Velocity Conference Europe 2012 - Roundup

This week saw the return of Velocity Conference Europe to our shores. With a great line up of speakers, this conference is a gathering of hundreds of web ops and performance professionals that get together to share their ideas and expertise. Without a doubt, this is one of my favourite conferences.

Velocity Conference Logo

In my next few blog posts, I hope to cover some of the great things that I have learnt while attending this conference. In the meantime, I wanted to put together a collection of links and slides that relate to the different presentations. My brain is still reeling with hundreds of ideas and my notepad seems to reflect this!

Velocity Conference Notes

The following are just a few of the presentations that stood out for me. For more information on the conference and the other presentations, please see the website.

Move Fast and Ship Things - Girish Patangay (Facebook)

The conference kicked off with an exciting talk from Girish Patangay, one of the release engineers at Facebook. Surprisingly, Facebook deploy new code at least twice a day every day to tens of thousands of servers! The Facebook source code is largely written in PHP and in order to improve the scalability of its PHP-based infrastructure, Facebook developed a special compiler called HipHop. HipHop compiles all their PHP code into a single 1.5 GB binary. Deploying a 1.5 GB file across all of their servers can take time and in order to speed the process up, they use a BitTorrent deployment system. To read more about their deployment process, check out this link. - Patrick Meenan (Google)

I have been using for some time now to test the speed and performance of my websites from different locations around the world. Patrick Meenan from Google gave a presentation on some of the newer features of such as the SPOF tab and the ability to profile a website using a mobile phone agent. If you haven't used before, I thoroughly recommend that you check it out. The site is totally free, and it can give you an interesting insight into how your website performs from other locations throughout the world.

Make Your Mobile Web Apps Fly - Sam Dutton (Google)

Sam Dutton from Google gave a talk about mobile web performance and ways that you can improve the speed of your mobile web applications. Below is a list of a few of the topics that he talked about:

-- Creating Fast Buttons for Mobile Web Applications -

-- Who killed my battery? An interesting insight into the way that bad code can affect the battery performance of a mobile website.

-- Unnecessary JavaScript code can be wasteful. Use a code coverage tool to remove any unused code.

Scaling Instagram - Mike Krieger (Instagram)

Instagram has been a huge success and was recently bought by Facebook for $1 billion. They have surpassed the 80 million user mark, and not surprisingly Mike Krieger gave an interesting presentation about the techniques that Instagram use to scale their services. The team at Instagram only consists of 7 people. Considering that the website has such a massive user base, this is a monumentous accomplishment!

I have included a link to the presentation below:

Mobile Profiling - Remy Sharp (Left Logic)

If you develop websites for mobile devices, you will know what a pain debugging and profiling can be. Most of the mobile browsers don't really come with adequate debugging tools and simulators just don't get close enough to the real thing. Remy Sharp gave a great presentation about mobile profiling and some of the ways that you can get around the problems that mobile developers face. One of the tools that you can use is Remy developed this himself in order to solve a few of the problems that he was having while debugging a mobile website.

Another free tool is IWebInspector which allows you to debug Safari on iPad and iPhone.

To wrap up...

I was also lucky enough to bump into Steve Souders who was one of the hosts for this years event.

Velocity Conference Steve Souders

He is a great guy and if you haven't already done so, I recommend checking out his website. If you are interested in web performance he has two great books - High Performance Websites & Even Faster Websites. That's about it for this year's event. If you get the chance next year, I thoroughly recommend attending this conference!