Web Performance is a Journey, Not a Destination

Mehdi Daoudi

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Toys R Us Did Holiday Shopping (Mostly) Right

Toys R Us is no Black Friday rookie; the major retailer and their current hosting and CDN providers have completed 11 holiday seasons now. Between following some best practices, using static HTML strategically, and running on a high-capacity stack, they’ve pretty much got the online holiday process down. This year, Toys R Us made it through another Black Friday without much interruption–the breakdown of their experience is below.

This year, Toys R Us made it through another Black Friday without much interruption–the breakdown of their experience is below.


This is defined as the time it took from the request being issued to the primary host server responding with the last Byte of the primary URL. Toys R Us served up their index.jsp objects in under ¾ of a second on average.

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Webpage Response

This is the time it took from the request being issued to receiving the last Byte of the final element on the page. Here, Toys R Us altered their homepage which had an obviously negative impact. The rest of the checkout pages remained relatively flat, however.

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Document Complete

Document complete Indicates that the browser has finished rendering the page and fired the onload event, making the page interactive. Notice there is no lift for the homepage, it stays flat and even just like the rest of the checkout pages. Customers could interact with these pages in under 3 seconds on average!

screen-shot-2016-12-02-at-10-05-39-amhttp://assetsblogfly1.catchpoint.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Screen-S... 300w, http://assetsblogfly1.catchpoint.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Screen-S... 624w" sizes="(max-width: 690px) 100vw, 690px" />

# Items (Total)

The total number of objects included on the webpage. Ah, this is why the webpage response shot up. On Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Toys R Us added ~40 more objects to their homepage. When it comes to performance, more objects means more bytes to download, which translates directly to more time to download. Fortunately, they placed these additional objects after document complete to minimize customer impact.

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% Availability

The percentage of time that the page was available; i.e., it did not fail. In the wee hours of the morning on Black Friday, Toys R Us had a little hiccup.

screen-shot-2016-12-02-at-10-06-55-amhttp://assetsblogfly2.catchpoint.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Screen-S... 300w, http://assetsblogfly2.catchpoint.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Screen-S... 624w" sizes="(max-width: 696px) 100vw, 696px" />

Their homepage could not be found:

screen-shot-2016-12-02-at-10-08-07-amhttp://assetsblogfly1.catchpoint.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Screen-S... 300w, http://assetsblogfly1.catchpoint.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Screen-S... 624w" sizes="(max-width: 686px) 100vw, 686px" />

After this and a one-off mini cart glitch later that afternoon on Black Friday, Toys R Us had smooth sailing right on through Cyber Monday.

The overall evaluation of Toys R Us’s Black Friday/Cyber Monday performance: not bad Toys R Us, not bad at all.

The post Toys R Us Did Holiday Shopping (Mostly) Right appeared first on Catchpoint's Blog.

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Catchpoint radically transforms the way businesses manage, monitor, and test the performance of online applications. Truly understand and improve user experience with clear visibility into complex, distributed online systems.

Founded in 2008 by four DoubleClick / Google executives with a passion for speed, reliability and overall better online experiences, Catchpoint has now become the most innovative provider of web performance testing and monitoring solutions. We are a team with expertise in designing, building, operating, scaling and monitoring highly transactional Internet services used by thousands of companies and impacting the experience of millions of users. Catchpoint is funded by top-tier venture capital firm, Battery Ventures, which has invested in category leaders such as Akamai, Omniture (Adobe Systems), Optimizely, Tealium, BazaarVoice, Marketo and many more.