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Saving every byte

Apr 21, 20032 mins
Enterprise Applications

* Content compression

You pay for every byte that your Web server sends out so it follows that every byte you save is worth the effort. And even better, every byte you save when you send content to a client improves performance not just for that user but for all the users you serve.

Port80 Software (see links below), a company whose products we’ve covered previously in this newsletter, has a product called w3compiler currently in beta that aims to save as many bytes as possible.

The w3compiler approach to content compression is to optimize the HTML, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), JavaScript, Active Server Pages (ASP), and Cold Fusion Markup (CFM) files used in your site. The techniques include eliminating white space, stripping comments and removing redundant code structures.

W3compiler is a desktop application for Windows XP, NT, and 2000 that you run on your unoptimized content and it produces a production copy leaving your original files intact. And to check that the optimized and unoptimized content works identically w3compiler supports side-by-side page comparison using an internal Internet Explorer browser or whatever external browser you prefer.

W3compiler uses what Port80 describes as a “compiler-style framework” which means that you can set up project files that will control repeated processing of a set of contents making it easy to integrate w3compiler use into your content development workflow.

You can optimize some or all of your content and specific w3compiler directives can be set using the product’s GUI or edited into page comments to selectively set what is compiled and what code is left untouched.

The product also has an extensible framework that will allow the addition of new features for handling other content types.

W3compiler displays detailed statistics on compression savings as it processes files and Port80 claims that file sizes drop by 10% to 15% on average.

This is a terrific idea and one that I expect will be adopted by other product vendors over time. You can join the beta program now and expect to see full release soon.


Mark Gibbs is an author, journalist, and man of mystery. His writing for Network World is widely considered to be vastly underpaid. For more than 30 years, Gibbs has consulted, lectured, and authored numerous articles and books about networking, information technology, and the social and political issues surrounding them. His complete bio can be found at

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