XCompress uses industry standard gzip compression to boost total bandwidth
capacity -- reducing bandwidth expenses and making better use of current
bandwidth resources. We have evaluated the XCompress product (it is being
used on the eggheadcafe.com site right now- in fact the page you are reading
was sent to your browser compressed) and find it to be superior to native
IIS compression for several reasons.
We have considerable experience with data compression over the
wire - you'll find several articles on this site dealing with many aspects
of compression. HTTP Compression is a fast and highly effective method
for improving page response times and lowering bandwidth requirements.
Most compressible transmissions — regardless of origination (i.e.
XML, ASP, cgi, JSP, DHTML, HTML, java script, etc.) are typically compressed
by 80% or more.
The benefits of compression with XCompress and its standardized lossless
HTTP compression technology are easy to see.. XCompress reduces total
bandwidth usage by about one third while improving network transmission
times for compressed content by about 400% to effectively reduce capital
and operating expenditures. XCompress is highly efficient – on average
it only takes 2 milliseconds to compress a page. The major benefit of
course is that the site visitor has a much more pleasant experience -
especially if they are visiting your site over a dial-up connection.
Ease of Use:
When XCompress is installed and the license key configured, it adds a
property page to every site on IIS:
All you need to do is select the MIME types you want compressed, as in
the above example, and you are done! This is a major advantage over native
IIS compression of application files (dynamic compression) because IIS
can only work by file extension type, e.g. ".asp" , ".htm",
etc. With the XCompress arrangement you can turn compression on or off
for individual sites, and even enable or suppress compression on individual
pages by simply adding a Response header. To illustrate the advantage
of this arrangment so you can see it for yourself in realtime, I put together
a frameset with two frames. Both frames have an ASP.NET page that does
an XSL Transform on Shakespeare's Hamlet (the entire play) , and then
sends it out to the browser. The only difference is that one of the frames
has this line of code: Response.AddHeader "Compression-Control","no-compress"
which tells XCompress not to compress the page.
Since seeing is believing, take a look at the results
here. if you watch your browser's progress bar you'll see that the
page HamletTransformnc.aspx (nc="no compression") continues
to load and render long after the compressed page has been completely
displayed and its scrollbar has stopped moving. You shouldn't need a degree
in rocket science to figure out that this is one useful product. Decompression
functionality is standard in 95% of available browsers without modifying
the HTML, adding java script, or requiring a browser plug-in
Smart Compression Technology
XCompress uses patent-pending smart compression technology to ensure
that end users receive optimized responses regardless of their browser
type or the type of file they are requesting. XCompress delivers the right
response to the browser for individual file types based on the browser’s
capabilities, making reliable data transmission it's highest priority.
Unlike other compression methods that can be limited by browser bugs,
protocols, or file types, the XCompress smart compression technology adapts
to the client.
XCompress COM Interface
XCompress is implemented in two independent pieces, an ISAPI Filter,
and a COM interface. While no programming is required to implement the
ISAPI filter, the COM interface allows programmers to compress specific
responses and includes an uncompress method that allows designers of web
services to communicate over HTTP in a compressed format from custom clients.
For example, XCompress COM interface allows XML to be compressed or decompressed
on the fly, regardless of the protocol. Programmers can compress XML and
write that XML to disk for uncompressing when needed.
Microsoft IIS 4.0, 5.0 Integration
XCompress includes an intuitive MMC Snap-In interface that works with
IIS Manager, and fully supports the compression of all ASP.NET page types.
Transparent Browser Compatibility
Obtain full functionality without client side plug-ins. XCompress’
Smart Compression Technology automatically detects browsers that cannot
decompress and sends response in fully compatible HTTP standardized format.
XCompress applies compression regardless of protocol, and is not dependent
on HTTP 1.0 or 1.1. This is a major advantage over native IIS compression.
Reports directly to Perfmon
XCompress has a full suite of performance counters that report benefit
in real time. This can be very useful for testing and comparison purposes.
Complete programmable COM Interface
The XCompress COM interface allows full access from a variety of applications.
Script based control and extreme flexibility is available. Applications
are numerous: Web Services, Caching, Custom Clients, and Compression/Decompression
of file formats that browsers can’t handle are just a few examples
of the possibilities.
Seamless Network Support
XCompress works well with load-balancers such as Alteon, Cisco, F5 Networks
Y ou can apply compression before SSL Encryption to reduce CPU load and
enhance SSL performance. Compress Microsoft XML 2.0 and higher
XML DataStream or SOAP can be compressed and delivered transparently to
Compress Outlook Web Access (OWA) for Exchange Server
Compressing OWA lends all the benefits of compression to email. Compress
attachments and all features within OWA.
You can view the XCompress Benefit Analysis page which allows you to
enter any page on your site and see a realtime chart that details compression
results at:: http://www.xcompress.com/home/default.asp?c=54&p=524
XCompress does not currently support IIS 6.0. However, support is planned
once IIS 6.0 is commercially released. Compared to other compression products
we've seen costing up to $1,300 per server, XCompress at $395 is quite
reasonably priced, in our opinion.
IS 5.0 uses file extension to determine which content to compress. If
the default settings need to be changed, administrators must modify the
metabase by hand. Compression by file extension is a flawed approach because
file extension does not always correlate to a single Content-Type. For
example, an asp could generate a pdf file and an HTML file, but at this
time, browsers have no capacity to decompress the pdf file type, but they
can decompress HTML. XCompress resolves this problem by compressing by
IIS 5.0 only applies compression to requests originating from HTTP 1.1
enabled clients. However, HTTP version does not dictate whether the client
can decompress the response, so this convention has negative results.
For example, uncompressed content could be sent to clients who could have
handled a compressed version. This results in slow page speed and wasted
bandwidth – the very problems compression is meant to solve.
There may be instances where a web server administrator may only want
to apply compression to a subset of sites on a machine. The IIS 5.0 compression
feature does not allow this. If IIS 5.0 compression is activated, compression
will be enabled for all sites on the machine. With XCompress, the administrator
can choose which sites he wants to compress and can even select specific
pages to leave uncompressed.
We're happy with XCompress, and we think you will be too. EggheadCafe
has arranged for our interested visitors and members to download a supported
fully functional evaluation copy of the XCompress product. To get yours,
just click on the banner below.
|Peter Bromberg is a C# MVP, MCP, and .NET consultant who has worked in the banking and financial industry for 20 years. He has architected and developed web - based corporate distributed application solutions since 1995, and focuses exclusively on the .NET Platform. |