High Performance Responsive Design [Book Review]

One of the biggest objections to responsive design is the perception is negatively affects performance. Performance concerns were my biggest hang up before I finally converted. At the time the thought of downloading a large image over GPRS to a small screen phone troubled me.

High Performance Responsive Design

Today responsive images as well as other research and best practices enable us to develop fast, responsive web applications. Tom Barker published the book High Performance Responsive Design to tackle questions around responsive design's affects on performance.

Tom breaks down responsive design into logical segments, coving common implementation problems or anti-patterns. He does this with an examination of how we got to this point and how bad responsive design habits were formed.

He then spends some time explaining the basics of web performance optimization. This is important because most web developers do not posses basic knowledge of how a page is consumed and rendered by a browser. This knowledge is crucial to architecting any web page and a responsive site only makes this more important.

Once he explains the concepts the book starts with execution. Tom lays out a basic plan of attack that should help you be a successful responsive web designer. The next section covers some server-side concepts so you can have the full picture.

This is followed up with important front-end concepts. This includes the all important responsive images. Tom covers the basics of both srcset and the new PICTURE element and where each have their strengths.

To ensure your applications perform well the book has a chapter on how to measure performance. Again this is something every web developer should have basic knowledge and employ on every project.

Finally Tom covers common, responsive, front-end CSS frameworks, from a performance perspective. This is important because this should be a critical factor when considering how you are going to architect your applications for success.

As I read through this book I kept saying 'YEAH!' as I kept getting pumped up to read someone else explain why concepts are important and how to implement them. If you need a good resource to help you sell responsive web design in your organization or to a client this book will give you solid arguments. If you need to figure out why your responsive site is not meeting your performance expectations it gives you the knowledge to examine and fix your issues. High Performance Responsive Design is a book every web developer should own, read and apply to their daily work flow.

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