Peter Cranstone: WebReference Featured Interview | 2 | WebReference

Peter Cranstone: WebReference Featured Interview | 2

More with Peter Cranstone

WR> What can webmasters expect in terms of bandwidth savings, and download speedup after installing mod_gzip on their apache servers?

PC> A lot of research has been done in this area. Here are the numbers we feel comfortable quoting. With a "general" mix of text and graphics the overall bandwidth savings/improvement is about 30% - 33% If your site is text heavy, i.e. JavaScript or lots of XML then the savings can climb to as high as 97% with our more advanced commercial products. With regard to the performance improvement in the server it's quite dramatic. Our technology is very fast and has been benchmarked at 1000 Transactions Per Second on a PII 300. Using available benchmarking software for the Apache server we have seen a 164% performance improvement in the server.

WR> What percentage of browsers currently in use support HTTP 1.1 compression by default? I noticed that MSIE 4.5/5 Mac does not support it (but Netscape 4+ does).

PC> Virtually all browsers released after 1998 support HTTP 1.1. A quick test reveals the browsers ability. Click on this link:

It runs a line test. About halfway down the page, the browsers "header" information is shown. If the accept - encoding line shows: gzip then the browser is capable of receiving compressed content. If your browser doesn't support it, there is generally a version available for free which does.

WR> Vigos AG recently released a proprietary mod_gzip module, how does it compare with yours?

PC> We have not been able to download a version of their software yet. As soon as we can we will run a comparison for your readers.

WR> How did Remote Communications come about?

PC> Two guys, one in Fl, one in AR decided to build something from scratch. We first met on another more complex data compression product (which is now HyperSpace(R)) First product was a universal bookmark application. Second idea was "speed up the web" and thus HyperSpace(R) was born.

We met another guy in Russia... Konstantin J. Balashov (aka, Cotty) He's a brilliant programmer with a core focus on compression. He said, "You need worlds best compression algorithm for your smart engine"... we said build it. He did and now he's part of the team.

Three guys, a Brit, an American and a Russian (Kevin and I have only met twice, we've never met Cotty face to face) built HyperSpace(R) using nothing more than a 28K connection for communication.

WR> What's next for mod_gzip? Caching? I see you've already made some fixes, any popular requests?

PC> Our biggest focus at the moment is responding to the many inquires regarding installation on different platforms. Since our release on Friday we already have made several improvements to the code, added support for other platforms (FreeBSD, Solaris) and one of our users Tomaz Borstnar has already started a mailing list for us at the following link:

It's compressed of course. We will also add a mirrored site in the US.

Compression is needed on the Web. People really want something which makes things go faster. As some once said, you can't stop an idea whose time has come, it's now time for compression on the Internet.

WR> Peter, thanks for your time.

Further Reading: - Vigos AG home page, offer mod_gzip commercial

Comments are welcome

Revised: October 17, 2000