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"Snippets" are mini-articles - they allow me to very quickly add answers to your frequently asked questions, and add brief explanations for topics that you've searched for without success. So, everytime you send an email or perform a search, chances are a new snippet will be the result!

4 Nov: XCompress - why every web site should use it.

I started using XCompress on my server for a neighborhood site I've been working on. It was quite "heavy" HTML-wise so I was looking for ways to speed the site up, especially for dial-up users.

XCompress was the answer. It reduced the average page size from 30k to around 6k! That is a huge improvement of course.

The theory behind XCompress is simple; if the browser visiting the page says that it supports compressed data, XCompress compresses the HTML on the fly and sends that. The browser then decompresses and displays the normal HTML. The user is none-the-wiser apart from being stunned by the site's speed!

Needless to say, it isn't that simple and many man-years of work went into writing and tuning XCompress to work with all pages and browsers. IIS' built-in compression technology on the other hand is generally regarded as a waste of time.

One thing to be aware of - your log files may show an increase in bandwidth! This is in fact because your log files were lying before! IIS log files usually show 0 bytes for ASP pages, as documented by Microsoft. With XCompress running, the log files now log the size of the compressed content, even for ASP pages. My log files showed that I was using almost twice the normal bandwidth when completely the opposite was true.

I have no reservation in recommending XCompress wholeheartedly. Every web site operator should seriously consider using it. Factor in the cheap price of the product and it's a no-brainer.

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