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High Performance Browser Networking

4.50  ·  Rating details ·  670 ratings  ·  64 reviews
How prepared are you when it comes to building network-enabled applications? This book provides what every web developer should know about the network—from fundamental limitations that affect performance to major innovations for building even more powerful browser apps. By understanding what the browser can and cannot do, you’ll be able to make better design decisions and ...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published 2013 by O'Reilly
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Anton Antonov
Mar 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: technical
A must-read for every software developer. If you never cared about performance and speed down to the details, this book will change it.

Part I (Networking 101) is a good refresher for TCP/UDP but also a good intro to TLS. It helped me clear up some of the confusion I had for SSL and TLS. I was expecting greater overhead when using TLS but Ilya brought real data that made me realize I was wrong.

Part II (Performance of Wireless Networks) made me appreciate the book. To be honest, the rate at which
Adrian Bercovici Simon
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dina Bogdan
Nov 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book is very good and I think that it should a must-read for every developer of web-applications, but also for developers of mobile applications. It starts with the basics like Networking 101 where the most used transport protocols (IP, TCP, UDP) are discussed. Be aware that this is not a protocols book, so don't look for very in-depth details for the protocols' part.

After that talks about wireless networks, WiFi standards, and mobile networks as well. This part was hard for me because I do
Simon Eskildsen
Feb 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Most comprehensive overview of web performance I've seen. Book talks about Internet connectivity; fiber speeds and how LTE works. Configuring your edge; TLS version, HTTP2, and TCP tuning, and, how to structure your assets for performance. It doesn't go into server-side response time, databases, and so on, since that's highly specific to your stack. It goes in depth with what's constant between web application. I'd consider this necessary reading for those who are working on web performance, to ...more
Sebastian Gebski
Feb 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
10/5 stars. Not an exaggeration.

This is the best book on web development (in a very wide sense) I've read since "Tangled Web". As one of very few it doesn't stop at HTTP level, actually totally contrary - there's very little about HTTP here - it goes down through all the OSI layers & helps you to get truly familiar with optimization techniques you could apply that are aimed at TCP, UDP or even IP. I've done a lot of web development (as a developer & architect), but shamelessly I need to admit I'
May 03, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book that allowed me to revisit everything from the basics of computer networking to building higher level applications. The in-depth yet approachable explanations of TCP and TLS were especially good.

My only complaint is that the subject matter covered seemed to be somewhat arbitrary -- a huge portion of the book was devoted to describing various types of wireless standards, but without really making it into that much depth on wireless communication. It was still quite interesting though -
Jun 18, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: networking
This is a thorough, though arcane and broadly difficult to read, examination of the history and architecture of the internet. The bulk of the book has nothing to do with web development and will be of no use to a developer. It is badly marketed and not very well written, correct though it may be.
Naing Lin
Aug 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
While I reading it, a lot of flashback from my past appearing in the mind such as "only if I knew that before" or "what if I could supplement my arguments with this information" or so. I would recommend to web developers with prior one year experience otherwise you will hand full with basic. ...more
Dec 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Exceptional overview of the landscape
Arun Mahendrakar
Sep 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book introduces readers to many technologies - old and new (ish). It doesn't go very deep into any one particular technology, it is a great book that can act as a refresher, crash-course reference.

It discusses on how to optimize website's performance. I also suggest High Performance Web Sites and Even Faster Web Sites both by Steve Souders.

TCP, UDP, TLS, WiFi, and mobile networks sections / chapters have good amount of detail and some of it was new to me. The chapter on HTTP 2.0 was quite i
Swanand Pagnis
Mar 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a pretty good book. Exposes some of the complex networking concepts in a lucid manner. The modern networking chapters ( Mobile networks, HTTP 2.0, SSE, WebSockets, WebRTC ) are notably good. Independent books have been written on each chapter the author covers, so you can imagine each chapter as a condensed summary of the underlying concept. However, author does cover more than just a summary.

Overall, the book is very informative and left me wanting for more and in search of deeper mater
May 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I didn't expect to get emotional over a book of internet protocols. And yet. It's honestly an inspiring read. As we moved through various protocols, I could feel the half-century of engineering that went into designing all these procedures and standards - millions of hours of work across thousands of people. It taught me a lot about different protocols, their tradeoffs and details. I learned a lot about high performance networking. But honestly, it just made me excited to be a network engineer. ...more
Konstantin Root
Feb 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book that every front and back-end developer should read to understand low-level details of protocols that they use - if you already have knowledge in mentioned topics then it will be a good idea to refresh your knowledge.
Topics covered: TCP/UDP, HTTP 0.9-2.0/TLS/SPDY, XHR/SSE/WebSocket, WebRTC, Wireless networks (Wifi, GSM, CDMA).
I would give it 5+ if it also included information on QUIC protocol :)
Mark McGranaghan
Mar 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
An excellent overview of networking from the perspective of web and mobile clients, through the lens of application performance.

The information is timely, clearly presented, and very accessible. I especially appreciated the overviews of mobile networking and newer web protocols including HTTP 2.0 and WebRTC.

Highly recommended for anyone developing web or mobile clients or servers.
Colin Jones
Jun 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I know the title sounds like this is going to be all about browsers, but for me the huge thing was the lower-level protocol tips & evergreen optimization ideas. I expect if I was doing more client-side work day-to-day, I'd have gotten even more out of this, but it's still one of the best performance-oriented books I've read. ...more
Michael Demchuk
May 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was very educational. A lot of the complaints seem to be that they can't apply this to their code, but the point of the book was to understand the fundamentals of networking and how the entire system works. I personally found the second half of the book was more useful, once you get to HTTP, Websockets, etc. It's not always the funnest read, but it does the job. ...more
Oct 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: technical, 2013, 2019
Full review coming soon but short version: super detailed look at the elements that go in to browser performance; this isn't about concatenating your JavaScript, it's about latency and what causes it (and how to deal with it). ...more
Michael Efimov
May 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Well written and providing nice overview of current state and trends in browser and application networking, mostly long-distance. Good explanation of latency vs bandwidth, flow control and other inner workings. Disclaimer: I know the author.
Jan 09, 2018 rated it liked it
First part is pretty hardcore and left my head spinning, I liked the practical part better, some great stuff.
Jack Kenlay
Dec 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I think this book is a must-read for any web developer.

mind = blown.

It's full of content that I never thought to consider studying or to look at whilst optimising the performance of a website. It's dense and I had to revisit a few pages to learn and remember, I think the author explains all of the concepts very well.

You could argue it's a little outdated at 6 years old but I think having a foundation of underlying technologies and how the current ones improve on them.

It brushes on a broad range
Vlad Ardelean
Aug 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tech
A lot of information, very little repetition

For me this book gets 4.5 stars, though I decided to rate it 5.

The chapters that I liked the most are those on tcp, udp, mobile devices, http and webrtc.

I did not know much about those topics (other than common generic 5-10 sentences).

The chapter on http/2 was fine, but I think I knew more on that topic, so it didn't surprise me too much.

I think that this book could have deserved another 200 pages, and that http/2 could have been detailed a little mor
Nov 14, 2019 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this book since Ilya Grigorik has written some great articles but unfortunately, it is too low-level and overly technical. If you want to make your web site or mobile app faster, there are very few practical tips and too many long-winded explanations of network protocols or networking architectures.

If all this information interests you, great! But if you want some practical real-life web performance examples, I recommend the book Web Performance in Action by Jeremy Wagner instea
Oct 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It's awesome book. Anyone who really cares about network level optimization should read this book. I never thought about the use cases that can harm the mobile users. But with this book one can clearly understand why we should care about the mobile devices in terms of bandwidth. It has great explanation about HTTP 2 which will optimize the application to another level. The examples mentioned in the books are also great. Examples are from real life applications such as how facebook handle chat me ...more
Danial Kalbasi
Sep 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book covers many networking APIs that browsers provide for us and we are using them without knowing the implementation details. The chapters cover the subjects in a very much detail. However, you should not expect this book teaches you how you can possibly implement the next Youtube with all streaming details! But it absolutely gives you the rough idea. And It explains how to manage and deal with various networking scenarios in the browser.
Asiful Nobel
Jun 24, 2020 rated it it was ok
As the rating says, it was ok. It is not outdated yet, but some of the advice to optimize performance are followed more commonly nowadays. There is not much useful ideas in there for people who are working on application part of the network stack and their application does not deal with millisecond level of latency.
Harshil Lodhi
Jun 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A good book on networking which covers the whole stack in less than 300 pages. Its not a very in depth book but it talks enough about all the practical aspects which are required for a software engineer who cares about performance.
Szymon Kulec
Jun 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
If you hated all the networking stuff, you will love it after reading this book. It's from zero to hero guide how network works, including all the slow-start, last-mile-problem and more. Additionally, it covers HTTPS2 and shows how to embrace the dimension of app networking. ...more
May 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The book is a great introduction on web performance . Personally I wish I had read the book before, that’s in my opinion the great debt of IT technical books, they become exceeded too soon. Really hope to see a review introducing Quic and HTTP3 soon...
Dec 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Lots of useful information, even in 2019. Sometimes it can be dry and tough to get through, but I do appreciate the research that went into this. I learned a lot from this book, especially about the lower-level networking stuff that I don't usually directly deal with as a web developer. ...more
Przemek Sroka
Sep 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Great book, that every frontend engineer should read (actually all IT professionals working with distributed systems).
It is so good that it would be nice to have second edition as many things happened between 2013 and 2020 (some of the progress was lead by the author himself).
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Ilya Grigorik is a web performance engineer at Google, co-chair of the W3C Web Performance Working group, and author of High Performance Browser Networking (O'Reilly) book. ...more

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