Rigor created a ton of blogs and Web Perfectionist videos in 2016. We focused on a wide range of web performance topics that helped make your sites faster and your processes better. As we kick off 2017, let’s take a moment and review our 10 most popular blogs from last year.

1. Optimizing MP4 Video for Fast Streaming

MP4 is now the standard format for all online HTML5 video. Although videos are content gold, they can often make your site heavy and slow. In Optimizing MP4 Videos for Fast Streaming, we explain how video streaming works and how to optimize video files to make your streaming faster. You can make MP4 videos load and start playing much faster if you optimize the structure of the file by reordering the atoms. Atoms store chunks of video data like subtitles or chapters, as well as video and audio data that make up the MP4. One special atom, moov, contains meta data about where the video and audio atoms are. To optimize a video for HTML5 streaming, you need to reorganize the MP4 atoms so the moov atom is at the start. Moving the moov to the beginning of the file will allow the browser to instantly start streaming the video without sending extra HTTP range requests to find the moov atom.

2. Monitoring Application Health over HTTP

A simple way to monitor application health is to request a static file from a web server. To know the health status of your application, you can create a health check endpoint. Endpoint checks can validate the health of the application by telling you the status of the web server, database connection, important processes, job queues and more. Once you’ve created the endpoint check, you can automate the monitoring of application health with an Uptime check. To test a single web page, create a new HTTP check by entering the URL, setting notifications and check frequency. You can also create a success criteria by viewing the advanced options.

Example Health Check in Rigor Monitoring

3. Integrating Performance Analysis into Continuous Deployment

When it comes to creating the next big thing, Rigor finds a way to make it happen. Early in 2016, we created a way to automatically run tests to catch performance regressions when pushing new code. To do this, we needed to create an open API that allows us to talk to other notification systems. When integrating performance analysis into continuous deployment, we identified the following useful features:

  • Automated performance analysis on every successful deployment
  • Detection of regressions (and improvements) in the latest version of the application
  • Integration with notification tools (Slack, in our case)

Automating the performance analysis process reduced time spent manually inspecting performance and improved code coverage from a performance standpoint.

4. Synthetic, RUM, and a Brief History of APM

When it comes to synthetic monitoring and RUM, there are many advantages and disadvantages of one versus the other. To fully understand which type of monitoring is best for your site, you must understand APM (application performance monitoring). APM tools identify the response times of all of server-based software applications and pinpoint issues that need to be solved.

APM tools are a part of an overall market of monitoring performance software products. In the beginning, this market identified the bottlenecks associated with an application infrastructure. However, content and infrastructure have evolved within the last 20-23 years. APM is now shifting towards monitoring techniques, like synthetic monitoring and RUM, to focus more on end user experience.

5. The Definitive Guide To AMP: Accelerated Mobile Pages Project

The Accelerated Mobile Pages Project is an open source project developed and sponsored by Google. Google launching the AMP Project made a significant impact on how we view mobile sites and how we create them. The AMP Project forced us to start thinking mobile first. It also challenged us to become concise writers so our content would be considered mobile friendly. Although there are many challenges with AMP, there are also advantages. To discover the positive and negative impacts the project may have on your site, view our detailed guide on AMP.

6. REST vs. SOAP APIs: Worlds Apart

These days, more companies are choosing to use REST (Representational State Transfer) API rather than SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol). A REST API is easy to use, scalable, has the ability to be cached, can be used with multiple data formats, and can team up with JavaScript nicely. Right now over 70% of public APIs rely on REST. Some of the big companies who use REST APIs include Google, Twitter, Amazon, and many more. Although REST is the most popular API, many enterprise companies still choose to use SOAP APIs due to its security advantages. Do you know which API is right for you?

7. 7 Takeaways from Velocity NY 2016

In September 2016, Rigor had the opportunity to attend O’Reilly’s Velocity Conference in New York. The experience enhanced our knowledge in the digital space and taught us a few lessons along the way. Attending the conference allowed us to share our key takeaways with our fellow Web Perfectionists. Our blog from Velocity New York breaks down the importance of understanding AMP, log code, script tags, design, ChatOps, and more by describing how they impact web performance. We encourage you to attend at least one digital strategy conference in 2017 to network and learn about the latest industry trends.

8. Web Performance Metrics You Should Be Tracking and Why

Although all metrics provide key information, the most important metrics you should be tracking are based on your industry and business goals. In Web Performance Metrics You Should Be Tracking and Why, you will discover three important universal performance metrics along with other common metrics that may help your team improve its web performance.

9. What are Microservices and How Will They Impact Monitoring?

Microservices are small, independent processes that can interact with other small processes that form a complete application when implemented and utilized together. Using microservices can break down complex processes into smaller ones, allow development teams to focus exclusively on one function, and can be deployed independently. Although microservices make monitoring more challenging due to their independent nature, your monitoring tool should be able to handle any infrastructure to support your deployments. Microservices are becoming increasingly popular. Before transitioning to this new system, make sure you are equipped with the right monitoring tool to handle all of the smaller processes.

10.  How Your Digital Performance Strategy Needs to Change for 2017

Technology can be difficult to keep up with due to the ever-changing and fast-paced digital landscape. To stay ahead of the curve, you need to create new processes by flipping the funnel and putting the end user first. The technology landscape will be making a significant turn in 2017, so it’s important to change your performance management strategy this new year. Changing your digital performance strategy can save time, resources, and money. 

Final Thoughts  

As we start to get settled into 2017, we want to hear from you. Do you have a favorite Rigor blog post? Is there a topic you want us to cover in the new year? Tweet us @TeamRigor for your feedback.

For more information on how Rigor can help your company with its monitoring and optimization needs,