartLabs. He first came to the web performance community thinking it was just another data point in his previous life as systems engineer, but quickly found himself moonlighting on projects linking synthetic performance and browser automation with real user monitoring (R.U.M.).
Aaron is also the founder of the San Francisco & Silicon Valley Web Performance Group (www.sfwebperf.org) which is fast approaching the completion of its second year and is the largest Web Performance group outside of Velocity. He tweets occasionally as @GoFastWeb.
Cliff Crocker, formerly the VP of product for SOASTA, Inc. where he focused on performance monitoring of web and mobile applications, previously led the performance, reliability, and site analytics initiatives for @WalmartLabs.
Cliff is also an active participant in the web performance community, evangelizing the importance of correlating performance metrics with business intelligence to drive development efforts within e-commerce.
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