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15 Sep 2016

Boost Website Performance with the BigPipe Drupal 8 Module

As far as website development platforms go, Drupal 8 ranks high, compared to other contenders, such as Joomla and WordPress, for a number of reasons, including the fact that it is equipped with over 2000 different themes and 29,000 different modules, making customized web development easier for web designers and developers alike.

BigPipe Drupal 8 Module

In the web development world, there were concerns about Drupal 8’s ability to produce healthy processing speed for webpages, due to the steady increase in its code base, but with Drupal’s introduction of the BigPipe Drupal 8 module, such concerns have been alleviated.

While the BigPipe technique was first developed by Facebook, Senior Engineers Wim Leers and Fabian Franz developed the BigPipe module exclusively for Drupal 8, enabling webpage delivery times to be sped up.

Here is how BigPipe works:

1. Request parsing: web server parses and sanity checks the HTTP request.
2. Data fetching: web server fetches data from storage tier.
3. Markup generation: web server generates HTML markup for the response.
4. Network transport: the response is transferred from web server to browser.
5. CSS downloading: browser downloads CSS required by the page.
6. DOM tree construction and CSS styling: browser constructs DOM tree of the document, and then applies CSS rules on it.
7. JavaScript downloading: browser downloads JavaScript resources referenced by the page.
8. JavaScript execution: browser executes JavaScript code of the page.
(as outlined by https://www.facebook.com/notes/facebook-engineering/bigpipe-pipelining-web-pages-for-high-performance/389414033919)

Drupal 8’s BigPipe module uses a technique called “auto-placeholdering” which essentially auto-detects and divides static webpage content and elements from dynamic site content and elements (unlike traditional webpages whereby front and backend pages are connected).

All websites must load quickly in order to meet the high performance levels for user engagement, which online users expect and major search engines, such as Google and Bing, reward. With this new Drupal 8 module, developed by the Drupal community, website performance is significantly improved and, in addition, Web developers and designers are able to optimize customized elements of pages without having to write any code.

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