BigPipe: Pipelining web pages for high performance

Site speed is one of the most critical company goals for Facebook. In 2009, we successfully made Facebook site twice as fast, which was blogged in this post. Several key innovations from our engineering team made this possible. In this blog post, I will describe one of the secret weapons we used called BigPipe that underlies this great technology achievement.

BigPipe is a fundamental redesign of the dynamic web page serving system. The general idea is to decompose web pages into small chunks called pagelets, and pipeline them through several execution stages inside web servers and browsers. This is similar to the pipelining performed by most modern microprocessors: multiple instructions are pipelined through different execution units of the processor to achieve the best performance. Although BigPipe is a fundamental redesign of the existing web serving process, it does not require changing existing web browsers or servers; it is implemented entirely in PHP and JavaScript.

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