Monthly Archives: July 2007

YSlow Website Performance Tool Released

Earlier this week Yahoo! released a public version of an internal website performance tool called YSlow. Visit the YSlow page for instruction and downloads. YSlow runs on Firefox and requires the Firebug extension.

I’ve used YSlow a lot to help improve the Messenger web sites, so I’m pretty familiar with its operation. I can see where some people using it on either personal blogs or smaller sites will be surprised a the somewhat harsh grading for things like using a CDN. For a large site with huge traffic like Yahoo, it’s a no-brainer, but for a small blog it doesn’t make much sense. (See also Paul Stamatiou’s review for more of an explanation on this.)

That being said, I think there is value for developers to run the tool and gauge their site against the rules for high-performance web pages. YSlow provides some great detailed screens that will show you which of your content is gzipped and cached effectively, versus that which is not.

I ran the tool on my own site and initially got a grade letter D! I made one quick change to disable ETags which raised me up to a C. See the screenshot below for an example.

(Via Jeremy Zawodney)

Screenshot of YSlow running on Cantoni.org

iPhone “Simulator”

iPhoney: It’s not quite a simulator, but will certainly help web developers understand what their sites will look like from an iPhone. Since the iPhone uses Safari, the iPhoney app can use the same on an OS X system to provide a pretty decent testbed:

Looking for a way to see how your web creations will look on iPhone? Look no further. iPhoney gives you a pixel-accurate web browsing environment—powered by Safari—that you can use when developing web sites for iPhone. It’s the perfect 320 by 480-pixel canvas for your iPhone development. And it’s free.

iPhoney Example Screenshot

Palm Desktop Near the End?

Having worked for Palm for as long as I did (and having managed the desktop software team), I’ve continue to stick with Palm Desktop to keep track of my contacts, calendar and so on. Today it crashed on me, so I clicked Yes to send the error report to Microsoft. I know there’s no one at Palm that will ever pick up these crash reports, but it’s an old habit.

The Microsoft Windows Error Reporting site gave this summary of my problem:

This problem was caused by Palm Desktop. Palm Desktop was created by PalmSource, Inc.. Microsoft has been unable to contact the manufacturer and has no further information available at this time.

Ouch! Even better was their final recommendation:

If you are unable to fix this problem and continue to receive errors, you can also remove Palm Desktop.

If you want to get a glimpse of the current level of support, check out the Palm Desktop download page. I challenge you to make sense of all the notes and caveats on that page. Don’t even think about running it on Vista — it’s not supported.

I guess Palm Desktop is getting near the end of its useful life. Maybe we’ll all just switch to Outlook and get it over with.

Russell Beattie Blogging Again

Russell Beattie, a mobile developer and now entrepreneur, took a break from blogging for the last year, but is back at it again. If you’re interested in mobile devices and trends, Russell’s blog is worth following: Russell Beattie’s Weblog » Filling in the gaps.

Also worth checking out is Russell’s new site Mowser which transforms normal web sites to make them readable on mobile devices. Initial results look promising and I want to dive into this a bit deeper.

Russell is also running mobitopia which is a mobile bookmark site (based on open-source software). I need to keep an eye on that for good sites to add to my mobile website list.

Testing Joomla on Windows with XAMPP

Joomla Logo

Continuing to experiment with my XAMPP setup (Apache, MySQL, Perl and PHP for Windows XP), I just installed Joomla, a popular open-source content management system.

It only took about 10 minutes to install Joomla 1.0 using these steps:

  1. Visit the Joomla project page and download Joomla
  2. Extract the files to c:\xampp\htdocs, making sure to use the folder names inside the Zip file (if done correctly, you should have a file c:\xampp\htdocs\joomla\index.php)
  3. Open the local phpMyAdmin page and login as root
  4. Select Databases and create a database named joomla with encoding utf8_unicode_ci
  5. Select Privileges tab and create a user joomla and password of your choice, allowing all privileges for the joomla database
  6. Open the local Joomla install page and follow the steps to complete the setup; when prompted for the MySQL database information, use database host localhost, name joomla, user joomla, and password as created above

Joomla’s installer is very nice and automatically detects not only required and optional software packages, but checks your PHP settings for recommended security. After setup is complete, you are prompted to delete the installation folder (for security reasons); in fact, Joomla itself won’t run until it detects the installation folder is gone.