A couple of weeks ago, I was lucky enough to accompany several of my colleagues to O’Reilly’s Velocity Europe conference, which this year was held in Amsterdam.
Velocity isn’t just about making the web faster – it’s also about efficient, effective devops practices. But although web performance is just one aspect of Velocity, it has still been the place to go if you’re interested in building faster websites.
Simon Hearne, Technical Consultant
The setting could hardly have been better. Barcelona was a welcome change from the cold and damp that was England in November, even if it wasn’t quite as convenient as Velocity 2013 in London.
If you’ve attended Velocity before, you’ll know that there’s always a packed schedule, and this year was no exception. After the morning plenaries the sessions break off into different streams, leaving you with a few difficult choices.
It also left me slightly nervous. I was speaking (alongside Andy Davies) at 4pm on day one, and I couldn’t help looking at what else was going on at the same time. Presenting to a big crowd would be fine – talking to a few stragglers who’d got lost on the way to the coffee machine would be downright embarrassing.
In the event, I needn’t have worried. Our talk on third-parties was both well attended and well received. It also felt like we had touched a nerve – a lot of people are struggling to deal with third-party content. No matter how much effort you put into developing a great website, letting third parties on to it can undo all of your work on performance.
It’s quite hard to attend a Velocity conference and not come away inspired. For me, Velocity Europe last week was no exception. However, this year the general atmosphere of enthusiasm that characterises these events was tempered by a certain realism. There was a recognition that we still have a long way to go and that there are still some performance problems to which there are no satisfactory solutions.
Of course, that’s part of what makes the world of web performance exciting and why I love Velocity. We weren’t just going over the same old ground, repackaging the same old messages. While some of those messages remain as valid as ever, a lot is changing.