Why is my web page slow? YSlow for Firebug can tell you.

Yahoo have released a very useful extension for Firebug, which is itself an extension for Firefox, which can be used to analyze a web page’s performance. The extension, called YSlow, appears as a separate pane in Firebug, and gives you a whole load of statistics about your page.

However, in addition to the bare numbers, it also gives your page a ranking, from zero to a hundred, and offers tips in plain English on you can improve the performance of your page.

All in all, a very handy little addition to a web developer’s toolkit.

One caveat is that it is of course not perfect – I tried to use it on Gmail, and it gave the site a 98% mark (practically impossible to achieve in reality), as the initial page of the Gmail application simply loads a single JavaScript page and not much else. Therefore, YSlow seems to only analyze content sent down the wire to browser upon page load, and ignores generated content. However, this does not take away from the fact that it is perfectly suitable for the vast majority of websites out there.

More information available here, or read Ajaxian’s post here.
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Flickr and Dojo Image Gallery

I have created an Image Gallery widget built on Dojo 0.4.3 that integrates nicely with Flickr. The widget it written entirely using JavaScript and CSS as a standalone Dojo widget, and is released under the same open source license as Dojo, the Academic Free License.

For more information, including the code and examples, see http://www.skynet.ie/~sos/ajax/imagegallery.php.

Some of the features of the widget include:

  • Pages of thumbnails.
  • Intelligent pre-loading of images so the images you are looking at are loaded first.
  • Fade effects for transitioning of images
  • Populated using JSON data – any JSON data, not just Flickr.
  • Flickr integration – remotely load your Flickr images.
  • Paging through a Flickr collection.
  • Slideshow

The widget can be instantiated from both HTML markup and programmatically in JavaScript.

To view your own Flickr pictures on the widget, without installing it on your own site, go to http://www.skynet.ie/~sos/ajax/yourpics.php .

There is a discussion thread in the Flickr API group at http://www.flickr.com/groups/api/discuss/72157600624623643.

So, why create this widget? Well, firstly I wanted a JavaScript image gallery that would list thumbnails and allow me to page through Flickr photos. Also, a slide show would have been nice. I was surprised to discover that I couldn’t find one that I liked in the twenty or so minutes I spent looking for one. I found a handy Flash based one, but I wanted a HTML and JavaScript only widget. So I grabbed Dojo 0.4.3 (my JavaScript library of choice right now) and wrote one.

Here is a screen shot:


The widget has all the features that I personally require at the moment, but will probably evolve as I think of new things to add. If you have any suggestions/bug reports, please comment on this post.

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