Archived entries for Tutorials

Speaking at Web Design World in Chicago

I’m happy to announce that I’ll be giving two presentations at the Web Design World conference in Chicago in May. My first session, the plenary on Tuesday, defines and discusses Professional Frontend Engineering. The second explores way to enhance web sites with the YUI Library. (Full descriptions of both talks below.)

Speaking at Web Design World, Chicago, May 5-7 2008

You can save up to $300 on registration when you register online (or via 800-280-6218) and use my special promo code SPKOE. Plus, using that code is worth a couple drinks on me after the sessions!

Here are longer descriptions of the two sessions. I’m still creating both of them, so please feel free to leave a comment below with feedback or requests for stuff you’d like to hear about.

Professional Frontend Engineering

“In 2001, most web developers simply pushed pixels. The Web was pieced together by print designers and back-end engineers – almost no one was deeply focused on the front-end. Today, in 2008, as front-end engineers we author complex and efficient software and bend reluctant browsers to our will. And we are broadly recognized and respected as a first-order engineering specialization.

In this talk, I will define the characteristics and important practices of our discipline. I’ll discuss the key challenges we still face. And I’ll offer 13 tactical tips from the front lines that you can put into practice today.”

Enhancing Web Sites with the Yahoo! User Interface (YUI) Library

“YUI is chock full of more than 40 utilities, widgets and tools that make web development and browser-wrangling less painful for small personal sites and heavy-duty industry-leading applications alike. This all-new talk covers what’s new in 2008 (lots), what’s coming next (some very cool stuff), and some practical tips from the trenches. If you’re a seasoned YUI pro, you’ll learn about hidden features and optimization tips. If you’ve never heard of YUI, you’ll learn how to get started. And if you use a different library, you’ll learn about YUI’s library-agnostic tools for things like compression, profiling and unit testing. It’s gonna be fun.”

Meet Up?

I’m looking forward to meeting designers and developers from all around Chicagoland. Please drop me a comment or email if you’re gonna be at the show — or even just in the area — and want to catch up for a drink or dinner. (I’m also planning on being in Madison, Wisconsin — my hometown — the weekend before the conference. So give me a shout if you’re in that neck of the woods.

The Details

See you there!

Foreward to O’Reilly’s High Performance Web Sites Book by Steve Souders

Steve Souders wrote High Performance Web Sites: Essential Knowledge for Front-End Engineers last year for O’Reilly. He generously invited me to write the foreward.

The book was published about six months ago, but in writing the my last blog post (on the 20 new rules just released) I noticed that I didn’t have an easily-accessible copy of my contribution. So, please forgive me for pasting it here for future reference.

Book Cover: High Performance Web Sites

Foreword

You’re lucky to be holding this book. More importantly, your web site’s users are lucky. Implement even a few of the 14 techniques Steve shares in this groundbreaking book and your site will be faster immediately. Your users will thank you.

Here is why it matters. As a frontend engineer, you hold a tremendous amount of power and responsibility. You’re the users’ last line of defense. The decisions you make directly shape their experience. I believe our number one job is to take care of them and to give them what they want—quickly. This book is a toolbox to create happy users (and bosses, too). Best of all, once you put these techniques in place—in most cases, a one-time tweak—you’ll be reaping the rewards far into the future.

This book will change your approach to performance optimization. When Steve began researching performance for our Platform Engineering group at Yahoo!, I believed performance was mainly a backend issue. But he showed that frontend issues account for 80% of total time. I thought frontend performance was about optimizing images and keeping CSS and JavaScript external, but the 176 pages and 14 rules you’re holding in your hand right now are proof that it’s much more.

I’ve applied his findings to several sites. Watching already-fast sites render nearly twice as quickly is tremendous. His methodology is sound, his data valid and extensive, and his findings compelling and impactful.

The discipline of frontend engineering is still young, but the book in your hands is an important step in the maturation of our craft. Together we’ll raise expectations about the Web by creating better and faster (and therefore more enjoyable) interfaces and experiences.

Cheers to faster surfing!

–Nate Koechley

Senior Frontend Engineer
Yahoo! User Interface (YUI) Team,
Platform Engineering, Yahoo! Inc.

San Francisco, August, 2007

The 34-Blade Razor from Yahoo!

Congratulations to my friend and colleague Stoyan Stefanov for the publication of Yahoo!’s Latest Performance Breakthroughs after presenting them at the PHP Quebec Conference in Montreal last week. The 20 new tips bring to 34 the total performance tips his team at Yahoo! has published in the past two years.

Stoyan (who authors the phpied.com blog) is part of an established tradition of Yahoo! sharing performance research publicly and widely. Stoyan’s teammate Tenni Theurer concluded the official blog post announcing these data and findings by saying, “We share our findings so that others can join us in accelerating the user experience on the web.”

I agree. That’s why I was honored to help disperse their 14 Rules for Faster Web Sites in my presentation at the @Media conference in London last year.

And that’s why it was a special honor to write the foreward to Steve Souders’ High Performance Web Sites book for O’Reilly last year. (Steve used to head up the Performance team at Yahoo!.) In the foreward I tried to express why performance matters to professional frontend engineers:

Here is why it matters. As a frontend engineer, you hold a tremendous amount of power and responsibility. You’re the users’ last line of defense. The decisions you make directly shape their experience. I believe our number one job is to take care of them and to give them what they want—quickly. This book is a toolbox to create happy users (and bosses, too). Best of all, once you put these techniques in place—in most cases, a one-time tweak—you’ll be reaping the rewards far into the future.

Read more about Yahoo!’s Latest Performance Breakthroughs on the Yahoo! Developer Network site.

Leopard 10.5.1 Update Breaks Cisco VPN, with Fix

I updated my Mac to Leopard a few weeks ago. All good.

Yesterday I ran the update to 10.5.1. Not so good: It knocked out my Cisco VPN client. Permanently. Rebooting did not help. Reinstalling did not help. (I rely on VPN non-stop, even to retrieve my office email.)

So today I poked around for a while and after some deep searching found the fix. It’s easy, and worked for me on the first try. The solution was on Anders Brownworth’s site (thanks Anders!), and I’m reprinting an excerpt here in the hopes that it will make it easier to find for somebody else.

If you are running Cisco’s VPNClient on Mac OSX, you might be familiar with (or tormented by) “Error 51: Unable to communicate with the VPN subsystem”. The simple fix is to quit VPNClient, open a Terminal window, (Applications -> Utilities -> Terminal) and type the following:

sudo /System/Library/StartupItems/CiscoVPN/CiscoVPN restart

and give your password when it asks. This will stop and start the “VPN Subsystem”, or in other words restart the CiscoVPN.kext extension.

How to Use YUI Grids for Fluid CSS Page Layout

For those of you not reading 24ways each day this month, allow me to point out that I wrote a tutorial for it that’s live right now. It’s called Intricate Fluid Layouts in Three Easy Steps, and teaches you how to build CSS layouts that work on all modern browsers effortlessly using YUI Grids. Enjoy!

Also, I suppose I should let you know that I’m flying out on a redeye flight tonight to start my winter holiday. I hope to write once more before shuttering things, but if I don’t get a chance let me be among the first to wish you a very happy new year.

Web Site Optimization – Part 1

Over on the YUI Blog, Tenni Theurer has just posted part 1 in a series sharing what we’ve found by researching web site optimization. At conferences over the last six months I’ve given hints about some of our research findings, and told you there were more to come, and so I’m especially happy to finally have something to show. The #1 rule of better performance is to reduce HTTP requests. We’ll talk about how and why in future posts, but for now head over and read her first installment:

Performance Research, Part 1: What the 80/20 Rule Tells Us about Reducing HTTP Requests



San Francisco, California | Creative Commons By-2.5 License | Contact

RSS Feed. This blog is proudly powered by Wordpress and uses Modern Clix, a theme by Rodrigo Galindez.