Pingdom’s Speed Test is a Must

pingdomOne of my favorite services for developers and entrepreneurs is Pingdom. They offer a tool which notifies you if your website is down or non-responsive. I also like Pingdom because their staff is very responsive. The company is based in Sweden.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been working on testing and optimizing the speed of my websites. Google has stated that the faster a website is, that there might be a chance for better rankings. Better speed also makes for a better experience and more importantly for a smaller load in weight and time.

Pingdom has a speed testing tool which I’ve been using and it’s really sweet. It’s free to use and you can test to your heart’s delight. By using the Pingdom speed test tool, I found that my style sheet was pulling in old images. By removing those images, I increased the speed by nearly 50% overall.

The tool tracks: total loading time, total objects, external domains, html, xhtml, css, images, scripts and plugins. The graph loads in real-time so you can watch how a browser loads your objects one by one. There are tools including Yahoo’s YSlow and Google Chrome offers some of this functionality but the Pingdom tool just seems easier to use and you can save the tests as well.

Leave a comment if you know of other good, reliable speed testing tools.

Microsoft Develops a Web Site Testing Tool

Presumably as an answer to Adobe’s Meermeer testing suite, Microsoft is currently developing a tool to allow you to compare your Web site among various browsers. The tool is currently called “SuperPreview” and is apparently going to be a part of the next “Expression Web” suite (which seems to be a cross between the next incarnation of FrontPage and Microsoft’s answer to Dreamweaver).

Having not tried either Meermeer (MM) or SuperPreview (SP), here is a list of the pros and cons I’ve been able to gleen from various blog posts about the products:

  • SP will be a standalone application and will apparently not require an Internet connection. MM will be Flash-based, hosted solution.
  • SP only works on Windows, and will, initially, only support IE, Firefox and Safari (the demo version only supports IE). MM will work from any Flash-enabled browser.
  • SP allows you to overlay one browser’s rendering above another browser’s rendering and will even allow you to overlay the live site on top of a Photoshop file. MM has a feature called “OnionSkin,” which apparently allows you to overlay multiple views of the site on top of each other. I’m not sure if it will have any support for Photoshop files or not (wouldn’t that be ironic if Microsoft’s tool supported Photoshop and Adobe’s didn’t?).

It will be truly interesting to watch the development of both of these tools. I will definitely be pushing for the ability to use both in my professional life (and, if I can afford it, in my part-time side work, as well). For now, though, we all have to continue using IETester, MultipleIE and BrowserShots while keeping multiple browsers installed locally to try to test our sites in multiple browsers.