Tuesday, November 23, 2010

abc of HTTP cookie .. detailed look

we know well about cookie, how we create and how it works but still i seen some gap to understand it well .. might be i am not so much confidence about cookie :P

A web server specifies a cookie to be stored by sending an HTTP header called Set-Cookie. The format of the Set-Cookie header is a string as follows (parts in square brackets are optional):
Set-Cookie: value[; expires=date][; domain=domain][; path=path][; secure]

The first part of the header, the value, is typically a string in the format name=value. Indeed, the original specification indicates that this is the format to use but browsers do no such validation on cookie values. You can, in fact, specify a string without an equals sign and it will be stored just the same. Still, the most common usage is to specify a cookie value as name=value (and most interfaces support this exclusively).

When a cookie is present, and the optional rules allow, the cookie value is sent to the server with each subsequent request. The cookie value is stored in an HTTP header called Cookie and contains just the cookie value without any of the other options. Such as:
Cookie: value

If there are multiple cookies for the given request, then they are separated by a semicolon and space, such as:
Cookie: value1; value2; name1=value1
The next option is domain, which indicates the domain(s) for which the cookie should be sent. Another way to control when the Cookie header will be sent is to specify the path option. Similar to the domain option, path indicates a URL path that must exist in the requested resource before sending the Cookie header. When a cookie is created with an expiration date, that expiration date relates to the cookie identified by name-domain-path-secure. In order to change the expiration date of a cookie, you must specify the exact same tuple.

Keep in mind that the expiration date is checked against the system time on the computer that is running the browser. There is no way to verify that the system time is in sync with the server time and so errors may occur when there is a discrepancy between the system time and the server time.

There are a few reasons why a cookie might be automatically removed by the browser:
Session cookies are removed when the session is over (browser is closed).
Persistent cookies are removed when the expiration date and time have been reached.
If the browser’s cookie limit is reached, then cookies will be removed to make room for the most recently created cookie.

Cookie restrictions:-
There are a number of restrictions placed on cookies in order to prevent abuse and protect both the browser and the server from detrimental effects. There are two types of restrictions: number of cookies and total cookie size. The original specification placed a limit of 20 cookies per domain, which was followed by early browsers and continued up through Internet Explorer 7. During one of Microsoft’s updates, they increased the cookie limit in IE 7 to 50 cookies. IE 8 has a maximum of 50 cookies per domain as well. Firefox also has a limit of 50 cookies while Opera has a limit of 30 cookies. Safari and Chrome have no limit on the number of cookies per domain.

The maximum size for all cookies sent to the server has remained the same since the original cookie specification: 4 KB. Anything over that limit is truncated and won’t be sent to the server.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Web site Front-end optimization headaches

I have seen that typically 80-90% of page response time comes from other things than fetching HTML of the page :- fetching CSS, JavaScript, Images,banners which makes it number one thing to focus your optimization. Sharing few points, specially for front-end optimization. Hope this will be helpful.

1. Try to split initial payload .. first load all required js to load page then other scripts/things.
Lazyload,ajaxload,load scripts in parrller,load script after on windowload, these are different things and you must know about it.When the browser starts downloading an external script, it won’t start any additional downloads until the script has been completely downloaded, parsed, and executed. So load external scripts asynchronously only. we also need to care about inline JS, here we can use callback functions,timers,on window load etc see following chart , here few techniques are listed to load JS scripts.

2. Flushing the Document Early:-

 As the server parses the PHP page, all output is written to STDOUT. Rather than being sent immediately, one character, word, or line at a time, the output is queued up and sent to the browser in larger chunks. This is more efficient because it results in fewer packets being sent from the server to the browser. Each packet sent incurs some network latency, so it’s usually better to send a small number of large packets, rather than a large number of small packets. Calling flush() causes anything queued up in STDOUT to be sent immediately. How- ever, simply flushing STDOUT isn’t enough to achieve the type of speedup experienced in the preceding example. The call to flush has to be made in the right place. idea is , flush before a long time taking process, it can be divide as module wise also like header,footer,sidebar,widgets etc.

3. Repaint and Reflow is costly:-

A repaint occurs when a visual change doesn't require recalculation of layout Changes to visibility, colors (text/background), background images, etc.
A reflow occurs when a visual change requires a change in layout Initial page load
 browser resize,DOM structure change,layout style change layout information retrieved

4. Eliminate unnecessary cookies:- 

Keep cookie sizes as low as possible to minimize the impact on the user response time,Be mindful of setting cookies at the appropriate domain level so other sub-domains are not affected

5. DOM manipulations are the slowest,Never update the DOM, if that's not possible, at least do it as infrequently as possible. Bunch up your updates to the DOM and save them for a later time.

6. Clone the DOM node you want to work with. Now you will be working with a clone of the real node, and the cloned node doesn't exist in the DOM. Updating the cloned node doesn't affect the DOM. When you are done with your manipulations, replace the original node with the cloned node.

7. However, note that the performance problems in point 4, because of the content and rendering reflow that the browser has to do. You might get similar benefits by simply hiding the element first, making the changes, and then showing it.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


When we load PHP into Apache as a module (using mod_php), each Apache process we run will also contain a PHP interpreter which in turn will load all the compiled in libraries which themselves are not exactly small.

This means that even if the Apache process that just started will only serve images, it will contain a PHP interpreter with all assigned libraries. That in turn means that said Apache process uses a lot of memory and takes some time to start up (because PHP and all the shared libraries it's linked to need to be loaded). Wasted energy if the file that needs to be served in an image or a CSS file.

FastCGI in contrast loads the PHP interpreter into memory, keeps it there and Apache will only use these processes to serve the PHP requests.

That means that all the images and CSS, flashes and whatever other static content we may have can be served by a much smaller Apache process that does not contain a scripting language interpreter and that does not link in a bunch of extra libraries (think libxml, libmysqlclient, and so on).

Even if we only serve pages parsed by PHP - maybe because we process our stylesheets with PHP and because we do something with the served images - we are theoretically still better off with FastCGI as Apache will recycle its processes here and then (though that's configurable) while FastCGI processes stay there.

And if we go on and need to load-balance your application, FastCGI still can provide advantages: In the common load balancing scenario, we have a reverse proxy or a load balancer and a bunch of backend servers actually doing the work. In that case, if we use FastCGI, the backend servers will be running our PHP application and noting else. No web server loading an interpreter loading our script. Just the interpreter and our script. So we safe a whole lot of memory by not loading another web server in the backend (Yes. FastCGI works over the network).