Lighthouse – Performance statistics for Web Sites

As part of the general move towards the web I continue to investigate and learn about web development. An important aspect for any developer considering how to serve programs to clients and colleagues with as little resistance as possible – is Speed – users will be clicking these things potentially tens of times a minute and waiting to go from one screen to another signifcantly impacts their productivity. No wonder then we are hearing so many stories about dramatic improvements in site success by improving load speeds – but how to measure web site speed accurately? At work and for desktop applications I have resorted to downloading a stopwatch onto my android phone which can be quite useful if there are consistent and substantial differences in speed – still however a somewhat blunt and inaccurate tool.

So the other day I was again investigating how to better improve the delivery of web sites through the installation of web sites using the new Google Progressive Web Application paradigm.

I discovered within Chrome there is an Audit feature beneath the inspection option.

To use this open the web page you are interested in measuring using Chrome ensuring that it is a standard Chrome window (and not the PWA window)

Right click and then go for inspect then select the Audits option as shown below.

At which point you should be presented with the following

Now hit the Run audits button at the bottom

We see the statistics in the top right. From my initial running of this on several of my sites the metrics on
Progressive Web App
Best Practices
Seems to be fairly consistent in ranking sites.

Performance seems to vary every time you run it even if you are on the same page and url.
Here for example is me running the same audit literally five minutes after the last picture.

So all in all definitely an improvement in metrics but with some of the metrics varying so much from run to run it may still be better for giving a general indication of performance overtime than anything else. I have just upgraded this site to WordPress 5.0.1 although the theme is still from 2010. It should be noted my MS Access applications still transfer between forms within fractions of a second, so fast in fact that I am unable to measure them. Websites are getting better and there are sites now that are very fast. Still some way to go though before they can beat the blistering speed of desktop.

I have started looking at new themes for the site but I find I like a lot about this theme and am having trouble finding anything I am quite as happy with.

Chrome polishes its menu setup – Chrome Shortcuts run web pages in application mode

Much like Google Maps changing the projection to a proper globe on zoom out. I noticed Google made a very slight change to their browser application which is a nice demonstration of how Google are constantly trying to improve their interfaces to make them more intuitive. At some point they altered the menu setup for creating web pages in application mode – I had written a post about the former method (see my post here) For those unfamiliar with this it is a really nice way of displaying web pages in what appears an application like window (ie no url bar or tabs). Comparing the two you can see that they have simply changed the menu from Add to desktop to Create Shortcut. Its a nice demonstration of the small improvements that are continually being made to the browser.

I had noticed that all my icons that I had formally created using the former application mode had stopped working.
Didn’t think much of it at the time but I think that must have been the date when Chrome changed over their code.

It should be noted that simply dragging the web page onto the desktop from the chrome browser window still gives the old windows shortcut what we want here is the Google shortcut. So here is how I do it.

Then select the following

Select create shortcut and a new dialog should appear

Name it and there you go

Now you get a nice icon on your desktop related to the site and what’s more when you open it up there is no address bar and within the taskbar you get the correct icon for the website see below example.

AHK – Useful AutoHotKeyScripts

; Close all windows (open/minimized, browsers) but not pwr off
	WinGet, id, list,,, Program Manager
	Loop, %id%
	this_id := id%A_Index% 
	WinActivate, ahk_id %this_id%
    	WinGetClass, this_class, ahk_id %this_id%
	WinGetTitle, this_title, ahk_id %this_id%
	If(This_class != "Shell_traywnd") && (This_class != "Button")  ; If class is not Shell_traywnd and not Button
	WinClose, ahk_id %this_id% ;This is what it should be ;MsgBox, This ahk_id %this_id% ; Easier to test ;)

If you don’t know or can’t find the executable for the program you wish to AHK to you can place a link on the desktop or somewhere else and trigger the link using a mapped key as follows;

;Open QGIS
path = "C:\Users\brooks.mark\Desktop\QGIS Desktop 2.14.8.lnk"
;MsgBox, %path%
Run, %path%

Open Chrome using CTRL Z – (^ is the sign for CTRL)

Run, C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe

Here I have a key to open a work Uniform program – line send types into the username field usernamevariable – alter to your actual value

path = "C:\Users\brooks.mark\Desktop\Uniform LIVE.lnk"
;MsgBox, %path%
Run, %path%

Sleep, 5000

ControlFocus, Edit4,Uniform Spatial - LIVE Database
Send, usernamevariable


Run Web Applications in Application Mode : Google Chrome

Turns out the Chrome browser has implemented a really nice display option specifically for websites that have aspects of an application which allows you to remove the clutter at the top of your browser window and makes a website appear in an application like window.

Go to the web page you are interesting in accessing via an application. In my case

In the top right corner of the web browser next to the address bar you should see three vertical dots – select it to get the drop down menu and then select More Tools and then Create Shortcut.

You should now see the following dialog – ensure the Open as Window is ticked and then hit the Create Button. You can alter its name if you wish.

Now you get a nice icon on your desktop related to the site and what’s more when you open it up there is no address bar and within the taskbar you get the correct icon for the website see below example.