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UPDATE: Bookmark and compare synthetic tests

One of the huge benefits of tracking web performance over time is the ability to see trends and compare metrics. Last year we added new functionality that makes it easy for you to bookmark and compare different synthetic tests in your test history. We recently added some additional enhancements to make comparing tests even easier.

With the 'Compare' feature, you can generate side-by-side comparisons that let you not only spot regressions, but easily identify what caused them:

  • Compare the same page at different points in time
  • Compare two versions of the same page – for example, one with ads and one without
  • Understand which metrics got better or worse
  • Identify which common requests got bigger/smaller or slower/faster
  • Spot any new or unique requests – such as JavaScript and images – and see their impact on performance

Along the way, we've also made it much more intuitive for you to drill down into your detailed synthetic test results. Let's take a look...

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New! Tracking first- and third-party request groups

Getting visibility into the impact that known third parties have on the user experience has long been a focus in our community. There are some great tools out there – like 3rdParty.io from Nic Jansma and Request Map from Simon Hearne – which give us important insight into the complexity involved in tracking third-party content. 

When we released our re-imagined Third Party Dashboard last year, we were excited to be providing site owners with another great tool for managing the unmanageable. Among other things, we took an approach that included:

  • grouping requests, 
  • exposing Long Tasks attributed to third parties, and 
  • tracking blocking CPU time. 

This provided even more insight into the different ways JavaScript could be causing real headaches for users

We received a lot of feedback from our customers, who loved the new third-party functionality but REALLY wanted to see similar functionality for their "first party" content as well. We heard this message loud and clear, and today we're happy to announce a few changes to our Synthetic monitoring tool that address this need while preserving the functionality you already know and love.

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New feature: First & Third Party Dashboard

By popular demand, we have expanded the Third Party dashboard to include first class support for both first AND third party requests.

Changes include:

  • Renamed the dashboard to First & Third Party to be more explicit
  • All first & third party metrics shown in the dashboard are now included in Favorites
  • Introduced Request Groups which allow you to group Known Third Parties or a Custom Request Group consisting of either first or third party requests. Once created, groups are trended over time, included in favorites/budgets and shown in charts at the beginning of the dashboard
  • First and Third party top-level metrics are calculated entirely based on First Party domain definition in Settings

Here is a blog post with more details about this feature!

New! User Happiness metric, CI plugin, and an inspiring third-party success story

Here at SpeedCurve, the past few months have found us obsessing over how to define and measure user happiness. We've also been scrutinizing JS performance, particularly as it applies to third parties. And as always, we're constantly working to find ways to improve your experience with using our tools. See below for exciting updates on all these fronts.

As always, we love hearing from you, so please send your feedback and suggestions our way!

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Improved: Custom third party filters now support wildcards

Custom third party filters now support wildcard matching with the asterisk character (*). Multiple wildcards are supported, for example https://assets.speedcurve.com/*/*.js For more information about tracking third parties, read the full support article.

Third party blame game

Our third party metrics and dashboard have had an exciting revamp. With new metrics like blocking CPU, you can now see exactly who is really to blame for a crappy user experience. We've also given you the ability to monitor individual third parties over time and create performance budgets for them.

It's not you, it's me

Or is it really you, and not me? We now automatically group all the requests in our third party waterfall chart, letting you easily identify all the third party services used on your website.

Third Party Waterfall

For each third party, you get the number of requests and size for each content type. There's also a first party comparison you can toggle on/off to see what proportion of your requests come from first party vs third party.

Latest Third Party Requests

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Third Party dashboard refresh

Our third party metrics and dashboard have had an exciting revamp. With new metrics like blocking CPU, you can now see exactly who is really to blame for a crappy user experience. We've also given you the ability to monitor individual third parties over time and create performance budgets for them.

Third Party requests

Learn more on the blog and then check out the new dashboard.

JavaScript growth and third parties

JavaScript is the main cause for making websites slow. Ten years ago it was network bottlenecks, but the growth of JavaScript has outpaced network and CPU improvements on today's devices. In the chart below, based on an analysis from the HTTP Archive, we see the number of requests has increased for both first and third party JavaScript since 2011.

JS Requests

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UX Focus for Waterfalls and Third Parties

At SpeedCurve, we want to help designers and developers have better insight into the user experience they're delivering. For websites, this means understanding when the critical parts of the page render and what might be blocking rendering.

We've redesigned our waterfall chart to really highlight the relationship between the assets on the page and their affect on the user experience. Now as you move you mouse over the waterfall chart we show you exactly what a user is seeing at that millsecond while the page loads. This makes it much easier to identify any Javascript or CSS that might be blocking the page from rendering. I recently used this new combined waterfall and filmstrip view to identify a common issue with hero images being delayed.

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