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High Performance Responsive Design by Tom Barker

User Rating:★★★★★ / 1
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Recension 16 November 2014 - 

It seems that I have a little bit of time these days. Luckily and thanks to the O'Reilly Reader Review Program I was able to get access to "High Performance Responsive Design" by Tom Barker. Actually, after my last review it was a tough preference compared to "MongoDB - The Definitive Guide" - which is hopefully now next on my reading list. Thanks to approximately 176 pages I was able to dig through this title very quickly, and honestly it was a great experience. Looking forward to see more on this topic.

At the time of writing this review it wasn't available on Amazon yet:

This item has not been released yet and is not eligible to be reviewed.

Anyway, here's my summary which I'm going to publish on the 5th December on Amazon, too:

What an eye-opener!

Although, as good as everyone working in the field of web sites or web application development is talking about Responsive Web Development (RWD) Tom Barker has a simple but nevertheless shocking statement: You're doing it wrong!

Okay, almost... Even though the title is explicitly addressed to web-frontend developers I would rather see it as a guidance for the web-backend developer. Yes, Tom starts his semi-scientific observations on the appearance of web sites but the actual improvement is supposed to happen on the server-side. Responsive Web Development covers way more aspects than just seemless arrangement and dynamic positioning of <div> sections and images. It's about network & bandwidth usage, battery life-time on mobile devices, load performance and rendering time, and other metrics related to surfing web sites.

Thanks to Tom's experience as Director of Software Engineering and Development at Comcast, and an Adjunct Professor at Philadelphia University he seems to have a fable to bring the full story in easy to understand steps to the reader. Chapter by chapter he first addresses commonly used practices, then sheds some light on the individual aspects to finally point out what's wrong with those approaches - inclusive famous anti-patterns - and how it could be improved for better user experience on various devices. Modern web development - as advocated by others, too - should be based on mobile first experience. Start with the smallest screen, with the lowest resources and then extend the user experience gradually until reaching 4K smart TV environment. Define your development iterations on swag - Scientific Wild-Ass Guess or sometimes more politely called guesstimate - and specify your performance service-level agreement (SLA) as early as possible. Thanks to a test-driven development (TDD), use of headless web browser technology and performing continuous integration (CI) one can easily keep track of code commits and their impact on the existing code base.

As a full-stack developer and recently involved in a greenfield web development project based on the MEAN-stack I am very glad that I read this book title at a very early stage of our project. Without any hesitation I'm going to recommend this book to any team member, maybe even ask them to read it as a compulsory lecture. Furthermore, I'd like to pick up this topic during our next user group meetings.

   


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