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by Stephen Logan on 13th June 2011
Site speed became the talk of the search industry for a few months in 2009. This came after Google officially announced that they would be taking page load time into account when ranking sites, which led many to make long-overdue changes.
One of the key initiatives to come out of this was SPDY – essentially a Google-generated, turbo-boosted HTML code. Now it appears that SPDY has gone from a hypothetical concept to a practical, and saleable service; with Strangeloop being the first to actually offer it to site owners.
It’s important to note that this isn’t a new alternative HTML, or at least it’s not entirely different form of coding. In fact it still relies heavily on the existing principles, albeit with added layers to help speed up the processing time. For many site owners this should be viewed as good news. There are plenty of domains still blighted by page load issues; therefore applying SPDY could eradicate these loading issues.
Whilst the SPDY code is still far from being commonplace, there is every chance that it could become far more widespread soon. In fact, according to The Register, Chrome is the only platform to be using it on the front-end (albeit, not too surprisingly). The figures all look positive though, with most sites apparently seeing a “10 to 20 per cent” improvement in load time. Returning to the earlier point, this won’t just help to provide users with a better experience, it should also translate to increased performance in Google itself.
Speed is of the essence today. Whilst connection speeds are improving, the proliferation of technology (particularly the increase in – slower – mobile devices) site owners can’t assume that everybody can access their domain swiftly. There are many ways that you can improve load times, including compressing images/files and hosting content externally. However SPDY, and more particularly the Strangeloop Site Optimizer Service appears to go further than this.
As mentioned, this code will only work on the Chrome platform at present, conventional HTML will be used on Firefox, Internet Explorer etc. But this is certainly an interesting development and one that could develop further in the future. Whether new protocols are created or SPDY becomes more widespread remains to be seen.