Google Speed Tracer Makes AJAX Optimization Easier

SpeedTracer-SluggishnessDetailGoogle today announced Speed Tracer as part of their Google Web Toolkit offerings. While most of the GWT focuses on enabling developers to create web applications in Java (which compiles down to optimized JavaScript), Speed Tracer is a useful profiling tool for any developer wrestling with XMLHttpRequest.

What makes Speed Tracer different?

Developers have long used Firebug to identify what AJAX requests were causing bottlenecks and to analyze responses to those requests. Firebug is an extremely powerful tool and does a serviceable job with this approach, but Speed Tracer takes things one step further, analyzing the “sluggishness” of your application by examining how busy or blocked the UI is in your browser. This can help developers analyze why their application feels slow, instead of simply focusing on network-based bottlenecks.

Speed Tracer makes use of specific, unique APIs built into Webkit for this very purpose, which gives it a unique advantage compared to other profiling tools. Instead of simply guessing and checking, developers will now have full visibility into what’s causing their applications to appear slow:

Using Speed Tracer you are able to get a better picture of where time is being spent in your application. This includes problems caused by JavaScript parsing and execution, layout, CSS style recalculation and selector matching, DOM event handling, network resource loading, timer fires, XMLHttpRequest callbacks, painting, and more.

Very cool stuff. What’s more, it’s free, open source, and available for users of Google Chrome right now. Check out their tutorial below:

Google Speed Tracer

Posted in: Cool Stuff, Development, Tech News

Firebug and All Its Fancy: Powering A Web Revolution

John Resig (creator of JQuery) posted an absolutely great piece on how JavaScript/DOM debugger/profiler extension Firebug is truly powering a web revolution.

He examines in good detail some of the things Firebug has enabled developers to do: Things like real-time analysis of applied styles to elements of the DOM and how exactly your stylesheets cascade, let alone the ability to manipulate them in-browser. Things like the ability to profile JavaScript and network performance with a level of granularity and accuracy you could only dream of before—let alone the ability to monitor AJAX calls and debug them. And a bunch more.

He also posits what’s next for Firebug, with some good suggestions for things like visual performance profiling, AJAX-request manual triggering and a few others.

What’s most fascinating to me, though, is the sheer volume of downloads of the Firebug extension. We’re talking 6.2 million downloads since its release. Consider that number for a second. Even if 70% of those are duplicate downloads and only 30% of those downloads are unique users, that’s still 1.8 million developers. Now, Firebug isn’t an add-on for regular users. It’s strictly a power-user/developer tool. Hell, even the Firebug plugin YSlow has over 380,000 downloads.

I think it speaks volumes about the state of the industry and the real web revolution we have on our hands here: Creating applications, making useful tools and delivering quality results are elements within reach of so many more individuals, with such lower barriers to entry, considerably lower costs and a greatly smoothed learning curve.

Powering A Web Revolution [John Resig] | Firebug Extension

Posted in: Cool Stuff, Development