Free Web Performance Tools From Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, And IBM

 Alik Levin    This post is a quick overview of free performance tools available from Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, and IBM. It also contains a pointers to related articles that go deeper regarding the best practices and how the tools can help in identifying compliance to the best practices.

Quick Resource Box:

Microsoft’s Fiddler

Fiddler is a free web performance tool, it is not really a property of Microsoft rather a side project by Eric Lawrence, a PM with Microsoft. I used Fiddler for both security testing and now for performance. I love it a lot. Must mention it requires Net Fx 2.0 as a prerequisite so it is limited to Windows OS. Recently Eric added support to Firefox – Fiddler Hook For Firefox, so the tool is great for both IE and FF. My related posts:

Microsoft’s VRTA

VRTA is a free web performance tool and it stands for Visual Round Trip Analyzer created by Microsoft’s Jim Pierson and used internally for sometime. It was made available for public use during last PDC 2008. Jim has written very detailed article about the tool and how it solves performance problems - 12 Steps To Faster Web Pages With Visual Round Trip Analyzer. VRTA installs and uses under the hood free Microsoft Network Monitor (Netmon) to capture and analyze network captures.

Yahoo’s YSlow

YSlow is a free performance analysis tool created by Steve Souders when he was with Yahoo. Steve created another good tool called Cuzilion. YSlowl comes with extremely good set of performance guidance that can be found here - rules for high performance web pages. YSlow requires Firebug as a prerequisite, meaning it is restricted to Firefox only.

IBM’s Page Detailer

Page Detailer is a free web performance tool from IBM. I was not able to identify any good articles that cover it – if you share with me please, or better off publish one. It does not have any prerequisites, consider it as an advantage.

Google’s Page Speed

Recently I stumbled on Page Speed from Google. It reminds me a Yahoo’s YSlow lot  that makes me believe it comes from Steve Souders that works now for Google. It also requires Firebug as a prerequisite and works with FireFox only. It comes with nice guidance found here - Web Performance Best Practices. Must admit – I adore the concept of the tool although in most cases I cannot use it as I work for customers that IE is their target browser. Nevertheless the guidance is tool agnostic and I recommend bookmarking it for quick reference.